Bernie Sanders and Tom Perez bring the 'Come Together, Fight Back' tour to Arizona

ASU Young Democrats helped plan the event for ASU students

ASU Young Democrats helped volunteer at the “Come Together, Fight Back” tour headlined by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and newly elected Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez on Friday.

The speakers focused on progressive values championed by Democratic candidates during the election, like increased minimum wage, the Affordable Care Act, women’s reproductive rights, universal childcare and guaranteed paid family leave.

The tour, which stopped in Maine, Kentucky, Florida, Texas, Nebraska and Utah, concluded in Nevada on Saturday. All states visited by the duo, with the exception of Nevada and Maine, went to President Donald Trumpin the 2016 Presidential Election.

Belen Sisa, an ASU undocumented student and immigration rights activist, whose post about her tax returns went viral, spoke to the crowd about DACA and immigration rights.

Sisa began her speech to the cheering crowd of roughly 3,800 by saying was “undocumented and unafraid."

“The realities and fear of deportation are very real for me, especially during the passing of SB 1070," Sisa said. “(With the) financial and legal obstacles set by the Arizona legislature, I felt powerless. Just as I was feeling like giving up, Deferred Action was announced by President (Barack) Obama and changed my life.”

Sisa said that she was inspired to no longer “stand on the sidelines.” She got involved in the 2016 presidential election by working the Sanders campaign, traveling to four different states.

Other speakers included Jevin Hodge, vice chair of the Arizona Democratic Party and Jason Rae, the current secretary of the DNC.

Perez took the stage after and spoke to the crowd about unifying the party and regaining the trust of those who felt left behind by the Democratic Party. ASU student Jimmy Arwood, who was there with the group AZblue2020, said he appreciated it.

“My favorite part was Tom Perez’s speech, where he said, 'Trust is not given, its something that earned.' And I think for a lot of Democrats right now, they feel like the party has left them behind," Arwood said.

Both Perez and Sanders focused their speeches on reminding the crowd that the Democratic party should be a party for all.

“I think it's people like me, who had a narrow vision of how we perceived the world," Arwood said. "In reflection, now I realize it's much easier for me to say, as someone who lives in an urban area, that the University is beneficial because the University is actually where I’m living.”

Arwood said he and others got "cocky," forgetting that others in the country, like those in the mining sector, are having different experiences.

Yvonne Akuamoah, a computer science freshman said this was her first political rally and she enjoyed it, especially the speakers leading up to Perez and Sanders.

"(These) first 100 days has been nothing less than carnage and chaos," Perez said of Donald Trump's start in the White House. Perez also criticized Speaker Paul Ryan’s healthcare replacement bill saying, “It's not 'Trumpcare,' or 'Ryancare,' it’s, 'I don’t care.'”

Akuamoah did not like the focus on the Trump administration's faults, noting that the event was about Democratic future and leadership.

“I don’t think the discussion should have been heavily focused on Trump, on what Trump isn’t doing and how bad he is, it should have been focused on the Democrats," Akuamoah.

ASU students were volunteering in all aspects of the event and Young Democrats canceled their Friday club meeting to encourage students to volunteer. UA Young Democrats were also in attendance, working with the Arizona Democratic party.

Jesse Avalos, vice president of ASU Young Democrats, said he is hoping that the Democratic party focuses on grassroots movements and local elections on the road to 2020.

“I suggest coming to any political meeting … get involved with your local legislative districts, Arizona has about 30 legislative districts and people can see what district they fall in … and hopefully become a precinct committee person,” Avalos said.


Reach the reporter at brookehanrahanreports@gmail.com and follow @brookehanrahan1 on Twitter.

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