The 2016 Democratic National Convention was one for the ages. During that remarkable July week we witnessed the first African American give his final DNC speech as a sitting president; real-time shake-ups of DNC staff; a former POTUS give a speech for his spouse who is the candidate for office; and a host of other prominent speakers from a diverse array of backgrounds ranging from veterans, clergy, LGBT and more. It was, frankly, a stark contrast to the 2016 Republican National Convention.
My journey to the 2016 Democratic National Convention began in May 2016. I was elected by voters in California’s 43rd Congressional District on a Sunday afternoon to serve with five other Clinton delegates at the DNC in a Calif. Democratic Party-sponsored caucus.
After winning a spot in the Calif. delegation, there was an almost two-month period before the results were certified so many of the delegates had to wait patiently to find out if they made the cut. During the waiting period the Calif. Democratic Party held its convention where the elected delegates came together and voted on the at-large delegates appointed by the respective campaigns. Once the final results of the Calif. primary were announced in July there was a sense of relief for all of the delegates who made it.
The DNC is jam-packed with events from the weekend before to the last day of the convention, literally from sun-up to sundown and sun-up again. The official event kicked off with members of the Calif. delegation meeting at the group breakfast, which took place every morning. Speakers from across the world of politics ranging from members of Congress, former Attorney Generals, candidates for office and more came out and addressed our delegation. Some of the more notable speakers included former Attorney General Eric Holder, Calif. Attorney General Kamala Harris and Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.
After breakfast came a litany of functions that included caucus events that addressed issues pertaining to the LGBT, African American, Latino and other communities; lectures put on by think tanks; luncheons hosted by political action groups; mixers hosted by private sector companies and more. The convention proceedings began every day around 4 p.m. and usually wrapped up by 11:30 p.m. As Calif. had the largest delegation in the country, one of the biggest challenges for delegates was obtaining optimal seating to catch all of the speeches!
All of the speakers were absolutely amazing and conveyed progressive ideas for the present and future. The best speakers by far were First Lady Michelle Obama, President Barack Obama and Secretary Hillary Clinton. President Obama’s speech had me in tears a few times. To have been on the floor to watch him give his last speech at the DNC as a sitting President is something I’ll always cherish.
It seems like it was just yesterday I was a student in my campus apartment who felt like there was finally a politician who understood me and my friends and family; a guy and a campaign who motivated me to step it up in ways I never thought I could. To have been there from the moment he launched his first campaign – in the trenches, phone-banking, canvassing and more to finally seeing him, the first black U.S. President, after two terms handing the baton to the first woman nominee of a major party, is truly one of the most profound things I’ve been involved with.
There was no better way to start the next journey than by being a delegate lucky enough to put the first female candidate’s name in nomination. To have been among those who witnessed history that July night was an experience that I’ll be able to share for decades to come. The work now begins to get Hillary Clinton elected to the highest office of the land. / By: Brett C.S. Roberts, 2016 DNC District-Level Delegate, 43rd CD-CA.
Brett C.S. Roberts, is a Los Angeles native and based community relations professional, who has a passion for traveling and studying Latino and African Diaspora cultures. He’s a fluent Spanish speaker, holds an MBA from Pepperdine University and visited and/or lived in 27 countries. Follow him on IG @brettcsroberts or visit his website www.brettcsroberts.com. Also be on the lookout for his travel blog, www.passportb.com coming this year. Reel Urban News welcomes Brett, our new international guest contributor.