I am so excited not only to hear Kimberley speak but also to support Cullen who is also a candidate for Vice Chair.261 Cullen invites me to join him backstage before the speech. Melissa, one of our elected Bernie whips from Philadelphia, introduces him to the audience. I quickly go to the front of stage cheering "Cullen, Cullen, Cullen" as the crowd cheers in response.
Next, Nina Turner and Kimberly Ellis take the stage with a mass of people wearing pink shirts with the message “unbossed, unbought” as the crowd cheers loudly “Kimberly, Kimberly, Kimberly.” Nina introduces her, “Have the difficult conversations and tell the truth. Do the people's work with faith, trust, and loyalty. And, redefine what it means to be a Democrat.”262
After the speech is finished, we join our whips outside the convention center organized by regional districts to ensure that all delegates are properly prepared to vote. I escort Bobbie, my Bernie delegate friend from Philadelphia, and Thida another delegate in a wheelchair with a service dog to the special access lines. The lines are very long and stretch from one end of the convention center to the other. It is chaos, but after waiting for over an hour, I officially cast my vote for the Chair, Vice-Chair, and other officer positions.
More voting is required for the regional districts and caucus elections that take place in different rooms and different schedules. There is confusion in the regional district elections. The official schedule printed and available online has a different schedule for the voting period. Some of the delegates arrive late due to the long lines voting for the officers. There is more confusion and chaos. Ultimately, the election is completed though with a challenge to the process implementation. I wonder if this confusion and chaos of the election will become an issue. I hope not after all the hard work invested by the candidate campaigns.
During the evening, there are caucus meetings and leadership elections. I am a member of four caucuses including the Environmental, Irish-American, Progressive, and Rural. The Progressive caucus is exciting with a number of candidates who supported Bernie. Each delivers a short speech, led first by Karen, who was our co-chair for the Bernie Sanders Delegates in Philadelphia and is running to be chair of the Progressive caucus. Karen asks, “Are there any troublemakers in the room?” to loud applause, and states, “Get good or get gone!”263 After the speeches, the meeting continues with interesting speakers and is running late into the night.
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish