DNC Journal Entry: Day Eleven

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! 

It was pouring rain outside when I walked to the Wells Fargo Center for the final time last Thursday. At the volunteer and security checkpoint tents, volunteers gave out clear plastic ponchos to us, as it was a long walk from the security tent to the Wells Fargo Center. The afternoon went by quickly and I checked people’s credentials on the club floor as I have been doing all week. Dolores Huerta, whom I met the night before, happened to be there! Before I knew she was around, she recognized me and made sure to say hello. I believe that was right after she gave her speech at the Democratic National Convention (DNC). As I was working on the club floor at that time, I was unable to see it in person or on television.

When it was nearly time for Hillary to speak, my supervisor who was responsible for security on our floor let me go, so I could watch Hillary’s speech. Since the firefighters were concerned about the number of people inside the stadium, I could not get inside and watch Hillary’s speech in person. Instead, I found a television in a hall right outside of the stadium and watched her speech there. It was still surreal, knowing that only one thin wall separated me from where all of it was happening!

Earlier that evening, I watched numerous prominent politicians, special guests, and staffers bring their little girls to watch Hillary accept the nomination. I am sure they wanted their daughters, granddaughters, and other special little girls in their lives to know that they are more than capable of becoming president one day. There were many more little girls than boys. For once, that night was for them. Many little girls whom I saw wore red, blue, and white patriotic outfits and donned either Hillary or some kind of female power shirt. They could not have looked more adorable.

I forgot to cover gender-neutral restrooms in one of my earlier posts. Both the Pennsylvania Convention Center and the Wells Fargo Center had big gender-neutral public restrooms. The first one I went to in the Wells Fargo Center was right outside of the hall that leads people to the floor, so it was extremely busy and often used by delegates or other people who have access to the floor. Before this week, I do not think I have ever gone to a big, busy gender-neutral restroom that has at least eight stalls. At one point while washing my hands there, I was the only female in the public section of the restroom with five other men. It felt weird and I had to assure myself that I was not in the wrong restroom. It also felt funny putting on my lipstick in front of men! That is not a bad thing though. Gender-neutral restroom is simply a new concept and may take some time before it becomes the norm. I love how progressive Democrats are with this issue. I went to my first public gender-neutral restroom at the DNC, after all. I hope I will see more restrooms like this one in other places later.


DNC Journal Entry: Day Ten

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! 

In my yesterday’s post, I said I would never forget last Tuesday. Well, this week keeps on getting better! I will not ever forget yesterday either, as it was the day when I saw our current President of the United States (POTUS)! Yes, Barack Obama. I am thrilled that I was finally able to see him in person before his second term ends this January. President Obama presented a magnificent case about why Americans should vote for Hillary and argued that this election is bigger than disputes between two parties because the outcome will reflect who we are as Americans overall. I loved the part when Obama commented that nobody else has ever been more qualified than Hillary to be president, not even himself or Bill. He also said he was ready to pass the baton to her.

When I thought my night could not have gotten any better, Hillary Clinton surprised us by coming on stage! This is my fourth time seeing Hillary in person and I swear it does not get any less amazing each time. I might have been less starstruck this time, but it was just as wonderful to see my number one role model in person again.

Before President Obama spoke last night, I worked at my usual post on the club floor near the suites and lounges where there often are sightings of prominent politicians and celebrities. This time, I spotted Joe Kennedy, another member of the political dynasty family, and Lynda Carter, the Original Wonder Woman! I also saw Bernie Sanders’ campaign manager, Jeffrey Weaver, briefly making a conversation with someone a few feet away from me. When it was almost time for Obama to come on stage, three Gallaudet students, including me, went inside the stadium with an interpreter to watch his speech. Obama’s speech was moving for me, as I went to his 2008 inauguration and now there I was during what probably was his last major speech as the president. I was there from the very beginning of his presidency to the very ending and it seems almost like a full circle now.

After this unforgettable moment, we headed to the closest Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) rail station and were on our way back to Temple University, where we were staying. When we got off at one station to change trains, Dolores Huerta happened to be there and we met her. I nearly screamed when I realized that the lady next to us was actually Dolores herself. Yes, that famous Mexican-American civil rights activist who did numerous remarkable things, such as founding the National Farmworkers Association/United Farm Workers. Having the ultimate respect for her, I felt very fortunate to chat with her briefly. Out of all places in Philadelphia, I would never have thought to find her at a random SEPTA station at 1 o’clock in the morning. Dolores was very friendly and recalled how she knew a former Gallaudet student. I did not recognize the name, but that was still cool! The woman whom Dolores was traveling with also recognized me from Deaf People for Hillary. I believe we spoke earlier this week, but we finally exchanged our contact information that night. The hearing world can be small, indeed! From the Original Wonder Woman to Barack Obama to Hillary Clinton to Dolores Huerta, so many incredible people are at the DNC.