Bernie Sanders is serving his second term in the U.S. Senate after winning re-election in 2012 with 71 percent of the vote. His previous 16 years in the House of Representatives make him the longest serving independent member of Congress in American history
. Born in 1941 in Brooklyn, Sanders attended James Madison High School, Brooklyn College and the University of Chicago. After graduating in 1964, he moved to Vermont. In 1981, he was elected (by 10 votes) to the first of four terms as mayor of Burlington. Sanders lectured at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard and at Hamilton College in upstate New York before his 1990 election as Vermont’s at-large member in Congress. The Almanac of American Politics calls Sanders a “practical and successful legislator.” Throughout his career he has focused on the shrinking American middle class and the growing income and wealth gaps in the United States. As chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, Sanders in 2014 passed legislation reforming the VA health care system. Congressional Quarterly
said he was able “to bridge Washington’s toxic partisan divide and cut one of the most significant deals in years.” Today, Sanders remains on the veterans committee and was tapped by Senate leadership to be the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee. He also serves on the Environment and Public Works Committee, where he has focused on global warming and rebuilding our nation’s crumbling infrastructure. He is a member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, where he has championed efforts to transform our energy system from fossil fuels to renewable power sources like solar and wind. He also sits on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, where he has fought for greater access to affordable health care and improved education programs from pre-K to college.
“We” is the most important word in the social justice vocabulary.
The issue is not what we can’t do, but what we CAN do when we stand together. Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II serves as President of the North Carolina NAACP and leads the Forward Together Moral Movement, an alliance of more than 200 progressive organizations better known as “Moral Monday.” This coalition has spearheaded justice work in the state and inspired organizing across the nation. The Washington Post called Barber’s speech at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, The Heart of the Nation “the most engaging” of a convention marked by memorable speeches. Forward Together is a multi-racial movement to resist attacks by the state government on voting rights, public education, Medicaid, the environment, and the rights of women, labor, immigrants and members of the LGBTQ community. Beginning in 2013, tens of thousands joined the “Moral Monday” protests; more than a thousand were arrested in civil disobedience. On February 8, 2014, a crowd estimated by USA Today at 80,000 participated in the Mass Moral March on Raleigh, the largest in the South since Selma 1965. In July 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th District struck down the state’s voter suppression law in North Carolina NAACP v. McCrory, ruling that the state had “targeted African Americans with almost surgical precision.” On September 12, 2016, the coalition coordinated simultaneous demonstrations at thirty state capitols across America in the “Moral Day of Action.” In 2016, Rev. Dr. Barber headlined a national organizing tour called “The Revival: Time for a Moral Revolution of Values,” working alongside Rev. Dr. James Forbes, Rev. Dr. Traci Blackmon, and Sister Simone Campbell to redefine morality in American politics. Over fifty events in more than twenty states led by national and local faith leaders sought to spark political activism to address poverty, injustice, and inequality. Rev. Dr. Barber serves on the NAACP National Board of Directors and chairs the National NAACP Legislative Political Action Committee. He is president of Repairers of the Breach, Inc. Rev. Dr. Barber graduated from North Carolina Central University, earned a Master of Divinity degree from Duke University, and a doctorate from Drew University. He is Visiting Professor of Public Theology and Activism at Union Theological Seminary and the author of several books including Forward Together: A Moral Vision for the Nation and The Third Reconstruction: Moral Mondays, Fusion Politics and the Rise of a New Justice Movement. He lives in Goldsboro, N.C. where he has pastored Greenleaf Christian Church for 25 years. REV. DR. WILLIAM J. BARBER, II