Members of UCSB-4-Bernie, a student group supporting Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders as he seeks the Democratic presidential nomination, is hosting “Chalk-the-Block” Thursday at 4 p.m. to imprint Isla Vista with images and words promoting Sanders’ campaign.
The goal of the event is to cover I.V. streets and sidewalks with slogans and pictures of Sanders to bring attention to his campaign. As of Oct. 27, the event’s Facebook page shows 243 people plan to attend. UCSB-4-Bernie strategically planned the event two days before Halloween to take advantage of the large crowds over the holiday weekend and maximize views of the chalk.
Third-year religious studies major Eric Daniel Villalobos said he helped plan the event and UCSB students who support Sanders plan to chalk phrases and questions relevant to Sanders’ campaign, such as, “Are the banks too big?”
“We’re going to be chalking — along with pictures and slogans — questions like, ‘Is education a right or only for a privileged few?’” Villalobos said. “Hopefully, all the people walking through I.V. during the weekend will stop and notice.”
According to Villalobos, the aim of the event is to build support for Sanders at UCSB and in I.V. and to encourage young people to engage in politics.
“We want [to] build on the energy we see here for Bernie’s message and campaign,” Villalobos said. “We want all the supporters here to get energized, to get involved and be active participants in the political process.”
Villalobos said all students are welcome to participate in the event.
“All they have to do is show up,” Villalobos said. “In terms of the event, if they want to bring their own chalk, they’re more than welcome to.”
Villalobos also said he believes college students are supportive of Sanders because of his stance on topics like college tuition and various social issues.
“Fighting for free public education doesn’t hurt your standing with college students,” Villalobos said. “He seems to have always been on the right side of history. He got arrested for holding anti-segregation rallies, he marched with MLK, he endorsed marriage equality decades before it became politically expedient to do so.”
First-year communication major Nicole Truong said the event allows people to get to know other individuals who share their beliefs and ideas.
“I’m looking forward to seeing people at the event who share the same views as me, and I’m interested in meeting new people and hearing their thoughts and opinions,” Truong said in an email.
Second-year communication and economics double major Cynthia Jiang said the event is a good opportunity learn from fellow Sanders supporters.
“I’m looking forward to meeting fellow Bernie supporters and getting new perspectives from others on issues that surround the presidential election,” Jiang said.
Jiang said she hopes participants and community members who see the chalk will recognize student’s grassroots efforts.
“What really stuck out to me about Bernie’s campaign and what I hope people will learn about the most is that you can always make a change if you’re dedicated enough to your cause,” Jiang said.
First-year sociology major Logan Clement said the public should better understand Bernie Sanders’ stance of “democratic socialism,” which is defined as a specific type of socialism which supports public ownership of the production of goods paired with a democratic political system.
“I like that [Sanders] is pushing for affordable health care and education. I also wish more people understood what Sanders means by ‘democratic socialism’ rather than using that language to disengage from his message,” Clement said in an email. “He’s also one of the most outspoken advocates of racial justice.”