By Marisa Richmond
First, before I get to Tuesday’s activities, I just want to follow up on a couple of items from yesterday. I forgot to mention that during the Black Caucus meeting, we were interrupted TWICE by protesters claiming that Obama did not care about blacks & supported genocide of blacks. Both protesters, who happened to be white, were outshouted by the crowd chanting “O-BA-MA” until the cops ran in & dragged them out. How ironic, but there are cops everywhere…
And when I shown on CNN lat night, I neglected to mention that the person next to me was Dan Lawson, a delegate from Maryville, TN. Sitting just outside the shot (which is apparently available on, where else?, You Tube), was Charlene Kilpatrick, a TNDP Executive Committeemember from Chattanooga who was sitting in front of me, State Rep. Joanne Favors of Chattanooga on my left, and behind me were Chip Forrester of Goodlettsville, the TNDP Treasurer, & Congressman Jim Cooper. If anyone wonders why I ran to be a delegate, it is the opportunity to rub elbows with major players like this.
Now, on to Tuesday. We got off to a fiery start, which set the tone for the whole day. House Speaker Pro Tem Lois DeBerry of Memphis, who is also on the DNC & is a Superdelegate, spoke first. She was followed by our special guest, Ed Rendell, Governor of Pennsylvania. As a Clinton delegate, he first said to the other Clinton delegates, “Get over it….Let’s go forward.” He then focused on Health Care, Equal Pay for Women, and taxes. He contrasted Obama & McCain on these issues. Finally, Congressman Bart Gordon spoke about the need to win, but he also said we need to win for the right reasons. After breakfast, I walked by the ballroom where the Connecticut delegation was having its breakfast, & CHris Dodd was at the podium speaking. I heard he will speak at the TN breakfast on Thursday.
I actually took my first real break at that point. I did want to go to the Women’s Caucus before the TN lunch, but I did not go today for reasons that allow me to segue into the one real complaint we have about the convention. The “transportation” here has laid a royal egg. We are in a Hotel in an area called the Tech Center which is 15 miles South of downtown. There are no buses to the Convention Center & the ones to the Pepsi Center–a one mile walk from the Convention Center–don’t start until 1pm. Now there is a nice light rail system here, & we have been given free 5 day passes, but it is not that convenient. the hotel website claims the station is 1/10 mile from the station. Well, let me tell you that I was a distance runner on my HS track team, and that walk is NOT 1/10 mile. And the hotel does not even offer shuttle service for us. And none of the women, and some of the men, don’t like that walk in the dark.
So I skipped today’s women’s caucus although I will go on thursday since both Michelle Obama & Hillary Clinton are expected to speak! I stayed at the hotel for our TN luncheon sponsored by Pfizer. Our keynote speaker was Congressman Jim Cooper, who quite possibly gave the best speech of his life. He called us all the “Keepers of the American Dream.” I also talked to the Pfizer rep, Joe Zozoli, to thank the company for having a fully inclusive non-discrimination policy which recognizes the contributions of all people regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
This leads me to another matter. I skipped another luncheon to which I had RSVP’d. This was one for the LGBT delegates. There were four co-sponsors of the lunch. One was the Victory Fund. I met with the VF Director, Chuck Wolfe, yesterday during the reception at Gill, and we have 3 VF Board Members in Nashville, so I have had plenty of opportunities to express my appreciation for their work. Another sponsor was Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin. Due to her hard work on behalf of a fully inclusive ENDA, I faxed her a letter last fall & I visited her office in DC in January. My problem was with the other 2 sponsors: The transphobic Barney Frank and the Hypocrites Raising Cash while claiming they are fighting for transgender people. While the other trans delegates went to scare the crap out of Barney, I just could not stomach allowing my presence to be used in any way to justify lying and hypocrisy.
In the afternoon, I had an adventure getting downtown to the TN reception because I made the mistake of relying on the buses to get me anywhere other than the Pepsi Center. I did get in long enough for one quick drink before turning around & heading back to the Pepsi Center for what can only be described as an awesome session. I really wanted to hear Tammy Baldwin. I was disappointed that she did not talk about the battle over ENDA and the absolute need for fully inclusive language. But that was the only downside. The speeches by Governors Schwiecker, Strickland, Warner, and Patrick were all excellent.
And then came Hillary. What can I say? I had tears in my eyes. She absolutely hit a grand slam tonight! I’m sure all of you have your own spin, but she brought down the house.
Afterwards, we had the usual trouble with the buses into downtown. Both Gov. Bredesen & the Congressional Black Caucus had receptions in the same hotel. I took me 90 minutes to get there. The ones who walked got there before me. In fact, when I finally arrived at the TN party, they had already made “Last call” and were starting to take away the food. Fortunately, the CBC party was just getting started. When it comes to throwing a good party, My People are second to none. 🙂 If Obama actually wins, you will see some Inaugural Balls that will become the stuff of legend! We were also invited to a DLC Party by Harold Ford, but it was late, so I skipped that event to get back here at the hotel.
Wednesday will be an even more incredible day.