Bernie Sanders supporters packed a Queens park on Monday night for the Democratic presidential candidate’s final New York City rally before Tuesday’s primary.
“You all look beautiful, and you all look like you want a political revolution,” Sanders said to a cheering crowd at Hunter’s Point South Park along Long Island City’s waterfront.
Sanders told the audience that a large voter turnout for Tuesday’s New York primary would lead to a victory against Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.
“Tomorrow, let us all do everything we can to make sure that New York State has the largest turnout in a Democratic primary in its history,” he said. “Tomorrow, New York State can help take this country a giant step forward in the political revolution.”
Sanders slammed a “rigged economy” and said that America would “invest in our people, not give tax breaks to billionaires,” if he is elected president.
He spoke about a “broken criminal justice system” and vowed to bring reform to local police departments all over the country. While he said the “vast majority” of officers are honest and hardworking, he said that any cop who breaks the law “must be held accountable.”
“We have got to demilitarize local police departments,” he said. “We have got to make police departments as diverse as the communities they serve.”
He also slammed Wall Street’s “greed, recklessness and illegal behavior,” which he said has hurt millions of Americans.
Sanders had a message for corporate America: “Get nervous if Bernie Sanders is elected president.”
The presidential hopeful spoke out in favor of equal pay for women, saying that women can’t get by on 79 cents for every dollar that a man makes. “The women in this country want the whole damn dollar,” he said.
He also reiterated his calls for a $15-per-hour minimum wage across the U.S. and criticized Clinton, who has called for a $12-per-hour minimum wage.
TV on the Radio performed at the rally earlier in the evening. Actor Danny Glover spoke before introducing Sanders, saying that it’s time for Americans to make a choice on “how to change the world, change our lives.”
LIC resident Mike Smith, 36, a dual citizen who grew up in Switzerland, was among the rally attendees.
“I’m familiar with a lot of the things he’s saying and I think they’re the right things,” said Smith, who works in marketing. While he didn’t expect to hear Sanders say anything new, he wanted to be there “to really feel the Bern, to feel the energy.”
He added, “It’s great to really be here and be a part of it.”
Faith Birchall, 59, said she followed and supported Sanders before he started running for president.
“I’m really inspired,” said Birchall, who lives in Jamaica, Queens. “He’s a candidate with a lot of integrity. He’s dedicated to doing something about income inequality.”
Birchall said she has been wanting to go to a rally for a while and was finally able to make it on Monday.
“I’m very hopeful that he wins tomorrow,” she said. “You just don’t find a candidate who has this much integrity. He’s very sincere, he’s so bold.”
Student Szymon Paczkowski, 25, came from Yonkers to hear Sanders speak.
“I think out of all the candidates, he’s the best to represent the values most people share,” said Paczkowski, originally from Holland. “I wanted to be with people to feel the [solidarity].”