“This feels like more than a coincidence. Suzanne and her son appearing in this video to me is a lot like the time that little birdie landed on the Senator’s podium when he was speaking at his Portland rally last election season. It turns out that incident took place on March 25, 2016…”

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From a Facebook note by Rusha Laif:

"This video is profoundly moving. It’s more meaningful than people probably realize. I don’t even think Senator Sanders and the media team that produced it realize how special it is. There's a story in the final images that’s not immediately discernible, and it’s quite poetic. Only a few of us who were at the rally on Sunday in San Francisco are aware of it, so I feel like I should share it.

The woman who appears in the final scene of this video with Bernie is no ordinary token hijabi. This is our dear sister Dr. Suzanne Barakat. For those of you who don't know her story, Suzanne's younger brother Deah, his wife Yusor whom he had newly married, and his wife’s sister Razan were executed in their home in Chapel Hill, North Carolina four years ago by their white nationalist neighbor. It was a tragic Islamophobic hate crime that devastated her family and shook our community to the core.

This encounter between Suzanne and Bernie wasn't planned. We were sitting in the ADA section next to the stage at the end of what was a wonderfully uplifting rally when we noticed the senator coming around the front to greet supporters after he had descended from the podium. A few of us from our group rushed up to meet him and thank him for his kind words in support of our community. Suzanne didn't get a chance to share her story with the Senator in that fleeting moment, just a heartfelt thank you, a smile, and the sweetness of her son, which he received warmly. He didn’t know who she was, nor did anyone from his media team. Our friend Basim Elkarra managed to capture the loving moment in a few photos on his cell phone. We huddled around his phone afterwards in amazement. It turned out Basim had some mad iPhone photography skills. We couldn’t get over how stunning his shots were.

The images Basim took stayed with me well after the event. These weren’t ordinary photos—something about them felt iconic. As I was driving home, I recalled the stories Senator Sanders shared publicly for the first time when he launched his campaign a few weeks ago at his rally in Brooklyn, New York—stories about his experience with anti-semitism, about his family’s history with the holocaust, about his relatives who were killed by Hitler’s men. And I thought about the parallels with Suzanne’s story. There was so much shared experience in those photos. So much pain. So much resilience. So much love. And there was something particularly poignant about the life and innocence of her little boy amid the hate and senseless violence that marked the stories his elders carried with them in these images, stories he’d one day inherit.

I connected with Suzanne over the phone later that night and shared some of these thoughts with her. The meanings I saw in the photos had not been lost on her either. I suggested she share the photos on Facebook along with a reflection on the connection she shared with Senator Sanders, believing it could have an impact. The timing seemed appropriate, in light of the recent tragedy in New Zealand. It’s not that she didn’t want to, she said, but that she was struggling with her loss, and it was hard for her talk about; the Christchurch shootings had conjured up the trauma for her again. She was going to give it some thought.

This was Sunday evening. Then, Monday afternoon, I was scrolling through my timeline when, to my surprise, I saw this video on a friend’s page with Suzanne’s image. We had no idea she was being filmed. The video highlights the exact connections between Suzanne’s story and the Senator’s that we were contemplating. The video editors closed the film with her and her son, not knowing their family were victims of the very bigotry and Islamophobic violence Bernie speaks out against throughout the footage. They probably just thought it was a good shot of the Senator with a hijabi. They couldn’t have known how poignant it was to end the video with her.

This feels like more than a coincidence. Suzanne and her son appearing in this video to me is a lot like the time that little birdie landed on the Senator’s podium when he was speaking at his Portland rally last election season. It turns out that incident took place on March 25, 2016, exactly three years ago to the date. Yes, this video was released on the exact same day. The symbolism is hard to miss. It must be another good omen 📷<3

Three generations. Two different faith traditions. One common humanity, as Bernie said.

Thank you, Senator Sanders, for your empathy and compassion and loving, moral leadership.

To everyone else, please keep Suzanne and her family in your prayers and cons

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At a 2016 debate, Bernie answer to the question about most serious crisis facing us was…..

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Climate change. Here's the clip and it shouldn't be a surprise to any of us. He's very consistent with this message.


I'm trying to make a point that will make it past the mods here. We should be afraid of climate change and that fear should motivate us to take action to avoid the worst consequences. Nature endowed us with the the capacity to be afraid of something as a survival mechanism.

In October of 2018, the International Panel on Climate Change released a report telling us that we have 12 years to reduce emissions by 45% in order to avoid catastrophic and irreversible consequences. I get regular social media messages from Bernie which cite that 12 year figure. He talks about it in his stump speech. That scientific consensus was critical fuel for climate activists.

Without going into excessive detail, as an avid student of climate science, I can say that I agree with Bernie 110% and we need someone like him to take the lead on the dramatic actions necessary to reduce GHG levels which are at their highest level in three million years.

One of the things I like about SFP is that we're allowed to offer constructive criticism and don't have to be mindless bots in support of the candidate and the progressive agenda. We can love progressivism and the community w/o pretending everything is going perfect.

Today the Senate voted 57-0 against the Green New Deal resolution. 3 Democrats voted against, while the rest including Bernie voted present. The Green New Deal is now dead and it's time to pick up the pieces and move to the next phase of climate activism. As I much as I personally would have liked every piece of the GND, there was some social engineering in there that had nothing to do with the required greenhouse gas reductions.

If a child is in a car accident and is bleeding to death, the parents need only be concerned with the doctor saving the kids life. If the doctor is a rude SOB with terrible bedside manner, they can take that up at another time.

Climate change is a life and death issue and there's no need to bundle it with progressive objectives that we can fight for separately. The issue of the role of union participation in getting GHG's under control doesn't even register on the scale next to the importance of getting them under control in the first place. It's nice to have, but not necessary.

Winning on climate change means defeating the fossil fuel industry. Winning on the Green New Deal meant a lot more people had to lose politically. Guess what, we don't have the political might to make that happen today and we probably won't in 2021 either when you consider that only 20% of Congress co-sponsored the GND. Bernie supporters like me are more idealistic than most, but we have to be realistic in order to get something accomplished. We have to be able make some compromises when the patient is almost literally bleeding to death. We need to give our political leaders permission to compromise when we can get everything we want in one scoop.

It's time to draw up a new resolution on climate change and isolate the individuals who aren't willing to do the bare minimum necessary to save today's kids from a desperate future. We can only do that with a resolution focused on strictly on the requirements that the scientist have laid out. If we insist on the putting in demands which pit left vs. right, then we allow the opponents to frame the debate as left vs. right and muddy the debate. If we insist on putting every principle of the progressive agenda in that legislation, we lose precious time and lives and money.

Props to AOC for all her hard work in getting the attention on climate change. She did a lot while so many others were sitting on their butts doing nothing. That said, it's time to acknowledge a swing and a miss, dust ourselves off and maybe choose a lighter bat to hit a curveball.

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