DNC Convention CEO, Rev. Leah Daughtry '88 Makes History

As authored by Mary Curtis with NBC News:

Rev. Daughtry had history on her side her first time as convention CEO in Denver in 2008, when Barack Obama was nominated to lead the presidential ticket. She understands the challenge ahead.

"Every four years you've got to go back out and earn the vote. You've to go back out and organize people, and convince people that you deserve their vote," she said. "Not having Obama at the head of the ticket means that we've got a little extra work to do, more than we normally do."

The job of convention CEO is in the early stages now, Daughtry said, and will encompass the big picture and small details -- everything from taking state chairs on a walkthrough of convention hotels to picking the artwork for the credentials and making sure all shuttle buses are 100 percent accessible so delegates who are in wheelchairs don't need a special schedule.

Add to that who's speaking and "what is the message and what happens Monday night and what happens Tuesday and Wednesday and what happens at a convention when you have a sitting president and two former living presidents and a nominee." Daughtry said she is looking to extend the principle of diversity as staff, contractors and vendors are hired. "It can't just be a speech on the stage, it's got to be what we live every day."

Could the Fannie Lou Hamers possibly have imagined that one day a black woman would preside over the convention? "I think, yes, they could, they did imagine it and that's why they fought so hard because they knew that this was possible that we had the intelligence, the temerity, the audacity to lead this party that they loved so much."

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