SEATTLE — Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders spoke to a packed crowd Saturday night at the University of Washington campus about his commitment to criminal justice reform as well as addressing income equality.
Sanders gave his talk to a cheering audience at the university a few hours after he was shoved aside by several Black Lives Matter activists who are calling for changes to the criminal justice system. Sanders eventually left the Saturday afternoon event at Westlake Park in Seattle without giving his speech.
“Today BLM Seattle…held Bernie Sanders publicly accountable for his lack of support for the Black Lives Matter movement,” the movement wrote in a release it posted to Facebook.
Sanders was active in the civil rights movement while in college in the 60s. He attended the 1963 March on Washington and watched Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. give his iconic “I Have A Dream” speech in person.
At the University of Washington rally, Sanders addressed the issues raised by the protesters.
“No president will fight harder to end institutional racism and reform criminal justice system,” he told the cheering crowd at Hec Edmundson pavilion, according to the King5-TV station. “Too many lives have been destroyed by war on drugs, by incarceration; we need to educate people. We need to put people to work.”
Earlier in the day, Sanders was just starting to address several thousand people gathered shoulder to shoulder at Westlake Park when two women took over the microphone. After waiting about 20 minutes, Sanders himself was pushed away when he tried to take the microphone back. Instead, he waved goodbye.