August 24, 2020/Blog, Media

Texans Centerstage at the Democratic National Convention

Texas was front and center at the Democratic National Convention last week, with Texans holding prominent roles and performances from day one. Every single one of our Texas Democrats made the state proud. They proved exactly why Texas is the biggest battleground state in the country and showed that we are fired up and ready to win up and down the ballot and deliver 38 electoral votes to Joe Biden and Kamala Harris this November.

A long list of Texans lit up the Convention this week:

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, Democratic leader in Texas’s largest county, appeared in video montages Monday and Thursday nights, emphasizing the “We The People” theme of the Convention.

El Paso Congresswoman Veronica Escobar delivered Texas’s support for Biden during Tuesday night’s roll call, where she spoke powerfully about the 2019 massacre in El Paso and the need to end gun violence and choose love over hate. She also later appeared in a compilation video about women’s suffrage.

A group of El Paso non-politicians were also on-screen as part of Veronica Escobar’s Tuesday speaking moment, including Christian Juarez, a neonatal nurse, and Myndi Luevanos, a gun control advocate and mother of four.

Philonise and Rodney Floyd, brothers of George Floyd and Houston natives, spoke Monday night about their brother, his selflessness and giving spirit, and his legacy in the uprising for racial justice sparked by his death. Calling for long-overdue racial justice and an end to police brutality, they held a moment of silence to honor George Floyd and other Black Americans who have died at the hands of the police. “It’s up to us to carry on the fight for justice,” Philonise said.

Former El Paso Congressman and Founder of Powered by People Beto O’Rourke spoke on both Monday and Thursday night together with other former presidential candidates, saying memorably of this fall’s election, “There are no sidelines. There’s no sitting this one out. There is no cavalry — WE are the cavalry.” He also spoke Thursday night in a montage of Democrats’ hopes for “this time next year.”

State Representative Victoria Neave jointly delivered part of the keynote address Tuesday night, marking the second time in the past eight years that Texans have been keynote speakers in the Democratic Convention, following Julián Castro in 2012. Neave was named by the DNC as one of the “Rising Stars” within the party, and is the author of the historic Lavina Masters Act, comprehensive legislation which the backlog of thousands of untested rape kits which went unaddressed for decades under Republican’s watch.

Congressman Colin Allred — another of the DNC’s “Rising Stars” — also took the main stage at the convention to deliver Tuesday’s joint keynote address and share the Democratic vision for the state and the country. Allred was part of the Democratic wave that took back long-standing Republican-held congressional seats in Texas in 2018. Prior to his congressional win, Allred worked for another Texan, former U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro during President Barack Obama’s second term in office.

Actress and Democratic activist Eva Longoria, a longtime San Antonio resident and Corpus Christi native, kicked off the Convention as moderator and emcee for night one.

Fort Worth native and singer-songwriter Leon Bridges performed his hit single, “Sweeter” on Monday night, evoking our nation’s continued struggle to advance racial justice.

Michelle Beebe, school nurse in Ysleta Independent School District in El Paso, was featured in Monday night discussion about sending her kids back to school during the pandemic. She told folks across the country, “All I can think about is keeping our kids safe. It’s a little scary to take my kids back to school with the uprising of COVID-19 cases. I will do whatever it takes to ensure we bring our kids back to school safely. I know Joe Biden will be the one to take us there.”

San Antonio teacher Rebekah Ozuna also spoke Monday night as one of several teachers featured during a segment on children going back to school during the pandemic.

Brownsville Congressman Filemon Vela helped kick off the Convention Monday with a short speech.

Air Force veteran, public servant, and Democratic nominee for U.S. House District TX-23 Gina Ortiz Jones was part of a Wednesday night montage video on women’s rights.

Legendary Texas band The Chicks Natalie Maines, Martie Maguire, and Emily Strayer — started off the last night of the Convention with a gorgeous a cappella performance of the national anthem.

Behind the scenes, Texas delegates Chris Chu de Leon, Ferrel Bonner, Alicia del Rio, Tarah Taylor, and Cynthia Ginyard officially cast Texas’s votes for Joe Biden as the next Democratic presidential nominee. They also participated in a Thursday virtual townhall hosted by the Texas Democratic Party to discuss what brought them to become delegates and what they’ll be doing to elect Joe Biden in the coming months.

The Texas Democratic Party also hosted a pre-show conversation on the final night of the Convention, featuring Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa, Texas Democratic Party Vice Chair Dr. Carla Brailey, Former Georgia House Democratic Leader and Founder of Fair Fight Action Stacey Abrams, US Senate Candidate MJ Hegar, Former Congressman and Powered by People Founder Beto O’Rourke, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro, and actor and activist Connie Britton.

Other Convention events included:

A Monday welcome reception breakfast with Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Congresswoman Veronica Escobar, and Congressman Marc Veasey

A Wednesday breakfast event for the delegation, hosted by Texas Democratic Party Vice Chair Dr. Carla Brailey and featuring Congressman Joaquin Castro, Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, State Representative Trey Martinez Fischer and Texas House Democratic Caucus Chair Celia Israel. 

A Wednesday Virtual Watch Party with Former Ambassador Susan Rice, Congressman Vicente Gonzalez, Congressional Candidate Sri Preston Kulkarni,  Texas Democratic Party Voter Protection Director Rose Clouston, and Biden for President Texas State Director Rebecca Acuna.