Civil rights activist and prominent African-American academic Cornel West officially endorsed independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders' Democratic presidential campaign.
After speaking glowingly of the candidate ("I love brother Bernie") in recent months, West put rumors to rest and officially expressed his support for the self-described democratic socialist over social media last night:
The endorsement comes weeks after activists affiliated with the Black Lives Matters movement disrupted a planned Sanders speech in Seattle and days after Sanders agreed to meet with prominent Black Lives Matters activists, some of whom gave Sanders the highest ratings in an inaugural report card of presidential candidates' records on police violence.
West, a vocal critic of President Obama, whom he voted for both in 2008 and 2012, made clear that his endorsement of Sanders did not serve as a free pass from criticism:
My endorsement of Brother Bernie in the primaries is not an affirmation of the neo-liberal Democratic Party or a downplaying of the immorality of the ugly Israeli occupation of Palestinians. I do so because he is a long-distance runner with integrity in the struggle for justice for over 50 years. Now is the time for his prophetic voice to be heard across our crisis-ridden country, even as we push him with integrity toward a more comprehensive vision of freedom for all.
West, who has previously made clear that he is "not a Hillary Clinton fan at all,” directed his fire at another Sanders rival -- Republican frontrunner Donald Trump -- in his Facebook endorsement, titled, "Why I Endorse Brother Bernie and Reject Brother Trump":
Brother Bernie and Brother Trump are authentic human beings in stark contrast to their donor-driven opponents. Yet only Bernie has authenticity and integrity, whereas Trump is for real but not for right. Trump's attacks on precious Mexican brothers and sisters are unconscionable -- even as his blessed mother was born in Scotland and grandfather (Mr. Drumpf) was born in Germany. His kind of nativistic hostility could have excluded them. And Trump's unpatriotic complicity with the plutocratic corruption of our political system for over 30 years calls into question his integrity, including his commitment to "make America great again."