March 7 – My daughter, Bridgit, accomplishing what she sets her mind to!

“Mom, I want to be a delegate to the Democratic National Convention,” my 19-year old daughter said while on the phone with me. She was calling from Barnard, where she was finishing up her Freshman year of college. I chuckled to myself, thinking how I loved that Bridgit’s generation seems to think they can do anything. I just listened, not wanting to say anything that would burst her bubble. But to me, this seemed like a very lofty goal. As she continued to talk, I realized she was serious. She had read the rules and sent in the paperwork and was on the ballet to speak at the 8th Districts Democratic Convention meeting in a few weeks.

So on Saturday, May 17, 2006, I tagged along with her to the Convention held in an auditorium at a local school. When it was time for the speeches, I sat in the front row as nine women lined up, each to give a 3-minute speech about why they should be a District-elected Delegate at the National Convention. Two women would be chosen from the nine. Bridgit, confidently, joined the line, 2nd from the end. I noted that she was the youngest by far.

When it was her turn, she began:
Hello. My name is Bridgit Donnelly….At the beginning of this year, I never imagined I would be standing before you today. I never imagined that I would forgo schoolwork to host phone banking parties out of my dorm. I never imagined that I would march from 135th Street in Harlem down to 59th Street in Columbus Circle with a group of 100 or so other Obama supporters, chanting “Yes We Can!” I never imagined that I would give up my Spring Break to go to Pennsylvania and register young people to vote for the first time. I never imagined I would skip school to go back and help them get to the polls. I never imagined that I would actually read the enormously long document explaining the procedure of how to file to run for National Delegate. And I especially never imagined that just two days ago I would sign the paperwork to take the fall semester off to campaign for Barack Obama….
I know that I do not have much of a chance at getting to the National Convention as a District-elected Delegate. I am just grateful for the chance to stand among such a dedicated group of people and be considered for this position. Thank you for considering me, and I look forward to Barackin’ the Vote with all of you in November. Thank you.”

The crowd clapped loudly for Bridigt and after the final women spoke, ballets were distributed and those in the room checked the two men and two women they wanted to represent at the National Convention them from the VA 8th District. Then the counting of votes began. Many came up to Bridgit and congratulated her on her speech. A little while later one man came over and said, “I was in the room counting.It looks really good.” Then minutes later, Mayor Euille was saying, “The female delegates will be Cristina Chiappe, and the young woman from Arlington who stole all of our hearts, Bridgit Donnelly.”

I love that on May 17, 2008, my daughter taught me that if you want something, you go for it!! I hope I can always be as brave as she is! 

To see Bridgit’s blog notes and her complete speech, read below:

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Virginia 8th District Convention

So today, I went to the Virginia 8th District Convention as an Obama Alternate Delegate, meaning if one of the Arlington Obama delegates didn’t show up, I could take their spot. But of course everyone showed up, so I was just there for fun and to hear from our lovely elected officials: Sen. Jim Webb, Rep. Jim Moran, and Mayor Bill Euille of Alexandria.

Also, I was there running as a District-Level National Delegate, meaning I would get to go to Denverand the DNC Convention. However, the Obama campaign had chosen a slate of 5 candidates to go to the convention, to try and ensure that the delegation would represent the diversity of the district. The delegates didn’t have to choose them, but they were a slate, nonetheless. So I wasn’t getting my hopes up. I was just there to see how the whole thing worked and get my name out there so I could run successfully in four years.

Then I gave the following speech:

“Hello. My name is Bridgit Donnelly. I graduated from Washington-LeeHigh School last year, and I just finished my first year at Barnard College in New York City. I stand before you today to wholeheartedly endorse Barack Obama. You may not think my endorsement means much, but consider this. I am one of the many youth who have never been involved in politics besides reading the morning paper or maybe making some phone calls for a local candidate. One of the many who thought you had to know somebody to be involved with processes like these.

At the beginning of this year, I never imagined I would be standing before you today. I never imagined that I would forgo schoolwork to host phone banking parties out of my dorm. I never imagined that I would march from 135th Street in Harlem down to 59th Street in Columbus Circle with a group of 100 or so other Obama supporters, chanting “Yes We Can!” I never imagined that I would give up my Spring Break to go to Pennsylvaniaand register young people to vote for the first time. I never imagined I would skip school to go back and help them get to the polls. I never imagined that I would actually read the enormously long document explaining the procedure of how to file to run for National Delegate. And I especially never imagined that just two days ago I would sign the paperwork to take the fall semester off to campaign for Barack Obama.

But standing in Washington Square Parkon a beautiful September evening, something happened. Standing there, with people from every walk of life – young, old, rich, poor, black, white, Hispanic, Asian – all there to hear Barack Obama speak, I realized that if we can all come together, we can all have a say this year. It’s not like the elections of years past. You don’t need to know somebody to make a difference. This year, WE get to decide what we want for our future. And WE choose Senator Barack Obama because WE know that he has brought people together across this country. We know that WE have made a difference.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a spectacular group of people running for National Delegate. We have all worked extremely hard to get Senator Obama to where he is today. And I know that we will all work even harder to get him to the White House. I know that I do not have much of a chance at getting to the National Convention as a District-elected Delegate. I am just grateful for the chance to stand among such a dedicated group of people and be considered for this position. Thank you for considering me, and I look forward to Barackin’ the Vote with all of you in November. Thank you.”

The delegates were extremely inspired and kept telling me how awesome my speech was. Was it really that good? Well then, thanks Prof. Stokes for teaching me how to write a speech in Reacting! Anyway, I was still not hopeful. Many of the delegates had come to the convention knowing who they were voting for. Some had even already turned in their ballots and left before I spoke (I mean, we had been there for 6 hours!). So I wasn’t hopeful.

But then people started coming over and telling me they had voted for me. People from every VirginiaDemocratic group were trying to get me involved and giving me their business cards. While I was chatting with the Obama campaign representative about helping them out, a man came over and said, “It looks good for you.” I didn’t want to believe him until he said, “I was in the room counting. It looks really good.”

Sure enough, minutes later, Mayor Euille was saying, “The female delegates will be Cristina Chiappe, and the young woman from Arlington who stole all of our hearts, Bridgit Donnelly.”

So there you have it. I’m going to Denver as a Delegate! Like, I’ll be on the floor when Barack gives his speech! I won’t have to sneak in or hope I get a good volunteer post. I’m gonna be there! Thanks again to everyone in the 8th District who voted for me! I promise I will serve you well!

 
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One thought on “March 7 – My daughter, Bridgit, accomplishing what she sets her mind to!

  1. Jackie says:

    You must be so proud! When I read this my faith in our youth is soaring. I hope Bridgit continues to be passionate with how we select our leaders…and it sounds like she could be on her way of being a leader. Thank goodness for the Bridgits in the world…especially taking time to follow her passion. Jackie http://familytrove.blogspot.com/

    Like

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