Cecili Antares is an illustrator/graphic designer with a strong passion for progressive politics. She was extremely involved in the Bernie Sanders campaign and was elected as a pledged Bernie Delegate for Congressional District 05. She is dedicated to continuing the Bernie Sanders platform at the local level and is a head organizer for Progressives of Santa Rosa. She has been involved in a number of community efforts including environmental clean up projects and advocacy for women’s health/cancer treatment. She is a North Bay native and loves the enjoy the beautiful scenery of our golden state. She is also passionate about reading, cats, and the natural sciences!
by Cecili Antares
As a young woman (I suppose I would still be considered a millennial) I feel the weight of the economic and systemic issues that we face as a nation, and the need for positive change. I have always been involved in my local community in one form or another, from environmental clean up efforts to advocacy for women’s health issues and cancer patients. (Ecothon through Montessori, coastal clean-ups, Women’s Cancer Awareness Group, Relay for Life, DAAC. Ask me for others.)
As soon as Bernie Sanders announced his presidential candidacy, I was drawn to his platform. I have always felt that our nation’s wealthiest, and its biggest corporations, had too much involvement in government policy. Here was a candidate who was finally speaking out about it. His urgency on climate change and economic inequality greatly reflected my own concerns.
I first became involved with the Sanders campaign in January of 2016 through Bernie Light Brigade North Bay, working alongside Occupy activist Maggi Munat. From there on I volunteered with Santa Rosa Junior College for Bernie and Bay Area for Bernie, eventually becoming an organizer for the Santa Rosa Bernie Campaign Headquarters.
My involvement in these groups and in the campaign introduced me to a great number of people who were not only selfless, genuine, and focused on progressive solutions, but were extremely dedicated. I saw my concerns reflected by them, and understood that the issues we were facing were crucial.
In April 2016, I decided to run (and was elected) as a California Delegate in my Congressional District (05) to pledge my vote for Bernie at the Democratic Convention.(***) I knew that as a supporter, I could influence the Democratic Platform, in hopes that our strong progressive voices would shift the platform further to the left and give Bernie a better chance at a nomination.
The Sanders campaign has certainly undergone a number of transitions in the past few months, the most notably being Bernie’s endorsement of Hillary. The maneuver came as not entirely surprising to some people (certainly mainstream media had been trying to push it for months) but it was still extremely disappointing to many of his supporters.
Although I definitely shared in that disappointment, I understand that this was a maneuver Bernie had to make considering his situation. With his endorsement, Bernie secured a top speaking spot at the Democratic Convention as well the likelihood of a ‘roll call vote’ where the delegates and votes that were awarded to Bernie are counted and announced during the convention.
If Bernie had stuck to his guns and continued to fight Hillary and the Democratic Party, doubtless he would be stonewalled out of the convention, his delegates not counted, and his platform issues completely unincorporated in into the Democratic Platform. It is extremely important to note that although he endorsed Hillary, he did not concede.
Bernie has an impressive 1900 delegates involved in the convention, and the campaign has greatly stressed that all attend in force.
As a delegate and organizer with the campaign I have also understood the great need to continue the incredible energy that Bernie’s campaign has sparked at the local level.
In concert with other organizers I’ve worked to create the framework for new progressive groups around the Bay Area, focused on activating Bernie’s platform of combating income inequality, fighting climate change, corruption in politics and corruption of the voting process, and providing better access to health care and education.
We are also extremely motivated in getting bold progressive candidates who are focused on these issues into local, state, and eventually national political office. Bernie has created a whole new generation of voters who are motivated and engaged in politics, and it is extremely important at this time to plug them into organizing outlets where they can work towards creating real change. Bernie expressed the need for this in one of his speeches:
“We must continue our grassroots efforts to create the America that we know we can become. We need to start engaging at the local and state level in an unprecedented way. Hundreds of thousands of volunteers helped us make political history during the last year… Now we need many of them to start running for school boards, city councils, county commissions, state legislatures, and governorships. State and local governments make enormously important decisions and we cannot allow right-wing Republicans to increasingly control them”. http://www.bustle.com/articles/167512-this-one-bernie-sanders-quote-from-his-speech-should-empower-his-supporters
These progressive organizing groups are continuing across California, including my own Sonoma County group, Progressives of Santa Rosa (link: https://www.facebook.com/Progressives-of-Santa-Rosa-CA-1671041769792976/?fref=ts). Groups in Marin County with Marin4Bernie (link: https://www.facebook.com/Marin4Bernie/) and in Mendocino County with Progressive Alliance Center have been very active as well.