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Blog: San Antonio man among the crowd for Mayor Julian Castro's Democratic National Convention Keynote Address

Dante Small: 'It was an elec­trifying moment!'


CHARLOTTE, NC - September 4


Today my girlfriend Sharon and I started our day in Charlotte with excitement for the upcoming events. Our first venture was to a luncheon for the United Nations Foundation at Mortimer's Cafe & Pub. It was great to meet so many individuals concerned about the health and welfare of our world. Both local and nationwide support was present.

Immediately following, we went to the Israeli-Palestenian Peace panel discussion hosted by the AAI and J Street. The discussion revolved around finding a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Although the topic was a challenging one, it was pleasing to see efforts being made in that arena. On the way back to our hotel, we were also pleasantly surprised to have the opportunity to meet MSNBC host Chris Matthews as well as to be part of the radio audience for the Ed Schultz show.

After an exciting afternoon, we geared up for the first night of the DNC convention. The anticipation was high to hear Keynote Speaker and San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro speak, followed by First Lady Michelle Obama. Before they arrived on stage, several speakers fired up the crowd with moving speeches. Among them was Lilly Ledbetter who spoke to an enthusiastic crowd about her fight for the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to get equal pay for women. It was quite inspiring and moving! I was thrilled to be part of that moment in history. While on the floor of the convention, I was also introduced to Soledad O'brien of CNN. It was thrilling to see the media's acknowledgment of the importance of this historic convention.

At about 10pm EST, Keynote Speaker and San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro finally took the stage! It was an electrifying moment! I was so honored to have my mayor be the keynote speaker. He spoke about his family struggles in the barrios of San Antonio and the large role his mother played in his political success. I was moved by his sincerity and ability to connect with voters. He critiqued the opposition for their lack of compassion and understanding of the struggles that ordinary Americans go through on a daily basis. He stressed the importance of education in moving our great nation forward and he inspired the crowd in their acknowledgment of President Obama's concern for their personal struggles.

Mayor Castro's keynote speech was followed by a video about First Lady Michelle Obama's life and her commitment to military families and the children who are the future of our nation. It was moving to see how she overcame huge obstacles in her personal life and how she never forgot her humble beginnings. An indicator of her humility lay in the fact that she chose an ordinary citizen and military mother to introduce her to the crowd. That action spoke volumes ,since it is uncommon for a person of her stature to acknowledge the importance of the ordinary American person.

As she took the stage, First Lady Michelle Obama was greeted with enthusiastic cheers! The crowd went wild! After the cheers settled, Mrs. Obama began her speech with a tone of such sincerity in her voice that it spoke volumes. She spoke about her commitment to family and her strong love and respect for her husband President Obama. As she spoke about her first four years in the White House, rather than presenting herself as an elitist, she acknowledged her humanity. She spoke openly about her initial fears that being in the limelight of politics might negatively affect her family. It was great to know that she held family values close to her heart, and that they came above any level of political success. In her speech, she spoke candidly about the challenges of the oval office. She stressed that rather than changing her family in a negative way, it built their character and strength and allowed her the ability to positively influence the lives of our valued citizens.

Mrs. Obama was electrifying! She presented a clear determination in continuing to moving the nation forward upon the re-election of her husband, President Barack Obama.

It was wonderful for me to hear these inspiring stories of success. It is clear to see that Mayor Castro and First Lady Obama have a strong belief in the American dream that embodies effort and sacrifice to achieve success. It is also encouraging to see their concurrent level of compassion for those less fortunate with whom they can relate.

After the First Lady's speech, the day at the convention closed out with a moving benediction by Jena Lee Nardella, Founder and Executive Director of Blood: Water Mission. Her prayer invoked a peaceful response from the crowd. I was pleased to see that the party chose a young evangelical to present the prayer. Her thorough understanding of Christianity in its lack of judgement and goodwill toward all people no doubt left a level of conviction in all our hearts. Her prayer stressed the importance of unifying all people of our nation. She prayed for wisdom, humility and justice. Truly, her closing embodied the values that I am pleased to know my party honors. 

It was a great day at the DNC and I look eagerly look forward to more exciting and meaningful events in the coming days! What an honor it is to be a Texas delegate at this historical event.


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