The Charlotte Convention Center was extremely busy at noon on Wednesday, the second day of the Democratic National Convention, as this Kid Reporter and his editor, Dante, tried to navigate through the crowds to join the line for the Youth Council Meeting, one of several events that day.
Dozens of people were in line, both children and adults, waiting to be granted access to the ballroom on the second floor of the convention center where the event was going to be held.
The Youth Council Meeting was going to be a two-hour meeting celebrating the importance of young people to the Democratic Party and featuring several speakers and panel discussions about President Obama's re-election campaign. Anybody under the age of 36 was considered by the council as a youth voter.
Jenae, a delegate from South Dakota in line for the Youth Council meeting, said it's important to tell young voters that the Democratic Party is the future of the country. "They make sure they stand for our future and they have a lot of policies and beliefs that are really going to build jobs for the future and keep us strong," Jenae told the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps.
Kristen, Vice President of the Young Democrats of America organization provided a similar view about young voters.
"My main job is to get you excited about voting for our President again," Kristen said. "And I think they are excited about voting for our President again, as you can see by the crowds to get into the Youth Council's line."
Finally, the meeting began. Jason Rae, the Chairman of the Democratic Youth Council stood at the front of the ballroom with the other council officers, introducing speakers that addressed key campaign topics like education and how young people could help re-elect President Obama.
The event began with a video about the story of a woman who pumped up a crowd at an Obama campaign speech with what would become the party's signature phrase, "Fired up! Ready to go!"
One of the speakers was Juan Sepulveda, Director for the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans. A Harvard University graduate and a Rhodes scholar, he spoke about the importance of education and college and talked to the audience about the Democratic stance and platform on the issue.
"We hear all across the country just the incredible struggles and what it takes as the President said again and again and again, 'If you work hard in this country and you play by the rules and you give it your all, then you should be able to succeed, you should be able to have the American dream,'" Sepulveda said. "I know you all were fortunate to have that, and I want you to make sure everyone is fortunate enough to have that. Make sure the President is re-elected."
After Sepulveda's speech, the crowd really got excited inside the Youth Council Meeting. It would only take one small spark to ignite the audience. And that spark was Regena Thomas, the former New Jersey Secretary of State. She roused the crowd with the very same chant from the video: "Fired up! Ready to go!" The crowd went wild. It looked like the young voters in that room had decided whom they would be voting for.
—Kid Reporter Andrew Liang
Photo: Regena Thomas gets the crowd a the DNC Youth Council fired up and ready to go. (Dante A. Ciampaglia)