Midwood Berning: Bernie Sanders stumps in his childhood neighborhood • Brooklyn Paper

Midwood Berning: Bernie Sanders stumps in his childhood neighborhood

Shaking hands: Bernie Sanders returned to his childhood neighborhood on April 8 for a rally.
Photo by Angel Zayas

Some felt the Bern, others went to do the burning.

The Brooklyn-born presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders spent the afternoon in his native Midwood during an April 8 rally. The James Madison High School alumn drew an energetic and diverse crowd — so diverse that even neighbors who vote on the other side of the aisle stopped by. Seeing Sanders in person didn’t sway one Trump supporter who came out of curiosity — he is still a fan of The Donald’s immigration policy.

“I live right here,” said zealous Donald Trump supporter Ben Tzion-Sacks, 20, at the rally just steps away from Sander’s childhood home on the corner of Kings Highway and E. 26th Street. “[Trump’s] not scared to say the truth about the refugees — or else you’re going have what happens in Europe.”

And another rallyer showed up wearing a yarmulke made for Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz. But for all of the red in the crowd, there were far more Brooklynites bleeding blue.

One Muslim community leader — who wore a hijab and held high her Bernie Sanders poster — said Republican hopefuls’ right-wing rhetoric is divisive and will not do any good for America. The country needs to build bridges, not walls, she said.

“His campaign’s already demonstrated what it looks like when we come together,” said Linda Sarsour, executive director of the Arab American Association of New York and an unpaid Sanders volunteer. “I saw women here who are Muslim, I saw orthodox Jews wearing yarmulkes, I saw young black people, white, I saw all Asian-Americans. The fact that the people who are coming out for him are people from every racial, ethnic, and religious background, just already proves to me that he’s going to be a uniter — and a uniter of people.”

And another woman from Sheepshead Bay said it is clear from Sanders’s rallies that he can bring the country together.

“If you look around, you can see every age group, every nationality, all represented here,” said Andrea Coyle. “And because in Brooklyn, we’re so used to living with all different cultures shoulder to shoulder, because he comes from those roots, he’s able to just appeal to such a wide audience.”

Sanders will face Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton in an April 14 debate in Fort Greene. The primary is April 19.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.

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