CA Delegates
CA Delegates

Democrats from near and far gathered in Philadelphia, PA traditionally known as the city of Brotherly Love to attend the 2016 Democratic National Convention (DNC). The Democratic Party assembled to confront cyclic issues, join forces to vote on a national agenda to support a progressive democratic platform and move the country forward by choosing a presidential nominee. With over 2,000 delegates representing states from across the nation, participating in the process to achieve a party consensus was not easy, however, it was mutually agreed that in order to prevent a Republican like Donald Trump from being in the White House, Democratic supporters who “Feel the Bern” to “I’m with Her” had to own up to a commitment bigger than themselves in order to defeat the Republican Party and win the 2016 Elections. Over the span of four days, the convention floor was ground zero for public announcements, entertainment and call to order for Delegates on a daily basis. Delegates and members of the Democratic Party represented their views with facts, statistics and personal stories constituents faced back in their home districts. The DNC reached a crescendo at the intersection of a heartfelt mother-daughter moment between Hillary and Chelsea Clinton, Secretary of State graciously accepted the nomination from the Democratic Party for the President of the United States.

If you could hear her acceptance speech over the roaring crowd, Americans witnessed history of the first woman to ever receive the Democratic Party’s endorsement. Tempered with poise, Clinton’s grin payed homage to decades of gender struggles faced by women and victories the world shall forever benefit from simply because the essence of women is to be of service. “It is with humility, determination and boundless confidence in America’s promise that I accept your nomination for President of the United States!” stated Secretary Clinton. Furthermore, Clinton opened up to voters saying, “Don’t let anyone tell you that our country is weak. We’re not. Don’t let anyone tell you we don’t have what it takes. We do. And most of all, don’t believe anyone who says, ‘I alone can fix it.’ Americans don’t say, ‘I alone fix can it.’ We say, ‘We’ll fix it together.’

Building off of the momentum of our fearless FLOTUS who kicked off the first day of the DNC with a motto, “When they go low we go high”. Insisting for Democrats not to stoop to low levels in order to reach the top.
Meanwhile, the CA delegation was bodacious in their representation. Though they had sideline seats during convention, best believe their voices amassed a precedence during the entire week of the DNC. From the podium shared views from CA elected officials were as equally strong as their constituents. Calling Democrats into formation with backing from her Congressional Black Caucus colleagues, Congresswoman Karen Bass denounced the ridiculous rage and rants of Donald Trump and urged the crowd to “take all of Donald Trump’s hateful energy and turn it into the fuel we need take back the house, take back the Senate and to make Madam Secretary—Madame President.”

Additionally, in support of the Democratic platform was Senator Isadore Hall in a reflective statement, “Breaking historical ground in so many ways in that we have for the first time a qualified woman that has been nominated as the presidential candidate in the democratic party. Two, one who holds values and morals of the democratic platform in mind as it relates to policies for working families in mainstream in the United States of America. We are so honored to stand behind her and propel her as she continues to crack the glass ceiling. When you think about the democratic platform talk about mainstream issues that I push in California like: Raise the Wage, education for all, equal pay for women, universal healthcare, comprehensive health reform, it is something that I think she is pushing nationally. This is an all-inclusive United States, we are fighting together and we are obviously stronger together”.

On behalf of their constituents, delegates and community leaders pushed social, civic, environmental, fiscal and political agendas on the convention floor to ensure the people that they represent had a say so in the Democratic process. I had a chance to speak with a few attendees from Southern California and take-in reactions of this historic experience, by asking them: “What made attending the DNC 2016 a historic moment?”

Charles Belk Los Angeles, Voter Founder and Executive Director Fitting the Description (Courtesy Photo)

“It was my first convention ever. I wasn’t going to go. Then, I woke up Monday morning saying to myself with all that I am trying to do in my nation-wide criminal justice reform, it did not make sense for me to be within driving distance and not attend. I wasn’t a Delegate but I was fortunate enough to get floor passes and interact with a lot of folks. For it to have been my first convention it was an awesome experience with Delegates. I drove from my hometown of Durham, NC. One of the things I learned since I’ve been on this crusade of advocating for basic human rights (after being falsely arrested in Beverly Hills, CA) with a piece of criminal justice reform legislation called #AutoErase which says that if you are wrongly arrested or mistaken identity it becomes the responsibility of the arresting agency to remove your arrest record automatically which is not the case in 46 states but it is signed into law in 4 states (IL, NC, CO and RI). It was great being able to be at the DNC to introduce my supporters to each other. To be at the heart of democracy at the DNC was an interesting time for me because it peaks my interest in moving this country forward. I went into the convention uncommitted to a candidate. Eric Holder helped me realize that we don’t really have a choice but to vote for Hillary Clinton. I never been overly politically involved nor impressed with any of the candidates but as time went on, I think that Secretary Clinton is well qualified to be President of the United States.”

(L-R) Dallas Fowler, District Level Delegate 37th Congressional District (Karen Bass) and Carolyn Fowler, 443rd Congressional District (Maxine Waters) - Courtesy Photo
(L-R) Dallas Fowler, District Level Delegate 37th Congressional District (Karen Bass) and Carolyn Fowler, 443rd Congressional District (Maxine Waters) – Courtesy Photo

“Blessed to have shared this historical DNC journey with my daughter Dallas as California delegates. The power of a woman presidency signals to girls that options are limitless. I have personally witnessed women leadership changing communities and creating opportunities for all. #I’mWithHer Elect Hillary Clinton!”

Barbara Perkins CA Delegate 37th Congressional District (Karen Bass) Life Coach and President of Image Builders etc.
Barbara Perkins, CA Delegate 37th Congressional District (Karen Bass)
Life Coach and President of Image Builders etc.

“One very important significance of the 2016 DNC, is the role African American Women played in what we experienced. Rev. Leah Daughtry, is the first African American women to serve as CEO of the convention twice and the fact that she served in 2008, that historical moment when an African American became the nominee for the democratic party and again in 2016 when the first women ever became the nominee of a major party, is worthy to be underscored.

The world watched as Black Women lead with brilliance, grace and excellence. Marsha Fudge, Permanent Chair, Donna Brazil, Interim Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Secretary, Minyon Moore, Senior Advisor to the nominee, and former Secretary of Labor, Alexis Herman, Deputy Parliamentarian, showed the world a brand of leadership never witnessed on a world stage such as this. The fullness of this experience as a delegate, representing a congressional district led by Congresswoman, Karen Bass, has not sunk in, but it will.”

Tyron Turner CA Delegate 43rd Congressional District (Maxine Waters) - Courtesy Photo
Tyron Turner, CA Delegate 43rd Congressional District (Maxine Waters) – Courtesy Photo

“For one, I considered this Democratic National Convention to be historic because this is the first time a woman got the major party’s nomination in the united states compared to other countries around the world we are still behind. I look at little girls today in my family now they can also hope that a woman can become president and think maybe one day I can do that also. The same for African American boys when they grow up and go to school and see a picture of an African American man against all these other presidents that we’ve had. We still have a lot of work to do to get Mrs. Clinton elected. The glass ceiling is shattered but it is still not all the way broken. It will break once we get her elected. Coming from a single parent home and a mother who raised five kids—if you can do that alone, I believe you can run a country. It’s a woman’s time to shine.”

Brent Page, CA Delegate 43rd Congressional District (Maxine Waters)
Brent Page, CA Delegate 43rd Congressional District (Maxine Waters)

“As a CA Delegate this DNC was historic because we had the opportunity to show the world how diverse our Delegation is. Our Delegation reflected the direction the nation is going and what our world truly looks like. To be able to nominate the first woman nominee of a major party is a true testament that change is on its way. The world tends to march at the sound of California’s drum. I’m just grateful to be a part of history!”

The Democratic nomination of Hillary Clinton proves even greater possibilities to be achieved on a local, state, national and global platform. To preserve the legacy of our civil rights, win back our voting rights, dismantle the criminal justice system and move the agenda of equity and equality in the Black community this election is a critical call of moral conscience and civic duty. In the confident words of our President Barack Obama, “We don’t fear the future—we shape it”.

IG/FB: @MaleenaLawrence