Once my taste buds and ear drums acclimated to the tastes and sounds of my eyes took in the messages. Of course it being a national political convention there were many. But the first thing I noticed was the messengers were in my presence, not in my face.
Some roamed the crowd like medium-voiced town criers, “Any North Carolinian need to register to vote?”
Others were vendors selling everything from scarves and jewelry to pictures and books. Some had a specific cause like aiding women and children from Afghanistan. Others were businesses selling campaign memorabilia, or their own products with a DNC twist. I’m not sure, but I think the gourmet chocolates from petite philippe had an interesting design on them. I just could never get close enough to see!
One vendor was ViaDelia. When I asked her if she’d seen ‘Read My Pins’ the Madeleine Albright pin collection at The Mint Museum, she replied, “No, but she has one of my pins!” As you’ll see from her website, Delia has a huge smile and I loved it when another festival-goer stopped and right away Delia said, “That‘s my pin!” Then went on to describe that it was a vintage . . . made with a . . . foil . . . Her cheerfulness was contagious.
Organizations drew people in with interactive opportunities. The Human Rights Campaign had a wheel to spin for free merchandise, from bracelets and pins to ball caps and the coveted rainbow t-shirt.
And some, well not so much!
Another venue was Legacy Village-What do we want to leave our children? After I took the picture, I realized it symbolizes Charlotte-churches and faith, skyscrapers and business, and a look to the future. Legacy Village was where you found information on renewable energy, recycling, organic and community gardening
They were building a Habitat for Humanity HouseThey had a tent where we could help make a piece of public art. The Echo Foundation was across from an organization that helped young girls become strong women. Legacy Village was established on The Green, a beautiful park in Uptown Charlotte, a legacy they’ve already left.
I admire all the messengers who put their beliefs on the line, whether we agreed with them or not. I saw respectful debates but no rants. Even those whose messages went against the Democratic platform made their case without making a scene.
(More vocal protesters and Occupiers occupied another area.)
And then there were those who just by their presence said so much. An elderly African-American woman with a grocery cart, a small one like my grandma used to pull to the store, found a shady spot on a retaining wall next to the sidewalk, behind the vendor tents. I didn’t see what all she had in her cart, but the hand-printed sign on the front said, ‘Slave Reparations.’ She quietly sat and shared her message with anyone who stopped to listen, and every time I saw her someone had.