U.S. democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders spoke at the Riverside Municipal Auditorium on Tuesday, May 24 to around 2,300 people. Sanders touched on many issues regarding people of color, climate change, low-income families, undocumented workers and the LGBT community.
The Vermont senator was introduced by several individuals including a local event organizer and actor Kendrick Sampson. Sanders was met with a roar of approval from the crowd upon taking the stage and proceeded to thank attendees for their support.
He continued by addressing concerns of communities of people of color. “I’m listening to the Latinos,” Sanders said before speaking on the exploitation of undocumented workers. “We need comprehensive immigration reform … Our immigration policy should be to unite families not divide families.” He also touched on police brutality and the impact it’s had on the African American community before moving on to discuss the positive change he hopes to bring to the Native American community.
Sanders also expressed his desire for drug addiction to be treated as a mental health issue and not as a criminal issue. “We need a revolution in mental health treatment in this country,” Sanders said. He was met with much approval from the audience when expressing his dissatisfaction over laws regarding marijuana in California that lists it as a schedule I drug with no current accepted medical use. “You can argue about the pluses and minuses of marijuana but nobody that I know should equate marijuana with heroin, which is a killer drug.”
The crowd continued yelling their support as he moved on to discuss the treatment of women in the U.S. “Women are tired of working for 79 cents on the dollar,” Sanders said. He then discussed the hardship many mothers face after having a child and then being forced to re-enter the workforce soon after.
Sanders also voiced his concerns about climate change and encouraged the crowd to do what they can to protect the environment. “As human beings, we are part of nature. We must exist with nature,” Sanders explained. As a message to the fossil fuel industry, Sanders stated, “Short term profits are not more important that the future of this planet.”
Sanders was met with shouts of encouragement when discussing college students and his desire to help everyone receive a free education before stating that we all have the power to create change. “Democracy is not a spectator sport … you have the power to make a change,” Sanders said. “Real change never occurs from the top on down, it always occurs from the bottom on up.”
Sanders will continue his campaign across California before the primary which will take place on June 7.
This article is subject to change and will be updated throughout the week.