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Paint the Bern: feel the Bern …man puts Sanders on his roof

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English teacher Daren Wilkerson sits on the Bernie Sanders logo that he has painted across his roof, at his home in Castro Valley, California


2 year old and can barely speak a full sentence…asked about the Sanders message, screams his mantra for billionaires “Enough is enough! You can’t have it all!

3 year old sister asked “What do we do to Donald Trump?”  screamed, “Take him to the dump!”

Their father, Daren Wilkerson, a resident of Castro Valley in northern California, has trained his daughters to preach Sanders’ message on cue – and this week, he’s using more than just his adorable daughters to drum up support for the Vermont senator. The 39-year-old super Sanders supporter has painted a giant blue Bernie logo on top of his house’s roof – an eye-catching sign in this left-leaning Bay Area suburb.

Photo: Gabrielle Lurie for the Guardian
Daren Wilkerson, 39. Daughter Marlo Wilkerson, aged 21 months, already fluent in Sanders ‘Speak’.

“I wanted a bold statement that says I’m voting for Bernie,” the high school English teacher said while standing below his 4ft-by-20ft rooftop painting, wearing pins that said “Bern Nerd” and “Bernie speaks for ME”. He added: “This is not an election where you go quietly to the polls and vote … We’ve gotta get ahead.” Photo: digitaljournal
Bernie Sanders addressing a crowd of 10,000. Madison, Wisconsin

Wilkerson is one of a growing number of Sanders supporters using large, colorful works of art and other creative forms of expression to encourage voters to “feel the Bern”. After watching a Sanders speech on YouTube last summer, Wilkerson said he felt more passionate about Sanders  than he has about any politician in his life.

“I just started crying,” “I thought that if I sat back and gave him my vote and didn’t do anything else for him, I couldn’t sleep at night. I knew I had to put my whole weight behind this man.”

His wife Sarah, a 32-year-old speech-language pathologist, said she was initially shocked – but pleased – when she drove home last week and saw the huge Bernie letters on her roof.
“He’s a politician who actually tells the truth,” she said. “I just hope the neighbors don’t hate us.”
After seeing the roof and the news coverage, some neighbors and friends have said they want to learn more about Sanders, Daren said. At least one neighbor has, however, made clear to him that he’s voting for Trump.
“I didn’t do this to impress the neighbors. I did this to send a message as far and wide as I possibly could,” he added.

Sanders fans are increasingly using big murals and other original art projects to raise the candidate’s profile as the campaign continues and as Sanders closes in on Clinton, long considered the front runner.
“It’s growing every week,” said Ken Harman, a San Francisco art gallery owner said the recent boom in Sanders fan art resembles the momentum that built around Obama within various art scenes.

“Bernie is definitely appealing to a younger vote than Hillary, and when you get into the younger vote, you have more street artists involved,” said Haran, a 33-year-old Oakland resident. “For Bernie, it’s free advertising, which is nice … and it’s very organic. It’s not an advertising agency with a mission trying to come up with a statement that will capture a certain voter. It’s an individual who is actually inspired making something very true from the heart.”

In downtown Denver, street artist Gamma Acosta recently painted a 50ft-long Bernie mural featuring the 74-year-old’s face and the words “We the People”.
“It sets an example for the younger generation who is more into street art and murals that you have to speak up and that voting is important,” said the Denver resident, who goes by the artist name Gamma Gallery. He said he has followed Sanders for years and wanted to find a splashy opportunity to raise his profile in the swing state.
“A mural was my way to help him get a little bit of exposure, but now he’s getting plenty,” he said.

“Sanders is pure like a jedi in Star Wars.” “He hasn’t pandered to special interests … He has had the same political philosophy since he started 30 years ago.”

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