Nuisance: The struggle to communicate between Bernie Sanders protesters and supporters, and their DNC delegates right across the street.

FDR Park is directly across the street from the Wells Fargo Center. Despite being so close, there are many layers of barriers, not to mention the walls of the Wells Fargo Center itself. Bernie Sanders supporters feel like their delegates are not hearing any other cries, and they are correct. The only people at the DNC that care about what they are saying, what they are feeling, are the Bernie delegates. But there is no way for them to hear or see any of it, and no way for the delegates to express their gratitude.

While I and other delegates livestreamed and felt listened to and appreciated by people around the country, those that mattered the most, those that traveled across the country to be there for us, were unreachable, despite being “right across the street.” It was hard to even know that they were there.

Had I thought about it, I would have told the staff of Philly.FYI (of which I am a founding member, and worked with full-time up through the week before the convention) and its main stage production crew to continually announce that delegates were live streaming on Citizens’ Media TV and elsewhere.

My biggest regret of the week

I was also told afterwards, in a conversation with supporter and journalist John Laurits, that the FDR Park main stage crew was indeed broadcasting DNC coverage on the jumbotrons, but they were showing mainstream media channels, which is the antithesis of what was wanted and needed. A simple phone call from me to the Philly.FYI crew could have come solved this problem in minutes. Instead of broadcasting mainstream media, they could have replaced it with livestreams from the delegates. I couldn’t have known, but it is my biggest regret of the week. It would’ve made a big difference, and I had the power to easily make it happen.

A very cool plan that never comes to pass

On Monday night in a text, Eric is the one that alerted me that supporters would be cheering at the gate as delegates exited their hotel shuttle buses to enter the convention. It’s what resulted in this morning’s moving encounter with Michelle, which is my favorite moment of the convention.

With assistance from my Citizens’ Media TV partner Adryenn Ashley, Eric and I planned a simultaneous two way live stream, between supporters at the FDR Park main stage and delegates across the street. In addition to just hearing each other for the first time, the goal was also to address the many growing rumors and exaggerated fears making their way across the street.

The FDR Park main stage production crew installed the Zoom application on their laptop, and confirmed that they could broadcast everything to the jumbotrons, and that they would have a video camera ready to stream supporters in the audience Back to us. I did a brief test broadcast, and they successfully put it on the jumbotrons.

(Adryenn and I have already used this app, to livestream multiple people at the same time via Facebook Live, once working, once failing (article coming…). The application worked, but the connection to Facebook Live failed. It turns out that Facebook is now adding this feature directly to Facebook Live over the next few months.)

It was planned for this double livestream to immediately follow the official end of the roll call vote on late Tuesday afternoon. Eric would be the emcee on the supporter side, and I would be on the Wells Fargo side. We still needed to do a full technical rehearsal, which we never ended up doing, but we we’re otherwise ready to go.

Throughout the day, I scheduled delegates to join me after the end of roll call, just outside of the building, but still within the security perimeter. Since the walkout occurred at exactly this time, this idea never came to pass. (It is also the reason I did not get to follow up on this.)

Because the technical rehearsal never happened, and because the overall event didn’t happen, when Eric and I encountered each other that night, he was emotional and apologetic. But it turns out that something even better happened the next day.

The reason

Although I didn’t realize it at the time, Eric and all of our supporters didn’t just make it easier to endure and fight the fight, they were the reason that we endured. They were the reason that we were fighting. Despite all of the layers of security between us, in our own ways, we were all fighting together.

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