By Alex Ziolkowski
Baltimore Watchdog Staff Writer
Towson University students marched across campus last Friday to urge their classmates to vote for U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders in today’s Democratic presidential primary.
Chanting slogans like “What does democracy look like? This is what democracy looks like,” the estimated two dozen demonstrators began their march at Freedom Square on the Towson campus and walked in a circle that passed the school’s Liberal Arts building and covered York Road, Cross Campus Drive, Osler Drive and around West Village before ending back at the square.
“I think the march went really well,” said Emily Fields, a women’s studies major at Towson who helped organize the event. “It was hard for us to gage how many people would be there just from the Facebook page. But for how busy everyone is with finals coming near. I think we got a great turn-out. It definitely got people’s attention – on and off campus. Our next success will be if the momentum from the march encourages Towson students to vote for Sanders on Tuesday and we’ll see how that goes.”
Filippo Bustamante Jr., a philosophy major and psychology minor from Baltimore who led the procession, said Sanders is a unique politician who deserves the vote of Democratic Party loyalists.
“Regardless of our race, religion, it’s not about me it’s about us,” Bustamante said. “Bernie Sanders is a once-in-a-lifetime candidate. The fight has just started. We feel the Bern.We are going to let other people feel the Bern, and if they don’t, we’ll make them.”
Bystanders’ reactions varied.
One man walked up and spontaneously preformed a Sanders impression. Other students walked past and either cheered in approval or booed in disagreement. Drivers honked their car horns in support while others attempted to drown out the group.
Some were bold enough to flip off demonstrators with their middle fingers, although many pedestrians stood entranced and recorded the legion on their smart-phones.
Bustamante closed the event at 1p.m. with an encouraging sonnet for his peers.
In addition to Fields and Bustamente, other students who helped organize the event included Rachel Brauer, Faisal Chowdhury, Jean-Luc St. Piere and Molly Tapia.
Brauer, a secondary Spanish education major, credited their advertising for getting people involved. The group passed out flyers, made phone calls, created a Facebook page and spread the message in their classes. Some of her professors praised them for their political engagement, Brauer said.
“He’s been supporting the same things for 40 years and he wants to support the lower middle class,” Brauer said of Sanders.
Fields, who transferred to Towson from Howard County Community College, said she met a Sanders campaign volunteer at the Rainbow Lounge on campus. He wanted to get a feel for the political atmosphere at Towson. Coincidently, she was searching for a way to get involved.
“I asked, “What can we do?’” Fields said.
Since then Fields and friends have hosted several events about political engagement. Last Tuesday through Friday they conducted “dorm-storms” to encourage people to vote early. They managed to get 40 people to vote early and some of them returned to participate in the march, she said.
Several group members who were interviewed said that if Sanders does not get the Democratic Party’s nomination, they would be willingto support frontrunner Hillary Clinton. Others were not so sure.
Fields said she would be thrilled to vote for the first female president. Brauer said Sanders’ message still resonates with him. Brustante said it would be a tough decision for him because he does not trust Clinton considering her reliance on Wall Street and Super PACs for support.
“Either way we won’t have a Republican president,” Fields said.
Bustamante and Brauer attended Bernie Sander’s rally at Royal Farms Arena in downtown Baltimore last Saturday.