By EMILY HOLLINGSWORTH
Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders made a day-long trip to Virginia on Monday, first appearing at Liberty University to speak at the school’s convocation, then at a rally in Manassas that evening to speak to approximately 2,000 people, 51 of which were University of Mary Washington students.
The rally, which took place at the Prince William County Fairgrounds in Manassas, saw Sanders address issues such as law enforcement and race.
Particularly, the lack of racial diversity of police forces and the disproportionate number of African-Americans who died or were killed in custody, mentioning Sandra Bland, who died in police custody and Michael Brown, who was shot and killed by a white police officer.
Sanders also spoke about student debt and gender inequality in the workplace, topics that resonated with senior religion major Molly Willis.
“I am a woman, and about to be a college graduate,” Willis said, “so for him to directly address student debt and the unequal pay of women meant a lot to me.”
Called the “College for All Act,” which was introduced in May, Sanders would grant free tuition to all public colleges and universities in the United States by levying taxes on Wall Street financial transactions.
Similarly, Sanders addressed his work with the “Paycheck Fairness Act,” a bill he cosponsored in 2013, that would revise enforcement and exceptions to existing prohibitions against sex discrimination in work wages. The bill was not enacted, though a later version of the bill was assigned to a congressional committee in March for consideration. For students who want to know more about Sanders and get involved in the 2016 election, Willis tells students the computer is a good place to start.
“I would encourage UMW students to get educated by using all of the online tools at their disposal. His websites, his campaign speeches. Register to vote, offer to volunteer, donate,” Willis said. “The UMW student body is an intelligent and proactive one. We have a voice that is unique.”