Earlier this week, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders named appointed a new national press secretary: 25-year-old Symone Sanders, an outspoken #BlackLivesMatter activist who is passionate about achieving economic justice. Here’s everything you need to know about the political aficionado.
1. Her Hustle Dates Back to Her Teen Years
Symone grew up involved with Girls Inc., a nonprofit that aims to instill confidence and self-esteem in young girls. At the age of 16, former president Bill Clinton was scheduled to speak at a Girls Inc. fundraiser, and Symone felt that she should introduce him. She spoke with the organization’s executive director, who gladly conceded. Her hustle paid off—after introducing him, Clinton told her that she spoke so well, he “hated to follow her.”
2. She Dreamt of Being a Judge
Symone attended Creighton University in Omaha, where she was determined to be a judge. However, once graduating, she shifted her trajectory slightly and became involved in electoral politics. In 2014, she worked on Chuck Hassebrook’s gubernatorial campaign, where she was passionate about community outreach and educating citizens on economic justice issues.
3. Her Last Job Was with Ralph Nader
Before joining Bernie Sanders’ campaign, Symone was working as a communications officer with Ralph Nader’s Public Citizen, an organization that makes sure all American citizens are represented in the government.
4. She is on the National Board of the Campaign for Juvenile Justice
The 25-year-old currently serves as National Youth Chair of the Campaign for Juvenile Justice, an organization that aims to improve the treatment of juveniles in the criminal justice system. She has been working with Bernie Sanders to create a detailed criminal justice policy proposal that will lay out steps to revamp our nation’s system.
5. She Impressed Bernie Sanders Immediately
Symone met Bernie Sanders a mere three weeks ago. During their initial meeting, the two had an hour-long conversation about how he can stay in touch with the #BlackLivesMatter movement. She told him that there was a strong link between racial inequality and economic equality, which he has since integrated into his campaign. Bernie offered Symone the job at the end of their meeting.
6. She is Involved in the #BlackLivesMatter Movement
As her first duty as Bernie Sanders’ press secretary earlier this week, she spoke at a University of Washington rally. During her speech, she named the recent victims of police brutality, delivered a tribute to Michael Brown and ended by promising that Bernie would reform the system and turn “those words into action.”