Monday, August 25, 2008

College Dems Convention Day One

**This blog was written on Saturday August 23, 2008

So we started our morning out bright and early today beginning with the Women’s Caucus. The CDA Women’s Caucus has been doing amazing work around HPV education, awareness and advocacy. They launched the ABC’s of HPV campaign in 2005 and it has been going strong since. Check it out

Donna Dolton, a UIS MA student in Public Administration won the election for Development Director of the Women’s Caucus.

Next I attended a seminar about a new canvassing tool called the Neighborhood Volunteer Program.

The Neighborhood Volunteer Program is a door-to-door strategy for activists to get out in their neighborhoods or communities that they are otherwise connected to and talk about the major issues of this election.

Later in the evening things got a little more exciting. As I was walking with the rest of the Illinois student delegation to the Light Rail Station, the streetcar system in Denver, several blocks were barricaded off by the SWAT team. We thought that it was a motorcade for somebody eating downtown so we waited for about fifteen minutes for the block to clear. There were probably around 250 people waiting to get through. The longer we waited the more SWAT team members and arrived. Suddenly the SWAT team yelled at the crowd to step back to the other side of the intersection. The crowd slowly moved so the SWAT team began to move toward the crowd to push it back. We decided that we did not want to wait any longer to get through the block so we started to walk the other direction. About three minutes later we heard an explosion. It turns out that there was a bomb threat and the SWAT team had to destroy the object they thought was a threat.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Opening Night

**This post was written on Friday August 22, 2008

So, as soon as I arrived in Denver I could feel the excitement. There were DNC volunteers everywhere! The driver of the shuttle I took, Noah, was telling me about all the people he had met over the past few days coming into to town. Noah, was a pretty cool guy. He has lived in the UIS for three years and grew up in Africa. He was telling me about the perception of the U.S. government where he grew up and how he thinks that will change if Obama is elected. He said that the sentiment was that the U.S. was the parent and their government the children and they came in and told them how to run things, took over their economy and exploited the community for all it was worth. This sounds quite familiar… Latin America, anybody. When Noah dropped me off at University of Denver we exchanged contact information hopefully we’ll keep in touch.

I dropped my things off in my room and quickly met up with Mike Ziri for dinner before the opening events. Around 7:00PM Gov. Howard Dean arrived to open the College Democrats of America National convention. He stressed how important it us for us, the youth, to mobilize and make sure we get all of our friends to the polls. He said that this election belongs to the youth we will make it happen for Obama.

After Dean spoke the Illinois Delegation decided to head back to our residence hall and freshen up to go out the opening social. By the time we got to the venue, a small dinner called Spanky’s that probably should not have had been able to hold 250+ crazy College Democrats it was about 9:30 MT. This was when CNN started to speculate the Biden was the nominee. Everybody had been going crazy all day long about the Obama text message so there were mixed emotions about CNN knowing. At around 10:00PM MT CNN announced that Biden is Obama’s running mate the diner erupted with shouts and cheers.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

On My Way To Denver!

Welcome to my very first blog.  So, I have tossed around the idea of starting a blog a few times but in light of my attendance at the 2008 Democratic National Convention I thought I would go ahead and do it.  As I type this I am sitting in the Lambert International Airport in St. Louis, MO anticipating my boarding time.  I should arrive in Denver around 3:00PM.

So, while I wait I will tell you a little about myself.  I am a student at the University of Illinois at Springfield.  I am majoring in Political Science and minoring in Economics and Women and Gender Studies.  I really enjoy applying aspects of all of these areas of study to interrogate the world’s injustices.   I hope to work on economic justice, gender or Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) issues as a professional upon completing my undergraduate degree.

While at UIS I spend a lot of my time engaging in campus life.  I work for the Department of Housing and Residential Life as a Resident Assistant (RA) in Clover Court and for the Women’s Center.  I really love both of my jobs.  I basically get paid to interact with really amazing people and build community every day.

I am also involved in student organizations.   Since it seems most appropriate at this time I will talk a little bit about the College Democrats at UIS.  The College Dems at UIS are lead by Mike Ziri, a graduate student who also works for Sen. Durbin.  Our location in the capital allows us to participate in municipal, county, state-wide and federal events and campaigns.  If you are hoping to become a public servant or are just a politico there are many opportunity for you, especially as we get closer to the November elections. 

In addition to my involvement with the UIS College Dems I serve at the national level with the College Democrats of America (CDA) as the Development Director for the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Issues Caucus.  I am up for re-election while I am in Denver, wish me luck!

Some of my other favorite student organizations are the Women’s Issues Caucus (WIC), the Queer-Straight Aliance (QSA), Students Allied for a Greener Earth (SAGE), and Las Mujeres.  I have also spent a lot of my time at UIS serving on Student Government.  I will try to do a feature on each of these student organization sometime soon and share the meeting times and dates with you!

Anyway, my plane will be boarding soon so I am going to check out.  I will be updating daily while I am in Denver so check back!

P.S. This post was actually written around 12:00PM CST yesterday, it took me awhile to find wi-fi.