I spent five years leading the NAACP—through the election of our first Black president, through the worst assault on voting rights in two generations, and through the Zimmerman acquittal and the movement that grew after it. Long before that, as a teenager, I cut my teeth community organizing in Harlem and Mississippi. From the country's biggest city to its biggest civil rights association, I've seen this political game at every level.
What I haven't exactly seen before is a presidential candidate like Senator Bernie Sanders—and that's why I endorsed him earlier this month and why I'm asking you to volunteer this weekend ahead of some of the most important elections of this primary. There are thousands of events taking place across the country where you can make a difference. Click here to find one near you.
Bernie’s got a level of integrity you rarely see in politicians today. He's got a boldness of vision that's shaken the Democratic Party this year. And he's got a moral clarity and authenticity that I think are the reasons he's been drawing such huge crowds wherever his campaign goes.
I'll tell you that Bernie's got something else too—a legislative history and agenda to match his fiery rhetoric. Bernie's universal health care plan would improve the lives of millions of people, particularly Black and Latino Americans who are still disproportionately uninsured today. His plan to make college more affordable is going to make the middle class obtainable for entire communities of people who have been systematically left out. And his people-over-profits approach to international trade would make sure we're creating jobs in communities whose industries have disappeared, instead of giving more jobs away.
Despite what you've been hearing on the 24-hour news cycle, Bernie can definitely win this nomination; the delegate math proves it. The Democratic Party's superdelegates will not vote until July. That means the only thing that counts right now are the delegates earned at the polls, where Clinton and Sanders are only one vote apart.
Moreover, the most important question for us is not just who can win the primary itself, but who can beat Donald Trump at the polls in November. For weeks now, every poll has been clear: Sanders is the only candidate who would defeat Trump handily in a head-to-head match this fall. But the millions of us behind Bernie's "political revolution" have to get us there first.
Anyone, no matter where they are in the country, can help turn out voters for Bernie in South Carolina's Saturday primary and the upcoming Super Tuesday states by spending a few minutes calling voters or some time volunteering at a local event.
Will you sign up to volunteer today or tomorrow before it's too late?
When I first began campaigning for Bernie Sanders, I recalled the words of the late, great Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who said that "a genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus." That means someone who is visionary and not constrained by what leaders of the status quo tell us is possible.
I've seen Bernie in action, and I know he's the type of leader we can trust to fight for the future of all our nation's children as if they were his very own. I've also heard the stories of his time as a student activist in Chicago, fighting housing segregation and leading the local CORE chapter—the stories he's too humble to harp about in public but that paint the picture of a man who's carried a lifelong commitment to justice.
For decades, Bernie's been a consistent, principled, and courageous fighter against the evils that Dr. King referred to as the giant triplets of racism, militarism, and greed. I know that's the reason that legends like Harry Belafonte have proudly endorsed Bernie as well.
MoveOn members are known for taking on the tough fights—the uphill battles, the ones that shift what's possible. In this election, Bernie is the candidate who shifts what's possible. I hope you feel the same way and will help me get him into office.
If you're able to volunteer ahead of a critical primary in South Carolina this Saturday—or before the long list of states voting next Tuesday—please do sign up today.
Benjamin Todd Jealous
Civil Rights Leader
P.S. This photo's been going around since this weekend, after the Chicago Tribune found it in their archives. It's Bernie Sanders being arrested in 1963 during a civil rights demonstration on the south side of Chicago. Coincidentally, Bernie mentioned this incident at a dinner I attended recently, and he said immediately after this picture was taken, he was thrown into a police van.