BALTIMORE — As Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) walked down the streets of one of Charm City’s most disenfranchised neighborhoods on a sunny Tuesday morning, he was met with straight talk from the area’s predominantly black residents.
“What you gon’ do with all this, Bernie?” shouted one man running alongside the crowd moving down the streets of Sandtown-Winchester, the neighborhood that was home to Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who died after a “rough ride“ in police custody in April. Another woman yelled about the need for change, while others voiced a desire for better schools, more job opportunities and an end to police violence.
It’s understandable why Sanders chose to visit Sandtown. The neighborhood’s landscape underscores the issues addressed in his economic and racial inequality platforms, as well as his calls for criminal justice reform. The 2016 Democratic presidential candidate discussed increasing the minimum wage, eliminating mass incarceration and funneling money back into America’s black communities with several community leaders, including the Rev. Jamal Bryant, a prominent pastor in the city, and former Ohio state Sen. Nina Turner (D).
“America is the wealthiest country in the history of the world. But anyone who took a walk that we took around this neighborhood would not think you were in a wealthy nation. You would think that you were in a third-world country where unemployment is over 50 percent,” Sanders said at a press conference following his walk-through. “A community that does not even have decent, quality grocery stores where moms can buy quality food for their kids. A community in which the dream of getting a higher education for many kids is as real as is going to the moon.”
Read the entire piece here.