African American Leaders in Vermont: We Are All So Proud of Bernie Sanders

Patrick Brown, executive director of the Greater Burlington Multicultural Resource Center, has this to say about Bernie Sanders: "We are all so proud of him."
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Patrick Brown, executive director of the Greater Burlington Multicultural Resource Center, has this to say about Bernie Sanders: "We are all so proud of him."

Brown has been organizing Martin Luther King, Jr. Day events since the early 90s; speakers have included Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Anita Hill, and the Rev. Al Sharpton. According to Brown, Sanders is a regular participant, introduced Anita Hill when she spoke, and received an award from Rev. Sharpton.

Brown also said:

I am surprised he has not tapped into me as an African American person to speak about his record here. This is an area he could capitalize more on.

That Sanders hasn't is perhaps due to his distaste for quid-pro-quo politicking - as shown by his refusal to take massive corporate donations.

Oddly enough, Brown's words appear in a recent piece attacking Sanders, that said Vermont's black leaders found they were invisible to him. The premise is strikingly at odds with Bown's account - which, ironically, is buried more than 650 words into the piece. Before his words in praise of Sanders appear, however, three other individuals critical of Sanders are quoted. While Brown's active status as a black leader in Vermont is inarguable, the others aren't so clear; they include a lawyer for an international finance and aerospace corporation; the founder of an organization that Bizapedia lists as 'inactive'; and the executive director of an organization based 150 miles from Burlington, who seems also to be its lone member. Which is not to say that they are not leaders; but it is an extremely odd choice to present their views as the only relevant ones, especially since Brown, who clearly has a long history with Sanders, could speak from extensive experience about Sanders' relationship with the African American community in Vermont.

It gets weirder, though. The 'inactive' organization, the African American Alliance of the Northeast Kingdom, appears in one other website apart from the Bizapedia listing: across the top of a page on a libertarian website, whose sole content is a link to a rough paraphrase of the original article. The paraphrase, titled "Black Leaders Skewer Sanders: He's Neglected Us", does not include Brown's praise for Sanders. The name of the inactive organization is extremely prominent; the name of the libertarian website it appears on it is far smaller, and is easily missed (see image).


Screenshot of libertarian website; posing as African American site?

It is hard to imagine why you would format a page that way; at first glance, it seems to be a page for the inactive organization. That could be the intent, however. If you do a search for the organization, the libertarian site is the top result, with the defunct organization's name appearing as the link - exactly as if it were the website for the organization (see image below). If you were doing a quick fact-check, you'd find the libertarian site, and no others; and, if you looked quickly, you could easily mistake that page for the defunct organization's website, and consider the story confirmed.

Screenshot of search result with African American organization appearing as name of link to libertarian website

Then again, maybe it's all just poor formatting, that coincidentally supports a blatantly false narrative about a Presidential candidate's relationship with the black community in his home state, right before the first predominately African American primary takes place.

Patrick Brown wondered why Sanders has not tapped into him to speak about his record in Vermont. That's not Sanders' way, apparently. Maybe someone else should tap Brown for him.

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