Reflections of a Long Beach Youth at the DNC

Sep. 19, 2012 / By

By VoiceWaves Youth Journalist Dasire’e Norman

If you asked me what I thought of my families’ success before attending the Democratic National Convention earlier this month, I would have said that the government needs to do more.

Or wait… do less? I was unsure.

I grew up in Long Beach with a family who was grateful for our government, without question. My family based their vote on what they heard and hoped they would see a change. The way they lived was dependent on the economy. If they had to spend less, they would. If they needed to save a little, they did. We were a working class family getting by without much of government aid. Like any other family, my parents faced job layoffs and pay-cuts and we needed a government who worked for the people, as the people worked for it.

When I was asked by the California Endowment to fly to the DNC to blog and report about what was happening and what I believed had an important impact on my community, I wasn’t expecting a wonderful and glorifying trip coming out of the airport terminal.

If you asked me a month ago, if I would ever be able to go to the DNC in Charlotte, North Carolina, I would have answered, “Me? Why me?” I thought sitting among those who have the power to make decisions that impacted the growth of a nation was out of my reach.

When I got there, I saw that I stood out like a sore thumb– being one of the youngest faces among the crowd. But I was there to learn, experience, question and to be motivated. I quickly realized I was experiencing an eye opening change of events. I found myself being enriched in the knowledge of our country. Never before had I known how important the role we all play in this government.

This November, I will be given the opportunity to cast my first vote to elect the next president. I learned that not everyone votes during the elections, but we have that right, so I  will be taking full advantage of my opportunity. Before the DNC, I didn’t take the phrase “every vote counts” literally, but this time I have the opportunity to make votes count by sharing what I learned at the DNC. Regardless of political views, the best way to learn about something is to experience it and then implement by telling and teaching others.

Being part of the Long Beach Delegation at the DNC had to have been the most gratifying experience I have had so far. Being able to watch the President come on stage and accept the party’s nominations was truly a wonder.  Meeting delegates from across the state and across the country was amazing. I saw crowds cheer with joy and excitement and I became a part of the mass of supporters and cheerers. They say getting to experience something on our own is the best way to learn, but being able to be there is something else– I felt my third eye open.

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VoiceWaves is a Long Beach youth-led journalism and media-training project. The youth, ages 16-24, are learning to report, write, and create digital journalism content. Their reports will raise awareness of community health issues and activate change.