Thursday, September 6, 2012

Wednesday- Day 4

              As I stated previously, my prediction that each consecutive day will be better than the previous continues to hold true as we go into the final day of the Democratic National Convention as well as the final day of our stay in Charlotte. We woke up slightly later today than yesterday and left a little before 7AM.  After another excellent breakfast, several enthralling speeches by prominent political and social figures such as Rev. Jessie Jackson, and interviews with the Maine delegation, we departed for the convention center. With the First and Second Ladies present at some of the caucus meetings several of us wanted to attend, we stood outside the heavily guarded and access restricted caucus rooms for about thirty minutes with the aspirations of catching a glimpse of these two prominent figures. With no success, everyone decided to head elsewhere. This is when Max and I decided to head out on a search for activists together.
              After less than fifteen minutes of walking in one direction behind some police officers we came upon an abortion/pro-choice standoff. It was interesting to be at the heart of the yelling and screaming. We came across a reporter from the local NPR partner station; she told us that there was going to be an Occupy rally at 3:15PM by the convention center. As we were leaving the scene, Dr. DeWitt called me and told us that we could meet at Panera Bread several blocks over to discuss developments. He also informed us that we would be shadowed by the Chronicle of Higher Education for an hour or two. We were very excited to hear this and after meeting with the two gentlemen that would be following us and after getting miked up, we headed out on another expedition in search of protesters until the Occupy protest time arrived. We utilized our “follow the police” axiom and ended up at a street corner with several different protesters. I interviewed a Wall Street protester with a large red 99% flag and a marching drum, and Max interviewed a colorful individual in support of “super president” Obama as he referred to him. We continued on our way towards the convention center and our cameraman took photos and video of us throughout.
              Once we arrived at the convention center our shadow team wanted to interview us in regards to our research and overall experience at the DNC and subsequently did so. They commended us on our interviews and afterwards allowed us the opportunity to further express our gratitude to all who made our amazing trip to the DNC possible: Dr. DeWitt, Dr. Swint, Dr. Azriel, Democratic Party of Georgia Chairman Mike Berlon, Ms. Angelia Knight, the Department of Political Science and International Affairs at KSU, and the KSU administration. After our interviews we said goodbye and thank you to our camera crew and headed towards the former Occupy protest spot of yesterday. We arrived there but there was no one there; traffic was flowing smoothly. We did encounter two PETA activists and the Chiquita Banana Girl. Within ten minutes, several police officers started coming up the street and shortly behind them were the remnants of yesterday’s Occupy group marching towards the convention center. We tagged along the rear of the march and followed them to their final congregating location. At this point, we were on a street corner, embedded within a group of anti-abortion, Occupy, and Legalize Marijuana activists. We conducted our field observations and interviews and received notification from Dr. DeWitt that we were meeting at Panera again to head back to the hotel. We made it to Panera and while waiting encountered Erin Burnett from CNN. After everyone else arrived, we snapped a picture with Ms. Burnett and headed towards the van; at this point we also came across Julian Castro. We took pictures with him and continued on our way.
              Arriving back at the hotel we had over an hour and a half to rest before we were to head out for our watch party at Winthrop University. When there we met with the Winthrop students and also welcomed a party of British students visiting the United States. We had a very stimulating discussion with one very bright British student, Shaphar Dixon. She was wonderful in answering any questions we had about Great Britain. The food at this event was very appetizing. At the conclusion of this event we headed home and watched the rest of the convention speeches, catching Bill Clinton’s speech just in time. After the speech and delegate count we all headed to bed and called it a day, a very good day. 

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