An Open Letter From SUNY Purchase Students To Hillary Clinton
Politics and Activism

An Open Letter From SUNY Purchase Students To Hillary Clinton

We are here, we are listening, now let's talk.

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Dear Secretary Clinton,

I want to start off by saying thank you for taking the time to visit our campus on Thurs., March 31. I would also like to personally thank you for being the only speaker that afternoon to say my college's name, SUNY Purchase. As students, a good number of my peers and I were concerned when we saw that the rally was entitled, "Westchester Organizing Event" on your website. We thought that you were only using our space to address the richer donors around Westchester County. We're glad you were gracious enough to mention us in your speech.

That being said, something happened during your rally that got to me. About five minutes into your speech, a group of students raised their voices in unison, saying, "She wins, we lose," and orchestrated a peaceful walkout. That is not what got to me; although I did not participate, I do support and respect those who did. You, however, did not. You mocked them, you referred to them as "Bernie people" and you turned their peaceful display of protest into an attack on not just Bernie Sanders' proposals (which, as a presidential candidate, you are perfectly entitled to do), but on Bernie Sanders' supporters as well.

Madam Secretary, I am one of those "Bernie people." I support Bernie Sanders, but unlike my friends who were a part of the walkout, I came to your rally with no intention to leave. I believe the American political process is about respectful and open-minded discourse among the American people, no matter what party you support.

I listened to what you had to say, and there were a lot of things that I agreed with you on, including your points on women's rights, immigrants' rights and equal pay in the workforce. I have listened to many great, intelligent people who support you and have heard their many thoughtful points, including from one of our very own writers, Lawton Bryce Shipman. When it comes down to it, we are, I believe, on the same side.

But I have also listened to many other people who don't trust you, who don't think you are honest. I know you are sick and tired of hearing this, but there are a lot of gray areas concerning your work in an office that many people want you to clarify. I personally support Bernie Sanders because I believe he is the not just the most honest candidate, but also one of the most honest politicians I can think of. Honesty and trust are very important to me as a voter, and I know he respects that.

I remember at one point during your speech, you said, "I just wish that there were an opportunity to actually talk and listen to each other because we've got to unite when this primary contest is over."

I am writing this because I agree with that statement. I, as a supporter of Senator Sanders' campaign, would love to open a dialogue with you about how you and Sanders differ. In truth, I was hoping I would get the chance after your rally to ask you a question or two, but you left. That's OK because this was a rally, not a town hall. But I would like to take the time now to ask you these questions, which some of my peers and I have collected and conveniently listed below. We have listened to you, and we have heard what you had to say. If you please, we would like the same courtesy.

"We're sure you're aware of the numerous systemic flaws that have obstructed facile voting in the Massachusetts primaries. There are reports that this is even happening now in New York. Some have gone so far as to attribute these imperfections to your campaign, as they gave you the edge in an otherwise close race with Senator Sanders. The question is this — do you plan to rectify these voting issues, or will you allow a broken system to benefit your campaign?" - Zack Brida, SUNY Purchase student.

"What is your stance, or what plans do you have, for getting people with physical and mental disabilities the help they need to get medications and other medical needs paid for?" - David Weber, SUNY Purchase student.

What exactly did you mean about Bernie Sanders' "tone?" And if you're that concerned about it, what will your strategy be against Donald Trump, if you are lucky enough to move on to the general election? - Rosie Smith and Ian Humphreys, SUNY Purchase students.

When you came to Purchase, you and your campaign team gave orange stickers to the majority of the students and forced them to stand in the front, away from the camera's view. You said that you were looking to get the youth vote, but how can you get that when you treat us like this? - David Weber, SUNY Purchase student.

How do you plan on fixing America's public health crisis and opioid epidemic when you are taking campaign donations from pharmaceutical companies? Is your relationship with major pharmaceutical companies and your resistance to fully medicalizing and decriminalising marijuana (and only dropping it down to a Schedule Two drug, "a deadly, dangerous drug with medical use") a mere coincidence, considering medical marijuana is a massive threat to the drug industry? - Katie McCurdy, SUNY Purchase student.

Do you stand by your comments made on Chuck Todd's show, "Meet The Press" on Sunday, April 3, where you said that you "feel sorry sometimes for the young people who believe" what you call Bernie Sanders' "lies," and that we "don't do [our] own research" when it comes to your record? What do you say to a young voter like myself, who has spent more than the requisite time researching the records of all the candidates and who has decided to support Bernie Sanders through an informed decision that came as a result of that research? - Kuvonn Richardson, SUNY Purchase student.

As a Trinidadian-American voter, I have spent the last several months listening to the mainstream media push the narrative that I, a black man, automatically support you and your campaign. For the record, I and the overwhelming majority of voters that share my heritage and of West Indian-American voters, in general, do not support you. What do you say to the widespread claims that you have the "black vote" locked up in every state, and that black voters "fall in line" behind you? - Kuvonn Richardson, SUNY Purchase student.

Have you seen the viral video "Hillary Clinton Lying for 13 Minutes Straight?" How do you explain the fact you have repeatedly contradicted yourself and changed your stance on big issues to side with popular opinion? What about the video made by Anonymous detailing the many times during your career you have been associated with fraud and other illegal and unethical practices? - Rosie Alston-Follansbee, SUNY Purchase student.

Why won't you release the transcripts of your Goldman Sachs speeches? Derek Sherry, SUNY Purchase student.

We want you to know that we are here, we are doing our research and we are listening. We look forward to hearing your response.

Sincerely,

Derek Sherry, and various students at Purchase College, State University of New York

P.S: You can find my petition to get Bernie Sanders to come to Purchase College here. I would sincerely appreciate it if you would sign it!

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