Spreading ‘the Bern’ in Boston is aim of planned march

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2016/01/21/spreading-the-bern-in-boston-is-aim-of-planned-march/

BOSTON – Hundreds of Bernie Sanders supporters plan to descend on Boston Common Saturday at noon to spend three hours marching and canvassing for the Democratic presidential hopeful, snowy weather notwithstanding.

Referred to as “#MarchforBernie,” the nationwide event is being organized locally by Boston for Bernie, a grassroots group. Local marches and canvassing drives are being organized across the country for the same day. The aim is to register voters, spread awareness of Sanders and help people “feel the Bern” a week before the Feb. 1 Iowa caucuses, in what organizers call the largest event for the Senator from Vermont so far.

Voters in New Hampshire go to the polls Feb. 9, in the nation’s first primary election, while the Massachusetts vote is set for March 1.

Weather forecasts for Saturday remain somewhat loose, but the outlook as of Thursday afternoon is for minimal snow from a storm system expected to belt Washington with a foot or more. Should the storm change track and move closer to Boston, it could bring a significant snowfall to the city. But organizers said Thursday that the event is still on.

“We’ll be out there in ski goggles if we have to be,” said Hilary Robinson, 34, a Bernie for Boston team member from Washington. “The grassroots movement is a lot deeper than who’s going to be able to get out in a snowstorm,” she said. “We march in solidarity with people who are older, younger, who can’t be out in the snow.”

Without predicting how many people may participate, even 200 would be deemed a success, she said. About 1,000 have indicated they plan to attend, according to the group’s Facebook page, while another 4,000 have said they are interested in showing up.

Marchers plan to start the walk at the Parkman bandstand on the common. It will and circle around to the State House and pass along Washington and Park Streets, keeping the route short due to weather, organizers said.

Boston for Bernie formed last summer, gaining support from local groups working for prison and policing reforms, and to reduce racial and income disparities – similar to the way other groups have grown around the nation that back Sanders, whose rise has taken some in the media by surprise.

Other Northeast marches are planned in Providence, Rhode Island, Manchester, New Hampshire, New York and Philadelphia. The 74-year-old Sanders will give a speech at 6 p.m. Saturday in an online presentation that will be shown in homes, offices and colleges around the Boston metro area.

“We are gathering on this day, people of all races and creeds, to show the billionaires that We The People are ready to take them on,” the event’s website states. “We have the numbers, we have the passion, we have the determination, and we have the stamina.”

Sanders is destroying rival Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire polls, a CNN/WMUR-TV survey showed this week, and appears to be attracting many younger voters away from the former Secretary of State. Polling shows Sanders and Clinton are locked in a much closer race in Iowa.

Contact Kara Bettis at [email protected] or on Twitter @karabettis.