Bernie Sanders Stops At Morehouse During HBCU Tour

Bernie Sanders takes the stage Tuesday at Morehouse during his ‘’Feel the Bern’’ rally.

Al Such / WABE

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders spoke at Atlanta’s Morehouse College on Tuesday night. The campaign stop was part of his “Feel the Bern” tour of historically black colleges and universities.

Sanders gained steam after a strong showing at the Iowa caucus and a win at the New Hampshire Democratic primary earlier this month. But he’s still trailing Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton when it comes to attracting African-American voters.

Tuesday night, he spent a lot of time talking about criminal justice reform, such as changing penalties for low-level offenses.

“Too often when charges are made against an individual, judges have no option because there is mandatory minimum sentencing,” he said. “We have got to do away with that.”

He also tapped into an issue at the forefront of the Black Lives Matter movement.

“Together we are going to end the horrors that we have seen time and time again on TV of unarmed African-Americans being shot and killed by police officers,” Sanders said.

That struck a chord with Spelman junior Nyeisha Anderson. She said Sanders’ stance on criminal justice sets him apart from Clinton, whose husband’s administration enacted tough sentencing laws.

“People were being incarcerated for petty crimes,” she said. “The punishment did not fit the crime, and it targeted mainly minorities, and that was the legacy of Bill Clinton.”

Anderson said she appreciated the other topics Sanders covered, including income inequality, campaign finance reform, making college loans more affordable and moving toward a single-payer health care system.

“I just love him because he’s so real and he’s so honest, and I’m just so for him,” she said. “And I know it’s 2016, and we should want a woman in, but I’m really hoping for that old white guy.”

This was Lasha Thorns’ second Sanders rally. She was glad to hear him address criminal justice reform this time.

“I thought that was important because that was one of the top issues on my list, so I appreciate him talking about that,” she said.

Sanders’ campaign said he pulled in a crowd of almost 5,000 people. Although Tuesday’s event was held at Morehouse, it was open to the public.