Not all of Bushwick can feel the Bern.
A band of hipster Brooklyn Bushwickans on the stump for Bernie Sanders from inside local industrial loft spaces is having a tough time convincing old-school neighbors to get out and vote for Brooklyn’s son, say the passionate organizers.
“There’s the original Bushwick community and the gentrified Bushwick community,” said Magenna Brink of the Bushwick Berners, who regularly gather to call voters over some brews while they plan their door-to-door outreach at their Forrest Street headquarters as well as the notorious McKibbin Street lofts. “The gentrified community, with all the hipsters and the young kids, are totally behind Bernie. The other community is kind of half-and-half.”
The Berners say they have hit the streets to spread the word about their candidate of choice only to find many of the native residents are either not enamored with Sanders’s socialist policies or completely unaware he exists.
“In the lower-income communities, there were a ton of people who said they were Hillary supporters, but they didn’t even know who Bernie Sanders was,” said Brink.
But the activists are not discouraged by the blank stares, said Brink — they are passionate about spreading the word, and they have had some luck evangelizing to those ignorant of Bernie during their door-to-door canvassing outings.
Meanwhile, hardcore Hillary fans tend to be immovable — and Bushwick’s Trump supporters, which the group can confirm exist, prove pretty difficult to sway as well.
“Sometimes people have just wandered into our parties who are Trump supporters and started arguments,” she said.
The group also hosts ultra-hip voter registration events out of local bars to encourage folks to rock the vote, and musicians in the group throw ragers to rally around the cause — most recently, local rockers Future Punx put on a “Rock for Bernie: Revolution on the Dance Floor” benefit concert to raise money for a group of volunteers looking to canvas the windy city before the Illinois primary.
The activists also distributes hipster-friendly swag, such as T-shirts emblazoned with “Bernie is Bae” and reefer-themed stickers that spell out “I love Bernie” with a green, leafy heart — paraphernalia the group tends to distribute only in ultra-liberal settings, said Brink, but that tend to go over pretty well in their ’hood.
“Bushwick is a great place for pot stickers,” said Brink.