Civil rights activist and prolific scholar Cornel West has endorsed Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders for president.
"I endorse Brother @BernieSanders because he is a long-distance runner with integrity in the struggle for justice for over 50 years," West tweeted Monday night, according to the New York Times.
"Now is the time for his prophetic voice to be heard across our crisis-ridden country. #BernieSanders," he added, in another tweet a few minutes later.
The endorsement from West, a Union Theological Seminary professor, is hugely important to Sanders at a time when many black voters and activists have been hesitant to endorse him.
The independent Vermont senator, running as a Democrat, has climbed in the polls lately and is proving to be a tough challenge for the former front runner Hillary Rodham Clinton.
West, a friend of the Black Lives Matter movement, has been a fan of Sanders for a while now and has never supported Hillary Clinton, according to CNN.
The Black Lives Matters movement has created a huge obstacle for Sanders by saying that the socialist senator does not adequately support the cause of black equality. A few weeks ago, Black Lives Matters activists took over the microphone during a Sanders speech in Seattle.
West vocally supports the movement and has been arrested with Black Lives Matter activists during protests.
The black constituency has proved difficult for Sanders to market himself to, as Patrick Healy and Jonathan Martin of the Times note that "black voters have shown little interest" in Sanders, and that even "his own campaign advisers acknowledge that Mr. Sanders is virtually unknown to many African-Americans, an enormously important Democratic constituency," according to Salon.com.
“I love brother Bernie,” West said in June. “He tells the truth about Wall Street. He really does.”
West's endorsement could help open them up to a larger African-American constituency, however.
"Now is the time for his prophetic voice to be heard across our crisis-ridden country. #BernieSanders," West tweeted.