U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders. (Picture by Nyesha Stone)

It was after hours at Coffee Makes You Black, 2803 N. Teutonia Ave., but the place was packed, as if it was open. The smooth energetic vibe of the black-owned restaurant was still being felt as community leaders and residents waited for the arrival of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders.

Milwaukee County Supervisor Marcelia Nicholson invited Sanders to come down to Milwaukee to speak directly to the Black and Hispanic community because we’re not always invited to the table. Four years ago, when Nicholson was running for office, she said she looked up to Sanders to help form her own platform.

According to Nicholson, Sanders has “sparked a revolution.”

Sanders wanted to hear the community’s thoughts on issues impacting Milwaukee, and suggestions on how to create solutions for greater economic and racial justice. This was a small event. Sanders spent a few minutes taking pictures with whoever came to his side, until it was time to speak.

After pictures and shaking everyone’s hand in the room, Sanders walked up to the podium and began to speak. He stated how the government and other entities have millions and billions of dollars to spend on the military, prison complexes and other corrupt systems, but say there’s no money to make healthcare accessible for everyone or to create quality education.

“Healthcare is a human right not a privilege,” said Sanders. He stated that we should be investing in our young people’s education and giving them opportunities, instead of building detention centers.

Sanders stated how he was one of the first to discuss increasing the minimum wage to $15 and legalizing marijuana. He was looked at as crazy but now certain states have gone the legalization route or have raised minimum wage.

For change to happen all over, he said Americans must stand up in numbers and demand the change. And change starts with voting in the 2020 election.

“Definitely get rid of Donald Trump as the president of the United States,” said Sanders.

“He is a racist.” “He is a dangerous embarrassment,” Sanders added.

Voting is important but Sanders said the support and work must continue even after his possible inauguration. Once elected, Sanders said him and the people have to fight against big systems such as Wall Street, insurance companies, fossil fuel companies and the military and prison industrial complexes.

Sanders then opened up the floor to the room and answered a few questions before heading out to his next event.

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