‘In this together:’ Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders preaches equality in Rock Hill

Health care, climate change and racial equality were some of the key issues presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders addressed Sunday during an event in Rock Hill.

Sanders, one of Vermont’s U.S. senators, met with residents at Clinton College, a historically black college. He is campaigning in South Carolina for the Democratic primary nomination.

In Clinton’s gym, every seat was taken and residents stood against the walls to hear Sanders speak Sunday. Residents waved blue-and-white signs bearing Sanders’ name in the air as they cheered during the candidate’s speech.

Sanders addressed campaign issues such as racial and economic disparities, raising the minimum wage and lowering student debt.

“The message of our campaign is us, not me,” Sanders said. “We are all, as Americans, in this together. It brings us together in the belief that the American people are entitled to an economy and a government which works for all of us, not just the 1%.”

Sanders said one of his goals is to see the minimum wage raised to $15 an hour. Some states have adopted higher minimum wages, including Florida, New Jersey and Minnesota, according to the National Conference of State Legislators.

Sanders said free higher education and reducing student debt also are priorities.

Actor and activist Danny Glover, star of the “Lethal Weapon” films, showed his support Sunday. Glover also supported Sanders and stood by his side on stage during the S.C. Democratic Convention Saturday in Columbia.

“This campaign with my friend Bernie Sanders is about justice, love and compassion,” Glover said Sunday.

Criminal justice reform is also on Sanders’ radar.

“Once and for all we’re going to reform a broken and racist criminal justice system,” Sanders said to loud applause from the audience.

Sanders called for an end to the country’s cash bail system.

“Right now, hundreds of thousands of fellow Americans are in jail today and their crime is they are poor. They can’t afford bail,” he said.

Sanders also said comprehensive immigration reform is needed.

He made clear his support of a woman’s “constitutional right in this country to control their own body.”

Sanders said he aims to support renewable energies and create new jobs.

Sanders is the sixth Democratic candidate to visit Rock Hill this year, following appearances by former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell, U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, The Herald previously reported.

Sanders last visited Rock Hill in 2015 for a presidential forum with then-candidates Hillary Clinton and Martin O’Malley at Winthrop University.

“I’m here in South Carolina to ask for your support to win the Democratic primary here,” Sanders said Sunday. “I’m asking for your support to win the Democratic nomination. I’m asking for your support, if nominated, to defeat (President) Trump.”

Sanders said if he does not win the Democratic nomination, he will support the candidate who does.

“Whoever ends up winning this Democratic primary, all of us will rally around that person,” he said.

It is “imperative to create a government and economy that is based on justice,” Sanders said.

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Amanda Harris covers issues related to children and families in York, Chester and Lancaster County for The Herald. Amanda works with local schools, parents and community members to address important topics such as school security, mental health and the opioid epidemic. She graduated from Winthrop University.
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