As many of you know, I was a pledged delegate to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia this year supporting Sec. Hillary Clinton. If you watched the roll call vote, you might have even seen me on TV:
But the DNC was no laughing matter. It was a four-day effort to re-educate America about the decades of work done by Hillary Clinton to make our country and the world a better place. It was an unfortunate necessity thanks to many years of vilification by Republicans who, judging by the rhetoric coming from the “Bernie or Bust” folks, accomplished their goals with perfection and precision.
And they killed it. Each night had a multitude of themes, showing the career of this amazing woman through videos and, most importantly, testimonials from a plethora of amazing speakers. I spoke with a reporter from the Texas Tribune who has also covered the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. He told me about the stark contrast between the two events. While the DNC was a study in stagecraft and organizational finesse, the RNC was, to be blunt, a clusterf*ck. Things were never on time and often not announced until the last minute. There was no coherent message and disorganization was clear and rampant. The DNC, on the other hand, was well-run with targeted messages and speeches that helped shape a well-defined narrative.
I want to highlight some of the more powerful speeches that I was there to see to make sure you all see them, as well. Some will be the heavy-hitters like Michelle and Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and Bill Clinton. And some will be from people who aren’t celebrities but whose lives have been powerfully impacted through the change-making of Hillary Clinton. Many of them are by change-makers themselves.
The most impactful moment of the entire convention for me was when the “Mothers of the Movement” women spoke about the deaths of their sons and daughters at the hands of law enforcement officers and Sec. Clinton’s advocacy for them and the Black Lives Matter movement as a whole. Sandra Bland’s mother, in particular, was incredible. This video starts out with a video short that was played prior to speeches by Gwen Carr, Mother of Eric Garner; Sybrina Fulton, Mother of Trayvon Martin; Maria Hamilton, Mother of Dontré Hamilton; Lucia McBath, Mother of Jordan Davis; Lezley McSpadden, Mother of Michael Brown; Cleopatra Pendleton-Cowley, Mother of Hadiya Pendleton; and Geneva Reed-Veal, Mother of Sandra Bland.
The second most powerful and emotional speech for me was the one given by Christine Leinonen, the mother of a young gay man murdered in the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando, Florida:
Another incredible moment was when the young daughter of an undocumented immigrant wowed the convention attendees with her bravery, poise, and wisdom. Here is video short that set the stage for the speech by Karla Ortiz and her mother Francisca (and, yes, that’s the Michigan delegation featuring Ann Arbor Democratic Party Chair Mike Henry, Washtenaw County Democratic Party Vice Chair Hedieh Briggs, and Michigan Democratic Party LGBT and Allies Caucus Chair Mark LaChey [wearing the hat sitting behind Hedieh and Mike] that you see in the placeholder image in the second video):
History was made when Sarah McBride, a self-described “proud transgender American” took the stage at the national convention of a major political party. Ms. McBride was introduced by Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, an openly-gay man:
The Flint Water Crisis took center stage with a compelling video short followed by a speech from Flint Mayor Karen Weaver:
I’ll have more videos in separate posts over the next couple of days.