Vote! And vote for Biden, Symone Sanders says

Jan 27, 2020


Symone Sanders, center, with Claflin and S.C. State students during the Orangeburg visit. (Claflin University)


Symone Sanders, a senior adviser to the Joe Biden 2020 Democratic presidential campaign, made a stop at Claflin University on Jan. 15 on a statewide “South Carolina Soul of the Nation” bus tour.

Sanders was greeted by a sizable crowd on Panther Plaza as she rallied the HBCU students with a call to action. She is no stranger to Claflin, having visited several times in 2019. She refers to the university as her “home away from home.”

“This election matters! And it is truly up to you all to ensure the change you wish to see comes to pass,” she said.

Sanders, who was a key figure in the 2016 presidential campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders but is now with Biden, said it is imperative that young adults vote. 

“There is not a more powerful person in America than a young person with the ability to vote. There is not more powerful people here in South Carolina than HBCU students like people at Claflin and S.C. State, so it is imperative that all of you use your power and vote,” Sanders said. “This is our moment!” 

“Be the change you want to see in the world,” Sanders said.

Biden understands how powerful young African Americans are, Sanders said. He is the best candidate to beat President Donald Trump.

“It was two things that he said to me ... that moved me to want to come out and run his campaign and work with him first. He talked about abuse of power. What we are seeing from Donald Trump and everybody in the administration is an abuse of power,” Sanders said.

The political strategist and former CNN commentator was accompanied by a team of Biden Works for South Carolina volunteers and introduced by both Claflin and South Carolina State students including Matthew Coverson-Springs, Claflin SGA president; Terin Tyson, Claflin’s NAACP president; Julie Sainyo, South Carolina State SGA president; and out-of-state guests from Georgia and Louisiana.

“It’s our time,” Coverson-Springs said. “We have to take the initiative to hear what the Biden (campaign) has to say.”

A key talking point of the hour was a $70 million pledge former Vice President Biden made to HBCUs as a part of his HBCU Students for Biden initiative, for which a Claflin student will serve as one of three student co-chairs.

“As far as I know, no other presidential candidate has made a financial promise to HBCUs like this,” said Carla Gonzalez, a junior biology major. “This has definitely prompted me to further research which candidate is right for me.”

William Fairfax, a Claflin student who ran for Orangeburg City Council in 2019 and has been working with Biden’s team, said, “Vice President Biden has made the largest commitment to HBCUs across the country. $70 billion is what he wants to invest into HBCUs if he is elected president of the United States. He is ready and he is the only person that can beat Donald Trump."

Mia Paige, SGA president at Spellman College in attendance with Sanders, chimed in about why she believes students should support Biden. 

“Joe Biden, out of all the candidates that are running, promises to make history and keep these colleges running. Like many HBCUs like Claflin and Spellman college, we need people in the office who can support us. Not only does he want to give $70 billion to HBCUs, he also wants to increase the Pell Grant, which many students can benefit from. So without a doubt, I support Joe Biden,” Paige said. 

The bus tour continued on through the state to other HBCUs, such as Allen University in Columbia, and on through rural communities all the way to Charleston.

The South Carolina Democratic presidential primary is Feb. 29.

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