There are a number of points you can expect to hear at every single Bernie Sanders rally. His greatest hits include calls to end the historic economic inequality and racial disparity in America, to fix our “racist and broken criminal justice system,” to provide Medicare for All (“healthcare is a right, not a privilege”), to stand up to the NRA, to combat the “existential threat of climate change,” to reform the criminal justice system (“invest in jobs and education; not jails and incarceration”), and to end “the horrific and destructive war on drugs.”
But in Atlanta today—in the shadow of a large statue of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the Morehouse College Campus—Sen. Sanders spoke to a group of students and supporters about a topic that affects them particularly: Funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Unveiling a new plan for HBCUs, Sanders promised to go beyond just free tuition and a cancellation of student debt; he intends to forgive debts accrued by the universities and colleges themselves. He also spoke at the rally about expanding teacher training and medical and dental programs at HBCUs, as well as other minority-serving institutions and tribal colleges. His new plan earmarks $5 billion for teacher training and $5 billion for medical/dental training.
While Sanders spent very little time calling out the current occupier of the the job he hopes to win next year, he did direct his ire to Georgia’s governor Brian Kemp, calling out the voter suppression tactics employed in the 2018 race and celebrating the voter registration efforts of his opponent Stacey Abrams (the crowd took up an impromptu chant of STAC-EY to match their BER-NIE chants). He recalled having won and lost elections through his life, but never even thinking about how he could look at what part of the electorate opposed him and trying to keep them from voting. “If you can’t win an election on your ideas, then don’t run for office,” he said. “We’ve got cowardly Republican governors who can’t win on their ideas trying to suppress the vote.”
You can read the full details of Sanders’ HBCU plan here.