Black Protesters Shamelessly Heckle Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley as They Try to Address Questions on Race

Bernie Sanders at Netroots Nation Conference (Youtube screenshot)
Bernie Sanders at Netroots Nation Conference (Youtube screenshot)

Bernie Sanders, who has attracted huge crowds and is narrowing the gap between himself and Hillary Clinton, was nearly shouted off stage at a Netroots Nation conference in Phoenix, Arizona. The conference was attended by a crowd of 11,000, some of whom disrupted interviews with Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and fellow Democratic candidate for the Presidency, former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley.

The interviews, moderated by journalist Jose Antonio Vargas, were intended to be structured, sit-down conversations with each of the candidates, but both were forced to go off script and had to ditch their prepared speeches. After former Maryland Governor O’Malley was given a rough reception by protesters, Bernie Sanders told protesters, “Black lives matter, of course they matter. I spent 50 years of my life fighting for civil rights and for dignity.”

Bernie Sanders grew up in in a one-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn. His father, a Jewish refugee from Poland, was the only one in his family to escape the Nazis, and struggled to support his family in America as a paint salesman.

Sanders made no bones about the fact that he was prepared to leave rather than be forced to shout over the crowd.

“If you don’t want me to be here, that’s okay. I don’t want to outscream people,” Sanders said.

When the crowd indicated that he should stay, Sanders said, “Black people are dying in this country, because we have a criminal justice system which is out of control, a system in which over 50% of young African-American kids are unemployed.”

When Sanders praised President Obama for signing the Affordable Care Act, which made health insurance available to everyone, including African-Americans, one protester yelled, “We can’t afford that!” and some headed for the doors.

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The Jewish Press

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