An attempt by the Bernie Sanders campaign to court black voters ended with hundreds of homeless people with no place to go on the coldest night of the year.
As temperatures dipped down to near 15 degrees overnight, the homeless population of Birmingham, Alabama had nowhere to seek warmth– that’s because a Bernie Sanders rally had taken over their designated shelter.
Sanders spoke to a crowd of thousands in Alabama yesterday, an MLK rally in the place where Martin Luther King, Jr. had marched and been imprisoned. But the optics of a compassionate rally of and for the people eroded when the Sanders campaign decided it wanted to use the building typically reserved for housing the homeless on cold nights.
The building, Birmingham’s historic Boutwell Memorial Auditorium, was important to the campaign’s ongoing push to recruit black voters. Typically, the building houses around 300 homeless on cold nights; giving those with no place to go somewhere to be warm.
Many of the cities homeless were dismayed to find the building unavailable with no alternative location afforded to them.
“We’ve never had a night like this where it will be in the teens and we weren’t able to open,” said Don Lupo of the mayor’s office of citizen’s assistance.
“Unfortunately, no, we do not have an alternative location and were unable to have the warming station tonight,” Birmingham city spokeswoman April Odom said Monday night. “However, we are working with local area homeless shelters and the BPD to help anyone in need to get to a shelter.”
It’s so lovely that the city leaders were willing to allow a political rally to put hundreds of peoples lives at risk– not to mention the compassion of sending the police around to check on them.
As for Bernie and crew; they had an opportunity to show how compassionate they truly are by either moving or postponing their rally– they did neither. Courting black voters was more important than the lives of 300 people who were forced to sleep on the streets.