According to Hillary Clinton, Biden and Harris are, “the team to pull our nation back from the brink.” Here are the main highlights from the Democratic National Convention.

Actress Kerry Washington opened tonight’s convention, encouraging viewers to vote for Biden. “We fight,” she said, “for a more perfect Union, because we are fighting for the soul of this country, and for our lives.” This Union, she continued, is “not without flaws,” so instead say “more perfect Union.” On the heels of the anniversary of universal suffrage for white women, and the ongoing struggle for racial equality, speakers repeatedly emphasized the flaws and progress of modern America.

The night continued with addresses from more prominent Democrats, including Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, and performances from celebrities, including Billie Eilish.

DeAndra Dycus: “One shot changed our lives forever”

Tonight’s convention focused heavily on gun violence and the Democratic plan to combat unrestricted gun ownership. A mother of gun violence victim and member of the activist group Moms Demand Action, DeAndra Dycus, described her son’s experience. 

“One shot changed our lives forever,” said Dycus. After a shooting, Dycus’ son suffered severe injuries. “Today,” she shared, my Dre does not talk. He does not walk. I know he knows me by the smile he shows when I walk in his room. But I’m unsure if he knows a gunshot has changed his life.” DeAndra believes Joe Biden is a president who will care “about our pain and grief.” 

Former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, and fellow gun violence survivor, agrees. “We can let the shooting continue, or,” Giffords offered, “we can act. We can protect our families, our future. We can vote.”

Billie Eilish: “Silence is not an option, and we cannot sit this one out.”

Teenage pop singer Billie Eilish performed her new song, “my future,” tonight. Before her performance, Eilish, dubbed a “voice of her generation” by host Kerry Washington, made a statement in support of Biden. “We all have to vote like our lives, and the world, depend on it, because they do. The only way to be certain of our future is to make it ourselves.”

She addressed her young fans: “please register. Please vote.” Silence, she said, “is not an option, and we cannot sit this one out.”

Hillary Clinton: “Joe and Kamala can win by 3 million votes and still lose, take it from me”

2016 Democratic Presidential Nominee, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, recounted her early optimism about the Trump presidency. “The morning after the last election,” Clinton recalled saying “we owe Donald Trump an open mind and the chance to lead.” Trump failed, according to Clinton, to “put his own interests and ego aside.” He could not see “the humanity in a child ripped from their parents at the border, or a protestor calling for justice, or a family wiped out by natural disaster.”

Trump asked “what do you have to lose?” in 2016. Clinton responded tonight: “Well, now we know. Our healthcare, our jobs, our loved ones, our leadership in the world, and even our post office.” However, according to Clinton, Biden and Harris are, “the team to pull our nation back from the brink.”

Clinton ended her remarks jokingly gesturing towards her 2016 popular vote victory, “don’t forget, Joe and Kamala can win by 3 million votes and still lose, take it from me.”

Nancy Pelosi: “We will remember in November”

Pelosi’s remarks promised fundamental change if voters remove Trump from office, elect Biden, and install a Democratic Senate. The only obstacles between Americans and protection for dreamers, LGBTQ equality, an end to gun violence, and climate preservation are “Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump.” Pelosi said the Democratic House sent the Senate bills on each of these issues. 

On these promises, she encouraged viewers to support Biden this election, to “remember in November” how Trump and McConnell blocked these reforms.

Hilda Solice, Former US Secretary of Labor: “No one is going to be a stronger voice”

The former Secretary of Labor, under the Obama administration, Hilda Solice, made short but strong remarks in favor of her former colleague, Biden. Borrowing a phrase Biden spoke at her own swearing in ceremony, Solace promised “no one, no one is going to be a stronger voice than our next President, Joe Biden.”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren: “The way I see it, big problems demand big solutions.”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Biden’s former primary rival and contender for the vice presidential nomination, made a statement in support of Biden tonight, as well. Warren referenced her familiar ‘I’ve got a plan for that’ campaign slogan to pitch her old rival.

“Now, I love a good plan and Joe Biden has some good plans,” Warren said. “Plans to bring back union jobs in manufacturing and create new union jobs in clean energy, plans to increase social security benefits, cancel billions in student loan debt, and make our bankruptcy laws work for families, instead of the creditors who cheat them.”

“Donald Trump and the Republicans who enable him,” made the coronavirus crisis worse and Warren believes “on November 3rd, we will hold them all accountable” by voting Biden.

President Barack Obama: “What we do these next 76 days will echo through generations to come”

Former President Obama, for whom Biden served as Vice President, delivered his much anticipated remarks tonight. Obama criticized Trump harshly, saying although he “never expected my successor would embrace [his] vision or continue [his] policies,” he “did hope for the sake of our country that Donald Trump might show some interest in taking the job seriously…to feel some reverence for the office.” Trump “never did.”

Biden, on the other hand, is a “friend,” and “brother” to Obama, who “learned early on to treat every man he meets with dignity.” Biden and Harris “actually care about every American.”

Obama encouraged viewers to participate in the upcoming election, arguing that Republican leadership depends on unhelpful cynicism about electoral politics.

“This president and those in power, those who benefit from keeping things the way they are,” he said. “They are counting on your cynicism. They know they can’t win you over with their policies. So they’re hoping to make it as hard as possible for you to vote, and to convince you that your vote does not matter. That is how they win.” The election is of extreme importance, said Obama, “what we do these next 76 days will echo through generations to come.”

Sen. Kamala Harris:  “a promise worth fighting for”

Tonight’s final speaker was the first Black and Indian American Democratic Vice Presidential nominee, Sen. Kamala Harris. Harris paid tribute to the women of color who fought for the Civil Rights which allow her to participate in public service. “They were undeterred,” she said, “without fanfare or recognition. They organized and testified and rallied and marched and thought not just for their vote, but for a seat at the table. These women and the generations that followed worked to make democracy and opportunity, real in the lives of those who followed.”

The promise of equality under the law, Harris argued, is “a promise worth fighting for.” Years from now, Harris predicted, our children and grandchildren will “ask us where were you when the stakes were so high,” when this promise was at stake?

“They will ask us what it was like, and we will tell them. We will tell them, not just how we felt, we will tell them what we did. Thank you,” she said. “God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.”

Ava DeSantis is Gen Z Voice at The Pavlovic Today. She has a background in political science and history at George Washington University.    

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