Bernie Sanders Draws Big Crowd at Chicago Fundraiser

Sen. Bernie Sanders continued his push for the Democratic presidential nomination Monday, addressing a packed room of supporters during a stop in Chicago.

The Vermont senator, speaking at a meet-and-greet fundraiser at the Park West theater, blasted the “billionaire class” and said he doesn’t “believe in the agenda of corporate America.”

The appearance marked Sanders’ first fundraising trip to Chicago, the hometown of his rival Hillary Clinton. Supporters lined the streets outside the theater, many wearing pins that read “Feel the Bern.”

During the event, Sanders called for three months paid maternity leave for all women, two weeks of paid vacation for U.S. workers, free public college tuition in America, and legal rights for undocumented immigrants.

Sanders said he plans to fund these efforts through a tax on Wall Street.

“When Wall Street collapsed, this country bailed them out, now it’s their time to help the middle class out,” he said.

Sanders also vowed to fight “institutional racism” and referenced the case of Sandra Bland, a Chicago-area woman who was found dead in a Texas jail cell last month after being arrested during a traffic stop.

“Her crime was she didn’t change her signal. You don’t die in this country for not signaling a turn,” Sanders said. “Nobody will fight harder to end institutional racism in this country and, equally important, reform our broken criminal justice system.”

Sanders came to Chicago after a weekend in Des Moines for the Iowa State Fair, where he drew big crowds.

The senator also visited Chicago in April, before he declared his candidacy, to endorse Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, who challenged Mayor Rahm Emanuel in a runoff election. Sanders rallied with Garcia on the South Side and also pledged his support for 10th Ward City Council candidate Susan Sadlowski Garza.

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