Note: I am currently in Philadelphia for the Democratic National Convention. I attended an academic seminar last week and am doing a fieldwork placement during the convention. I am writing a daily journal to reflect on my experience and will post my entries here. Enjoy!
On the first day of the convention, I took a subway to the Pennsylvania Convention Center and attended the disability council meeting. Among the speakers at the meeting were people with whom I worked on Hillary’s campaign this year and got to know more from Disability Action for Hillary group. I had to see and talk with them before the meeting, as I only knew some of them through emails and finally met them in person for the first time yesterday. I might have only met them a day ago, but it does not feel that way. Because of the work we did together and the goal of electing Hillary as the next president that we share, they kind of feel like my Hillary family and I was super excited to connect with my beloved Hillary people.
One wonderful individual I know is blind and we never had any problem communicating through emails. We both are here for the convention and wanted to meet in person. Since I am Deaf and she is blind, I did have doubts about whether or not we would be able to communicate effectively in person yet I also knew we would find a way. With the use of technology, we ended up being able to communicate directly using Siri and an app that translates from text to speech. Technology is amazing, indeed. If it were not for our association with Disability Action for Hillary, we probably would never have attempted and found a way to chat in person. Campaigns certainly do bring people together! After hearing several powerful speeches, I left and headed over to the Wells Fargo Center for my 3 pm shift with other Gallaudet students and faculty members who are also assigned to the Democratic National Convention Committee (DNCC).
It was surreal to be inside the Wells Fargo Center when the DNC officially kicked off last night. As a political junkie, I could not get over the fact that I was actually here during this historic moment. With all the important speeches and protests taking place last night, it was like the epitome of American politics. I had the chance to see several speakers on the floor and I do not think I will ever forget that moment!
I have never ever met and seen so many prominent politicians and famous individuals in one day, as I did last night while screening attendees’ credentials and making sure they were in the right place. The first important people I met were Patrick Kennedy and his wife, Amy. John Fitzgerald Kennedy is his uncle. Patrick and Amy were quite friendly. Patrick mentioned how he remembers Gallaudet University very well from his time as a U.S. Congressman and commented about it fondly. I also spoke with Benjamin Jealous, a former National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) president, and Betty McCollum, a Congresswoman representing Minnesota. It turns out that she is friends with Bobbi Cordano, the new President of Gallaudet University. Sometimes we forget how small the world can be, even for hearing politicians and that many important politicians do have connections with Deaf people.