By Gloria Dulan-Wilson

Hello All:

All I can say about the Democratic National Convention is:  WHAT A FANTASTIC PARTY THIS IS!!!  The Democrats have it over the Repulycons hands down!  Contrast the Democratic National Convention to the Republicans National Convention.  What a breath of fresh air - literally!  

Hillary Clinton not only knocked it out of the park with her acceptance speech, but over the moon and back!!

But, before I  go any further, I truly want to give credit where credit is due, and that is to Sister Rev. LEAH DAUGHTRY!!  The sister outdid herself - she managed the Denver Dem Convention beautifully - but she totally launched the  Philadelphia  event into orbit.  With all the coordination it took to bring it down to the culmination of President to Be Hillary Clinton's acceptance speech last night (and I have not been to sleep yet; and have absolutely no vocal chords left); the euphoria of the experience in Philadelphia will be remembered for years to come. 

Secondly, Philadelphia and Philadelphians must be congratulated.  They rolled out the red carpet all over the place - there were over 300 events going on throughout the city - many of course running concurrently - showcasing the beauty, historicity, and friendliness of the city - which lived up to it's motto:  "The City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection!"  And within that, you definitely have to thank former Philadelphia Mayor, Michael N. Nutter for winning the bid to have the convention in Philly, and Mayor Jim Kinney for making sure things went forward as planned. Lots of proud to go around.

Even with the hiccups  - and there were several - this has to be deemed an overwhelming, monumental success.  And those who watched it on TV and online, could not even begin to understand how fantastic it felt to actually be a part of this truly history making, monumental event.  For me - this is my fourth Democratic National Convention Coverage - it almost ties for first place with being in Denver, Colorado for the nomination of the first Black man to become President of the United States - President Barack Obama. I feel as if I'm in a privileged space to be here covering the nomination of the first woman for the office of President, Hillary Rodham Clinton. 

As I watched the balloons come streaming down from the ceiling of the Wells Fargo Arena, and looked around at the thousands of people all chanting "HILLARY! HILLARY!"  I could not help but compare it to the sinister scenes from the previous week, and be quite happy that I'M WITH HER.

For most people the Democratic National Convention is a lot of ballyhoo - people getting together for partying four days.  But for those of us in the media this is day 230 - primarily because we started planning for this as far back as December of 2015 - when we did the first walk through the Wells Fargo Arena in Philadelphia.  And make no mistake about it, this state of the art venue is huge and multi-layered - from the event floor where the speakers were presenting - to the nosebleed level where yours truly almost got stuck because the small independent media outlets kept getting bumped to accommodate the overwhelming number who attended night after night.  
But if we, of the media have been planning for the DNC for 226 days, then the Rev. Leah Daughtry, CEO of the Democratic National Convention, had been planning for it for well over 365 + days.  And what a fantastic job she has done in taking raw arena space and transforming it into the most amazing and opulent platform from which to showcase the many political and social entities,  producing a backdrop for the first woman to be President of the United States, HILLARY CLINTON. 
Everything, down to the minutest details has been - to the extent humanly possible - brought to bear to make this a wonderful, opulent, powerful, impactful - and unforgettable - success -  from signage, to transportation and accommodations, placards, workshops and special events -  all have been skillfully coordinated to engage the convention-goers, and simultaneously highlight the many wonderful attractions and venues in the City of Brotherly Love.

An estimated 50 thousand people came to  Philadelphia - many of whom arrived on Saturday, July 23; as well as a goodly number of the media, like yours truly, to be a part of this historic occasion.  We came together  to put the threat of fascism and tyranny represented by the repuglycon party and their orange faced comb-over ersatz presidential candidate - D. T-Rump - on notice - this is an America -  of, by, and for the People - real people - human, humane, diverse and unified, regardless of their walk of life, around the principles of quality equality, peace, progress, prosperity - and the end of bigotry and brutality.

These are some of the excerpts from some of the key speakers at the Democratic National Convention. There were hundreds of speakers who addressed the Delegates over the four-day convention, which started each day at 4:30 and culminated around 11:30 PM. Averaging 30 + speakers a day, trying to quote each of them is exhaustive.
Each had something relevant and important to relate, some in support of Hillary Clinton, others highlighting issues of relevance to their own situation, or that of their community or constituency. Additionally, while the speakers were addressing the delegates and their supporters at the Wells Fargo Arena, there were key workshops taking place at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, and surrounding venues; as well as receptions and recreational/entertainment activities hosted at a variety of Philadelphia places of interest – including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the African American Museum, Independence Plaza, the Kimmel Center – a total of 200 ancillary events were going on simultaneously – more than enough for the over 50,000 conventioneers and locals from Philly, Camden, New York and Delaware, who also came to be part of this historic occasion. The logistics alone boggles the mind – and it took herculean energy and effort to make even one quarter of the planned events.

Day One, July 25, 2016

The demonstrators were out early, causing traffic snarls down Broad Street, the main corridor leading to the Pennsylvania Convention Center.  The closer you got to the center, the worse it got.  We were informed that it was a combination of the arrival of the delegates for the Convention, demonstrators, and regular rush hour traffic.  

This was pretty much the case throughout the first three days - things had calmed down somewhat by Thursday, when Hillary Clinton was to speak.

In addition to clearing security, finding your way around the Convention Center was a challenge - it actually spans a composite of 12 blocks - from 10th street to Broad; and from Arch Street to Race!! with bridges and overpasses connecting it to key venues such as the Marriott Downtown Hotel, SEPTA REGIONAL RAIL STATION, Reading Terminal, and other historic venues.  Even with full carpeting, it's quite a walk!! 

Concurrent workshops, displays, venues and entertainment took place at the Convention Center - quite an undertaking, when you consider that there were at least 20+ workshops running concurrently from one end of the venue to the other.

I covered the Voter Registration Workshop, which focused on such key issues as Voter ID, Voter Supression, the Supreme Court decision which eviscerated the voter rights act, and how to get out the vote and get voters to the polls.   Of key interest was the involvement of Fraternities and Sororities in the voter registration process.  Representatives from some of the Divine Nine, including   AKA, Sigma Gamma Rho, Zeta Phi Beta, Phi Beta Sigma, Alpha Phi Alpha, and Kappa Alpha Psi, already have plans in place to roll out voter registration processes, as well as to provide vans to transport voters who had mobility challenges, or were elderly, to the polls.  

Dr. Julianne Malveaux

(L-R): Pennsylvania State Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown & Me
Dr. Julianne Malveaux, Roland Martin, Vanessa Lowery Brown, and others spoke of the need to make each of the next 104 days count in aggressively urging young adults and seniors to register and vote.   One of the key measures adopted at the workshop - and one I have been advocating for decades - is to make sure that every teen who is reaching his or her 18th birthday prior to the November 8 General Election, is given a birthday card and a voter registration card at the same time.  They get their birthday gift only after they have completed the voter registration card, and it has been turned in to the Bureau of Voter Registration.  

Contrasting the Republycon National Convention, the camaraderie at the Democratic National Convention was refreshing and invigorating.  More smiles than frowns, even when things got mixed up - and they did - people were more in a mode to cooperate or overlook, than to condemn or complain.  

SEPTA provided transportation from the Convention Center to Wells Fargo Arena, with Homeland Security and the Secret Service riding shotgun upfront.  The truly interesting thing to me was how much of a national, cooperative effort this event was.  Volunteers had come from as far away as Montana;  Washington State, Louisiana, Connecticut, Florida - and they were congenial, patient, positive, helpful, cheerful.  They made you want to stay in touch. They wore color coordinated Tee Shirts that represented their level of service - from Blue for the Convention Center; Yellow for Security; Red for Transportation and mobility.  There were those wearing green for recycling and composting food that was not consumed, to ensure nothing was wasted.  
Prior to the First Lady and Bernie Sanders speaking, the focus was on immigration, and the millions of refugees who are currently either here in the United States, or seeking asylum from persecution and internal strife in their country. 

Each speaker paid tribute to Bernie Sanders for his efforts and accomplishments in running against Hillary Clinton - it was as though they were somehow trying to placate his supporters, many of whom were still looking for an 11th hour challenge to Hillary's candidacy. 

MICHELLE OBAMA: Spoke of how she and President Obama tried to instill certain values in their daughters, Malia and Sasha: “We urge them to ignore those who question their father’s citizenship or faith; we insist that the hateful language they hear from public figures on TV does not represent the true spirit of this country; when someone is cruel, or acts like a bully, you don’t stoop to their leveL-– no, our motto is, when they go low, we go high; we know our kids are watching us. Parents are their most important role models.” 


She later stated, “Barack and I, as President and First Lady, know that our words and actions matter to children across this country –-  In this election there is only one person who I trust with that responsibility, only one person who I believe is truly qualified to be President of the United States, and that is our friend, Hillary Clinton.   Her lifelong devotion to our nation’s children –- not just her own daughter, who she has raised to perfection - but every child who needs a champion.  Hillary has spent decades advocating for kids with disabilities as a young lawyer. Fighting for children’s health care as First Lady; and for quality child care in the Senate.” And when she didn’t win the nomination eight years ago, she  didn’t get angry or disillusioned;  pack up and go home. Because as a true public servant, Hillary knows that this is so much bigger than her own desires and disappointments. So she proudly stepped up to serve our country once again as Secretary of State, traveling the globe to keep our kids safe.  She never buckles under pressure.  She never takes the easy way out. And Hillary Clinton has never quit on anything in her life. The proven strength to persevere. Someone who knows this job and takes it seriously. Someone who understands that the issues a President faces are not black and white and cannot be boiled down to 140 characters.(Contrast to Trump).  Because when you have the nuclear codes at your fingertips and the military in your command, you can’t make snap decisions. You can’t have a thin skin or a tendency to lash out. (Contrast to Trump).  You need to be steady, and measured, and well informed. “

The First Lady defined the role of the President:  “It’s about leaving something better for our kids. That’s how we’ve always moved this country forward –- by all of us coming together on behalf of our children; a record of public service, whose life’s work shows our children that we don’t chase fame and fortune for ourselves, we fight to give everyone a chance to succeed; and we give back, even when we’re struggling ourselves, because we know that there is always someone worse off, and there but for the grace of God go I.”
She later added: “We are all created equal, each a beloved part of the great American story. And when crisis hits, we don’t turn against each other -– no, we listen to each other. We lean on each other. Because we are always stronger together. And I am here tonight because I know that that is the kind of president that Hillary Clinton will be. And that’s why, in this election, I’m with her.” (The audience roared with applause)
 The First Lady then spoke of the legacy of slavery, from which she and her family and most African Americans are descended, by stating: “That is the story of this country - of generations of people who felt the lash of bondage, the shame of servitude, the sting of segregation, but who kept on striving and hoping and doing what needed to be done so that today, I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves and I watch my daughters -two beautiful, intelligent, Black young women –- playing with their dogs on the White House lawn. And because of Hillary Clinton, my daughters –- and all our sons and daughters -– now take for granted that a woman can be President of the United States.  This, right now, is the greatest country on earth. 
She concluded by issuing a charge to the audience:  “So in this election, we cannot sit back and hope that everything works out for the best. We cannot afford to be tired, or frustrated, or cynical. No, hear me!!  Between now and November, we need to do what we did eight years ago and four years ago: Knock on every door.  Get out every vote. Pour every last ounce of our passion and our strength and our love for this country into electing Hillary Clinton as President of the United States of America.

BERNIE SANDERS:  After a raucus 10 minute ovation throughout the arena from his supporters, who waved their banners and shouted “Bernie! Bernie! Bernie! Bernie!” drowning out their leader,  Sanders was finally able to speak.  He thanked everybody for their support; and First Lady Michelle Obama, who had spoken prior to him, for her service to the country (some of the supporters booed).
Sanders:  “Let me begin by thanking the 13 million Americans who voted for the political revolution.  (more raucus cheering delaying the speech an additional five minutes) giving us the 1,856 pledged delegates here tonight!”
After stating that no one was more disappointed in the outcome of the primary than he, Sanders went on to state that he trusted Hillary Clinton to be the president the nation needed moving forward. “I hope you take enormous pride in the historical accomplishment we have achieved.  Together my friends, we have begun a political revolution to transform America, and that revolution, our revolution, continues! Election days come and go, but the struggle of the people to create a government which represents all of us and not just the one percent, a government based on the principles of economic, social, racial and environmental justice, that struggle continues! “
Let me be as clear as I can be. This election is not about and has never been about Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders or any of the other candidates who sought the presidency. This election is not about political gossip, it's not about polls, it's not about campaign strategy, it is not about all the things that the media spends so much time discussing. This election is about and must be about the needs of the American people and the kind of future we create for our children and our grandchildren. This election is about ending the 40-year decline of our middle class. The reality that 47 million men, women and children today live in poverty.”

Bernie Sanders at the 2016 Democratic National Convention
Sanders attempted to redirect the focus of his supporters to what really matters in the upcoming November 8 election: “If we do not transform our economy, our younger generation will likely have a lower standard of living than their parents. This election is about ending the grotesque level of income and wealth inequality in America today!  That is unacceptable. That must change. This election is about remembering where we were seven-and-a-half years ago when President Obama came into office after eight years of Republican trickle-down economics (Cheers/Applause)
The Republicans want us to forget that as a result of the greed, recklessness and illegal behavior on Wall Street our economy was in the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. That's where we were. That is where we were. Some 800,000 people a month were losing their jobs. We were running up a record- breaking deficit of $1.4 trillion. The world's financial system was on the verge of collapse. That's where we were when President Obama came into office.”
He continued after the uproar that constantly and continuously disrupted his speech: “We need leadership in this country, which will improve the lives of working families, the children, the elderly, the sick and the poor. We need leadership which brings our people together and makes us stronger. Not leadership which insults Latinos and Mexicans, insults Muslims and women, African Americans and veterans and seeks to divide us up. By these measures, any objective observer will conclude that based on her ideas and her leadership, Hillary Clinton must become the next president of the United States.
Hillary Clinton understands that if someone in this country works 40 hours a week, that person should not be living in poverty and that we must raise the minimum wage to a living wage; she is determined to create millions of new jobs by rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, our roads, bridges, water systems and wastewater plants. But Donald Trump does not support raising the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, a starvation wage. Trump believes in huge tax breaks, huge tax breaks for billionaires, he believes that states should actually have the right to lower the minimum wage below $7.25.
Brothers and sisters, this election is about overturning Citizens United! one of the worst Supreme Court decisions in the history of our country which allows the wealthiest people in America, like the billionaire Koch brothers to spend hundreds of millions of dollars buying elections and in the process undermine American democracy. Hillary Clinton will nominate justices to the Supreme Court who are prepared to overturn Citizens United and end the movement toward oligarchy that we are seeing in this country.
Her Supreme Court appointments will also defend a woman's right to choose, workers' rights, the rights of the LGBT community, the needs of African Americans (I put that in myself, folks - we are not "minorities"), minorities and immigrants and the government's ability to protect our environment.
"If you don't believe that this election is important, if you think you can sit it out, take a moment to think about the Supreme Court justices that Donald Trump would nominate and what that would mean to civil liberties, equal rights and the future of our country.
"It's about moving the United States toward universal health care and reducing the number of people who are uninsured or under-insured; all Americans have the right to choose a public option in their health care exchange anyone 55 or older should be able to opt-in to Medicare.
"And what is Donald Trump's position on health care? contempt for working families. He wants to abolish the Affordable Care Act, throw 20 million people off of health insurance,and cut Medicaid for lower-income Americans.
"Hillary Clinton also understands that millions of seniors, disabled vets and others are struggling with the outrageously high cost of prescription drugs and the fact that Americans pay the highest prices in the world for the medicine we use. She knows that Medicare must negotiate drug prices with the pharmaceutical industry. And that drug companies should not be making billions in profit when one out of five Americans are unable to afford the medicine they need. The greed of the drug companies must end!
"This election is about the leadership we need to pass comprehensive immigration reform and repair a broken criminal justice system.
"Our job now is to see that platform implemented by a Democratic Senate, a Democratic House and a Hillary Clinton presidency – and I am going to do everything I can to make that happen.
"I have known Hillary Clinton for 25 years. I remember her as a great first lady who broke precedent in terms of the role that a first lady was supposed to play as she helped lead the fight for universal health care. I served with her in the United States Senate and know her as a fierce advocate for the rights of children. Hillary Clinton will make an outstanding president and I am proud to stand with her here tonight. (A combination of jeers intermixed with cheers as he declared his support of Hillary Clinton for President).”
As we exited the Wells Fargo Arena for the shuttle buses to transport us back to the Convention Center, there were several Bernie supporters (or former Bernie Supporters) blocking the media centers with signs stating that a vote for Hillary was a vote for Trump – about 50 of them were chanting anti-Hillary Chants. Some defiantly stood on the sidelines holding up their Bernie Sanders placards as we boarded the buses.
One or two Hillary supporters tried to speak with them and say, we're working together now. There should be no division, but there appeared to be some lingering hostility among many of the supporters that evening. Happily it had pretty much dissipated by the end of the convention.

NY City Council Rep. Laurie Cumbo carrying Michelle Obama Banner

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