Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders shifts his focus to his new 'Our Revolution' campaign Wednesday night in Burlington and at watch parties around the country.
"It's nice to be home," Sanders said, as he took the podium. "Real change never ever takes place from the top on down, it's not some guy signing a bill, it always takes place from the bottom on up when millions of people come together and demand fundamental change in the country."
Vermont's local chapter of Rights and Democracy hosted Bernie's main event at Burlington's North End Studio on North Winooski Avenue. The 'Our Revolution' kick-off parties began at 8:00 PM ET until 10:30 PM ET. Sanders took the podium just after 9 PM, addressing local leaders, politicians, and supporters.
"Bernie is taking a step for him but really with all of us and as he said, it's not me it's us and you can't change the system by yourself, and you can't build a political revolution from the top," says Kit Andrews, who lives in Burlington's Old North End.
Sanders' speech was broadcast live via webstream to more than 30 parties in our region and 26,000 across the country, according to Rights and Democracy. For a map of local events, click here.
"A lot of what he stands for and what he's put forward in his campaign are Vermont ideas, homegrown Vermont ideas, and Vermont in it's little way has a much bigger voice than the size of the state," says David Cooper, associated with the group Africa 2 Vermont.
Sanders' children and his wife, Jane, accompanied him Wednesday night. His message: the revolution continues, and in order to achieve change, we must unite.
"Remember the struggle of millions of American workers who stood up to trade unionism, the fight to end child labor,: Sanders said. "Think back to the Civil Rights movements and the millions of people who engaged in that struggle, some of who were killed, some of whom were beaten, some of whom went to jail, to create a country where all people have the right to vote, have equal opportunity, and a country in which we abolish racism."
Vermont's Rights and Democracy leader James Haslam says Bernie's campaign reached out to his group on Monday to coordinate the event. North End Studio A holds 200 people and it was standing room only. Democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor David Zuckerman was one of the evening's speakers.
Ii think he's talking about building a movement from the bottom up so that the a decision like we have in front of us for president today is not going to be the kind of choice we'll have in the future," says Zuckerman.
"Keep going after universal healthcare, raise the minimum wage, there's a huge affordable housing crisis," says Rights and Democracy Member Laura Mistretta. "We need to start taking serious action on climate change in a way that also grows jobs in Vermont and can really provide a future for young people here in the state who really value taking action on climate."
Vermont's Rights and Democracy chapter will hold a Labor Day Political Revolution Party Monday, September 5 in Middlebury. Haslam says Sanders will be there.
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