Following The Bern….

Rebecca Aguilar
Jan 16, 2016 · 3 min read
Bernie Sanders (Chris Laursen, photo credit)

Last Saturday was a full day of learning, events, and speeches. At the Real People Ready for Solutions Summit, it started early at 9 and was hosted by Iowa Citizen’s for Community Improvements at the First Christian Church in Des Moines. The day offered a variety of workshops to choose from:
Work and Wages
Police Reform in the Midwest
Climate Change
Caring economy and child care
Retirement security
Mass Incarceration
Money In Politics and
Messaging on Economic Justice
Due to time constraints I wasn’t able to attend all the workshops. Those that I did attend had interesting key speakers, who were all very informative in subjects rarely spoke of. Free to the public, we were even provided with lunch and refreshments in the church’s fellowship hall. After eating, we all gathered in the church’s sanctuary for the Putting People First, Presidential Candidate Forum. We waited to hear the democratic candidates thoughts and positions on issues that directly affect us and our families. Both Governor Martin O’ Malley and Senator Bernie Sanders showed up for the event. You couldn’t help but notice Hillary Clinton’s absence as the crowd chanted loudly “Where Is Clinton!” over and over again interrupting the flow of the event. The audience seemingly perturbed at her absence. It was a great forum despite! Individuals from all over brought attention to communities in distress, foreign affairs, and immigration problems. Some spoke of poverty concerns, justice reform, and raising the minimum wage. The day was incredibly engaging and I hated having to sneak off early.

I quickly crossed town to the American Legion Hall for another Bernie Sander’s speech at the Latino Round Table. Barely arriving on time, we quickly found our seats (my cousin, Monique Gonzales, was my plus one for the day) and just as we were getting comfortable, I was approached by campaign staffer Susanna Cervantes. She said I need to be sitting at the round table with Bernie. I was caught off guard! I scrambled to prepare. With no time to even think about it, Bernie came out to speak. Our informal forum began. People thanked the Senator, spoke from the heart, and brought up problems our Latino community faces right here in the Midwest. I even got to ask Senator Sanders a question during the discussion! I asked the Senator if he opposes the trillion dollars that President Obama is trying to budget in to vamp up our nuclear arsenal. Senator Sanders not only oppose, but went in depth answering about the wastefulness within our defense department, and was even quoted saying…
“I don’t know what the world looks like at the end of 2000 nuclear weapons going off, but I don’t know that you’ll need another 3000.” He then goes on to say, “You know what we could do for education with 30 billion dollars a year? You know what we could do for nutrition, affordable housing, there is a lot higher priorities than maintaining that type of nuclear arsenal” the crowd agreed with the Senator, and we all applauded his answer. The night went on with more questions, and answers in the union hall. I was one of nine that sat at the roundtable that night with Bernie. We all serve on the Latino Leadership Committee, and felt honored to be a part of such important events that day.


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