The Bernie Peace Keepers Are Heading To The DNC

by Andi O'Rourke

Make no mistake about it, this summer is shaping up to be one of the most politically dynamic since the heady days of 1968. With that in mind, one group of volunteers has stepped up to help make sure that the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia goes smoothly. So just who are the Bernie Peace Keepers, and why are they going to be on the streets at the DNC? It's a volunteer group coordinated by Pennsylvania resident and Bernie Sanders supporter Susan Britton Seyler. According to her LinkedIn page, Seyler is a retired designer and real estate professional from Wayne, Pennsylvania, who is now volunteering full-time with the group.

According to an email sent out to new volunteers who are planning to join the effort when they get to Philadelphia, the Peace Keepers' mission is to connect attendees at the convention with three main things: a "peaceful message," a meeting place, and like-minded individuals. The group also says that it will be engaging in the practical tasks necessary to make sure everyone is happy and cared for, like picking up trash, providing information, and helping distribute food and water.


The group will be partnering with Arch Street United Methodist Church for the week, and the church will be serving as a home base for the group's efforts, as well as the site of training sessions, like a Martin Luther King Jr.-inspired Freedom School, "Know Your Rights" meetings, and morning meditation.

Given the tenor of this election cycle so far, it's great to see people coming together for a common, peaceful goal. While earlier actions this year, like the Democracy Spring movement in Washington, D.C., resulted in mass arrests for civil disobedience, educating people about how to exercise their First Amendment right to assemble in a calm and collected fashion is an important service that the Bernie Peace Keepers are offering. But even the little things — like having a quiet space with food and water for marchers — will hopefully go a long way toward making sure that things on the ground stay as relaxed as possible.

As it stands, any assistance from attendees could help keep tensions down and promote peaceful action. Hopefully, the Bernie Peace Keepers won't have a lot to do in Philadelphia. But at the very least, it is good to know that they'll be trying to keep things civilized.