Last August, after I met with Sen. Bernie Sanders for the first time, I wrote an op-ed that concluded with something that still seems deeply relevant today: “ [Our work] is bigger than any one presidential candidate. It’s as big as all of us. Regardless of who is elected president in 2016, we all… have to hold the collective space for movement-building together. It’s the only way we move forward.”
I cannot be prouder of my early endorsement for Senator Bernie Sanders. I supported Bernie for President because I was inspired by his consistent, vocal platform for decades on economic inequality, corporate influence into our democracy, and election reform. In our conversation, I found him to be deeply thoughtful about the intersection of economic, racial, and social justice. He inspired millions of people to participate in our democracy. Issues like Medicare for All, college affordability, expanding Social Security and Medicare, and ending the prison industrial complex, have become a part of the national discourse. Bernie has helped people from all walks of life name the unfairness that hits too many Americans in their pocketbooks, daily lives, and hearts. He has pushed for policies that benefit working people across America and not the wealthiest few. Equally important, he helped people see the power we each have when we engage with our democracy and work together to change what is unjust. I give heartfelt thanks to Bernie Sanders for his incredible vision, energy, and truth-telling, and for now again helping to unify the Democratic party around a common vision.
Out of this Democratic primary process, we have done what democracy is supposed to do: engage our country in a real discussion about the most important issues facing working families across America. Together, we achieved real wins on what is now the most progressive Democratic Party platform in decades. For the first time, we have a public commitment for a $15 minimum wage, tuition-free college, breaking up of big banks, criminal justice reform, Native American rights, and a public option in healthcare. These are huge wins that simply would not have been possible without our movement. But our work will not be done until we turn those principles into law, which means winning the White House and continuing to take back our Congress.
We now have a chance to write the next chapter of the progressive movement. When I endorsed Sen. Sanders back in September, I also said that if Hillary Clinton was the Democratic nominee, I would throw my support behind her and work for her to become President.
That is why today, I am proud to announce that I am endorsing Hillary Clinton for President.
Hillary Clinton shares many of the same values that I do -- that all progressives do. She has been a longtime champion of issues that are near and dear to my heart: a woman’s right to have control over her own body, gun reform, and health care for all. She has tremendous experience in a number of roles, including as U.S. Senator and Secretary of State, and she has shattered glass ceilings again and again against a gender-biased media and society. As a proud feminist and someone who has fought my whole life for equality and justice on every level, I will proudly join forces with President Hillary Clinton to continue these battles every day on behalf of women, men, and working families here and around the world. On the issues where we differ, I will continue my track record of taking principled stands and seek to find common ground even when it appears impossible.
The threats to our country of a Donald Trump presidency cannot be understated. As an immigrant woman of color, this is personal and universal. I am horrified by the racism, xenophobia, homophobia and fear that Republican nominee Donald Trump has been drumming up. Donald Trump represents none of those values that we as progressives hold dear. Trump is a bully, pure and simple, and comes from a place of greed and selfishness. Trump ridicules women for sport and wears his bigotry as a badge of honor. Frankly, a Trump presidency scares the hell out of me. We simply cannot let Donald Trump become President or even get close to that office. We cannot let him appoint our next Supreme Court nominee, because it is clear he will have no compunction in appointing a Justice that subscribes to his hateful vision for our country—and will undermine every core principle of Democratic values. Our defeat of Trump’s candidacy must be overwhelming—or we continue to provide encouragement to the forces of hate that he has unleashed.
As a movement, I believe we must unite behind a bold, progressive agenda for the long-term. After decades of work on the outside as an activist taking on the Bush Administration for civil liberties abuses when few others were doing so, helping to establish a $15 minimum wage in Seattle, standing up for labor unions and against unfair trade agreements, I am running for Congress now because I believe people like you and me can and must work from the outside and inside to move that agenda forward.
I am deeply committed to the work ahead of us within the Democratic party, and I intend to continue the movement we have started all the way to Congress. If we can win, you can be sure that I will continue to do what I have done for the past 25 years. I will fight for justice for working families and for a democracy that responds to the voices of all of us.
In a country that has so much hopelessness and fear today, a country wracked by violence and grief, I call up the faces and the voices of those who may seem to have the least power but bring the most courage to the table, women and men that I have worked with for decades on the struggle for justice.
We owe it to ourselves and to this country—built on flawed structures but an awe-inspiring vision—to continue our work to achieve a society that offers true opportunity for every single person, regardless of class, race, gender, sexual orientation or any other factor.
I know that each person will have to decide exactly what course to take moving forward. I hope my thinking may be helpful to other Bernie supporters as you make your choice this November. Let’s join together in moving forward our values thoughtfully, with a particular commitment to a principled unity that builds for the short and the longer term.
We’re all counting on each other—this is OUR movement. Let’s keep building it together.