The weather was fantastic, warm to hot during the day and cooler in the evenings, with no rain. The City of Denver went all out to make visitors welcome. From the welcome signs at the airport and in all of the downtown stores to the Downtown tourist information volunteers stationed on corners, you were treated warmly. Denver is a smaller City than Chicago and had to summon help from 52 different municipal agencies around the State (not including the huge contingent of Secret Service Agents). There were buses and bus drivers from different Cities which did cause some circuitous routes back to the hotel as well as Police Officers and others.I look forward to that and any photos that the alderman may have. I wish I had been able to catch coverage of this convention. For those of you not in the loop, if you've missed Obama's acceptance speech then go here to Electronic Village.
While the Convention schedule was grueling enough, the city of Denver also had events and hundreds of other groups and entities held events. One count listed 300 plus different shows, concerts, meetings, luncheons, dinners, receptions, presentations, outings and of course parties. This being my first convention, I didn’t really know the drill in advance and being an elected delegate from the 1st Congressional District here in Illinois our plate was pretty well filled. Each State pretty much stays in the same hotel. Illinois, Wisconsin and the Virgin Island Delegations stayed at the Marriott downtown. Each morning at 7:45 there was a Delegate breakfast for our Delegation. At the breakfast we listened to ‘this is why we are here’ speeches from labor and the political leadership of the State. We got updates on activities and then received our credentials and tickets to that day’s events.
We would leave the breakfast at 9 a.m., get our credentials (a 20-30 min. process) then head off to the Denver Convention Center for Caucuses or issue driven meetings. There were African American Caucuses, Women’s Caucuses, GLBT Caucuses, Senior and Youth Caucuses to name a few. Then we would break for lunch. On Monday the City of Chicago Black Caucus jointly hosted a Bar B Q lunch with Cook County Board President Todd Stroger. The luncheon was held at a wonderful neighborhood restaurant with ‘kickin food. It was our attempt to make sure that some of our money went into the Communities of Color plus the owners Sam and Jennifer Taylor were Chicago natives who went to Colorado for College and fell in love with Denver. On Thursday the Illinois Democratic Women held their Luncheon and a surprise visit by the Presidential Nominee Sen. Barack Obama turned the luncheon out. About 4:00 p.m. we would head for the Pepsi Center for the Convention activities, except for Thursday when we went to the INVESCO Center. The Convention program went from 4 – 9 p.m. and then we would start the trek back to our hotels or to parties. Personally I never made it to one party that wasn’t in our hotel because we had major bus transportation problems. By the time we got back on most nights I was whipped and hungry or just whipped. In fact the one real downer to the whole event was the transportation, but that’s another discussion
Over all it was awesome. The recognition of gravity of the situation, the historical significance of what we were undertaking and the difficulties that lay ahead for us as a Nation caused tears to flow on many nights, not just Thurs. I’ll share some of those moments with you in my next entry.
The GOP convention starts on Monday. I'm not sure how much coverage of that I'll do, but when blogging starts back for good on Tuesday there will be some posts on that.