The two men, who both hail from Brooklyn and share a strong admiration for the borough, met for the first time in New York this week. The high-profile director and Sanders supporter spoke with the Democratic presidential hopeful for an interview published by The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday.
Lee, who announced his endorsement of Sanders in February, questioned the candidate in a candid interview on a number of topics including gun violence, black voters and “entertainer” Donald Trump. He also asked Sanders outright what Black Lives Matter means to him.
“What it means is that we are all sick and tired of seeing unarmed people shot by police officers,” Sanders said. “That young people in African-American communities are harassed by police officers, where police departments are not there to be supportive but are in many cases oppressive, and that’s an issue that has to be addressed.”
The Hollywood Reporter
Sanders discussed with Lee his struggle to attract older black voters.
Black Lives Matter has galvanized a nationwide movement that has fought relentlessly to raise awareness around all of the issues Sanders mentioned, and more. While some millennial members of the movement support Sanders’ bid for the presidency, the Vermont senator is still struggling to build momentum among older black voters who, so far, are more keen to vote for his opponent Hillary Clinton.
Sanders spoke openly with Lee about this challenge and admitted he is “getting killed, frankly, not just with older African-Americans but also older whites, older Latinos.”
“It’s the weirdest thing in the world,” Sanders said. “And what really bothers me is I spent half my life in Congress helping to lead the effort for senior citizens… so we have a lot of work to do in terms of reaching out to seniors, not just African-Americans, but seniors all across the board. We’re figuring out how you get the message out there.”
Sanders recently scored a big win in Wisconsin on Tuesday and continues to strategize how to defeat Clinton. Across the board, Trump continues to rise in his run to become the Republican nominee — despite the racist and xenophobic hate speech he constantly spews. When it comes to Trump, both Lee and Sanders agree that he is the “Frankenstein that the GOP has created.”
“There’s no question,” Sanders said. “The establishment Republicans are going nuts. And this could lead to a real dissolution of the Republican Party as we know it.”