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DNC Vignettes – 2012

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The New Tri-State Defender's Executive Editor, Karanja A. Ajanaku, is directing the production of TSD's Sept. 6-12 edition from Charlotte, N.Car., where he also is covering the 2012 Democratic National Convention.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Greetings from Charlotte, where I am inside the Charlotte Convention Center for TSD coverage of the Democratic National Convention. Immediately upon arrival I thought of the headline on the Aug. 30-Sept.5 TSD story on the RNC in Tampa. It reads: "Rare but real: African-American Republicans" ... The contrast here hits you right in the face.

Monday, September 3, 2012

The very first Memphian I spotted on pre-convention day was Joseph Kyles, a Memphis business consultant and vice president of the Memphis chapter of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition.

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Charlotte Convention is the first for State Rep. Johnnie Turner (D-Memphis), who for years was the executive director of the Memphis Branch NAACP, which is a non-partisan group.

"No, I'm not a delegate," said Turner. "I came on my own. I recognized the historic nature of this, just like I felt I had to be at the inauguration. I couldn't be here (at the Democratic National Convention) in 2008 because I was with the NAACP at that time."

This time around, said Turner, "I wanted to be a part of whatever it was that helps get President Obama re-elected, which means it will be the first time an African American has been re-elected. So, it is still a first."

Tennessee is now a solid Red (Republican) state, with the winner getting all of the state's 11 electoral votes – a fact Turner acknowledges but says should not keep supporters of President Obama at home on Election Day.

"You always vote your conviction. Every election is important. In every election you should vote for what is in the best interest of not only you, but the best interest of your people," she said. "There is never, ever a time when one should not vote."

Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2012

State Rep. Karen Camper (D-Memphis) carried a "We Love Michelle" sign as she and other members of the Tennessee Delegation to the Democratic National Convention began the informal process of debriefing themselves about an evening of speeches capped off by First Lady Michelle Obama.

The hallways of the Time Warner Cable Arena were abuzz and it mostly was about Mrs. Obama and a "talk" that registered with many for its personal touch and feel.

"I heard from her that you can trust her husband, that he has values that are innate in him," said Camper. "And that he would not waiver from those values because they were bred in him by his family...and he is rooted in that. Even when the noise (criticism) is loud, he can turn down the noise and turn to his inward values."

Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2012

An at-large member of the Tennessee Delegation, Henry Hooper of Memphis cut quite a figure as he moved among the throng on Democratic National Committee delegates and convention-goers on Tuesday (Sept.) night.

"Thank you for your service, sir," a passerby said, acknowledging the VFW cap that signaled Hooper's service to the country via the military. "Thank you," he responded.

Romney, said Hooper, has not addressed veterans' issues. "You've to take care of the veterans. How can you have a president who is going to be the commander-in-chief, he's the leader and yet there is no desire to take care of them (veterans) when they came back."

Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012

Twelve hours after wowing supporters at the Democratic National Convention during her address at the Time Warner Cable Arena, First Lady Michelle Obama stepped from behind a curtain in a ballroom at the Charlotte Convention Center and the room exploded.

A sea of African-American faces surged forward, with waves of people jostling for a view of Mrs. Obama that they could capture via camera.

"What you do every day for the next 62 days will make the difference between waking up on Nov. 7 (one day after the election) and asking yourself could I have done more, or sealing the promise of four more years."

"Mmm hmm, four more years," said a woman behind me.

A few minutes later, Mrs. Obama leaned toward the audience and said she needed to know something. "Are you fired up?"

"Fired up!" came the response, as rows of people jumped to their feet.

Mrs. Obama fired back: "Are you ready to go?"

Chants of "Ready to go" echoed back.

"I'm so fired up, can you tell?," Mrs. Obama asked. "This is about our future, our sons and our daughters and the world we want to leave for them long after we are gone."



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