On Monday, Sajay Patel, the Florida field director for Bernie Sanders, visited Florida International University’s Biscayne Bay Campus to emphasize the Vermont senator’s victory in Nevada. He also invited the audience to consider early voting in Florida, which will commence March 7. “The South Carolina Democratic primary is happening this Saturday and three days later we will have Super Tuesday,” Patel said.
Among the attendees, students and retired people were the most engaged.
Lorenzo Cañizares, a 72-year-old Cuban American volunteer in the Bernie Sanders campaign, has followed the senator since 2016. “Bernie Sanders focuses in the vulnerable sectors like me,” he said. “I am a retired old man who can’t afford health insurance.”
John Paul Mejia, a student from Miami Beach Senior High School, attended to show support for Sanders’ emphasis on climate change. Mejia is part of the Sunrise Movement in Miami, an organization dedicated to stopping climate change. He also spoke about his concern for Miami’s vulnerable communities.
“Climate change is also an issue affecting social justice,” Mejia said. “For instance, Little Haiti is being affected by this process called climate gentrification. Low-income communities of color have been pushed out by developers.”
According to CNN and a recent three-part series by Maria Raudez on the South Florida Media Network, Little Haiti residents are being pushed out of their community due to climate gentrification.
Another attendee, college student Maria Capela, said she hopes Sanders changes immigration policy in the United States. “I am from Brazil so I support policies in favor of immigrants,” she said. “The stigma of the immigrant population is very deplorable.”
Sanders would also help with overly expensive tuition. The College for All Act that he proposed would eliminate undergraduate tuition for many students at four-year public colleges and universities.
Patel explained this legislation would expand public education. “This is the best single investment for our young folks to get access to public universities and colleges,” he said. “It is important because it affects our young people’s future.”
The event ended with an announcement of phone banks and canvassing planned this week in Miami-Dade and Broward counties. More information can be found on the campaign’s website.