This is part of a series of persuasive essays written by Lancaster Stands Up members in support of their preferred candidates in the lead-up to Lancaster Stands Up’s People’s Caucus (Saturday, February 15 — details and RSVP here) and member endorsement vote. All LSU members are invited to submit a piece advocating for their preferred candidate. Submissions should be no longer than 600 words, should not argue with other members’ essays, and should be respectful. You must be a LSU member. (Become a LSU member here.) Submit your essay to info@lancasterstandsup.org.

Our Voices Deserve to Be Heard

by Kareena Rios, Lancaster Stands Up member

I’m supporting Bernie Sanders because he is the people’s candidate and I believe in his ability to uphold the values of my community. Before he announced his candidacy, I was ready and willing to campaign for Elizabeth Warren. I was excited about the policies she was highlighting like universal Pre-K and Medicare for all. These policies would have a significant, positive impact for so many people in my life and community. When Bernie announced he would be running again, I was initially torn because I felt Warren had started strong and was likely to be more favorable with an older generation of voters, however; it didn’t take long for me to recognize what makes Bernie’s campaign unique and that’s US. The people who are willing to stand for someone they do not know. It’s everyone who understands Bernie’s message and immediately begins doing SOMETHING. 

Back in 2015 the idea of being politically involved felt distant to me. I had just given birth to my second child, my daughter. I was a stay at home mom with two children under 2 years old in big part because childcare was too expensive and the wages were too low in a so called solidly “blue” state. Watching the election of 2016 unfold, I felt more voiceless than ever before in my life. I felt angry that the powers that be would overlook women’s liberty, that our country would so blatantly glance over the Racism our now current President tossed around like red hats on the campaign trail. When Trump eventually succeeded in taking power, I knew I had to make a change in my life. 

I attended the Women’s March in Seattle. I was inspired by the thousands of women, families, and coalitions that came out to stand for love, liberty and community. I moved back home to Lancaster that same year and decided I needed to do more for the community that raised me. I started volunteering for Lancaster Stands Up and spent the entire summer of 2018 registering new voters. I wasn’t going to allow this administration to sow fear in my hometown. 

We who know love and care for our neighbors are the ones who deserve to have our voices heard. We who stand with immigrants, we who care for the sick in understaffed hospitals, we who work two jobs so our kids have a home, even if it’s just a one-bedroom apartment. Our voices deserve to be heard. 

Bernie Sanders is the candidate that not only listens, he encourages us to lead. He is the strongest supporter of unions and member run organizations. He throws his support behind young women running for office for the first time, even IF they are running against a career democrat, because he listens to the people of a community and not just a political party. 

My entire life people have tried to correct my optimism, tried to tell me that reaching for the stars is fine for your personal journey but not for the collective. This idea of scarcity, that there’s not enough housing, not enough education, not enough healthcare to go around and we just can’t afford to share it or it will take a long time before we get there, these ideas are spread like wildfire by corporate lobbyists and the politicians that accept their bribes. We need a President who will tell the billionaire class that their days of taking and cheating from the working families of America are over. We can’t afford to have another complacent, corporate politician. There’s just too much at stake, so I’m siding with my community, I’m siding with our youth, I’m siding with my immigrant community, estoy al lado de mi gente en Puerto Rico, mi voto es con Bernie!