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It's CarolinaFest 2012!, Labor Day weekend and the Democratic National Convention all rolled into one big celebration.

This is what democracy (and Democrats) looks like—a multi-cultural throng under a Big Tent coming together on Labor Day Weekend to kick-off the Democratic National Convention 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  

I'm stressing community because political conventions, with all the hoopla, hats and banners are usually participated in by party delegates, along with hordes of media.  

It is very apt that the kick-off is on Labor Day weekend, for the party that is standing up for unions, and those of us who work are coming together to plan and fight for four more years for Democrats.

The city of Charlotte and the DNC have worked hard to make this an event that embraces community participation.

Thousands wait for community credentials to President Obama's acceptance speech

CHARLOTTE--Thousands of people across the state are getting their hands on community credentials to take part in the upcoming Democratic National Convention. Starting Saturday morning, folks were able to get a pass for the September 6 event, to see President Obama and Vice President Biden accept their party's nomination at Bank of America Stadium in Uptown Charlotte.

For more than 12 hours, Steven Grimes and his friend Sheila Moore waited to be the first ones to get their hands on community credentials.

"We got here at 9:30 and we tried to get here so we can make sure we can get a ticket to go to the convention because we don't want to miss it,” said Grimes.

The duo slept in the car for much of the night. Then like many others, they pulled out their Obama gear and some lawn chairs to claim their spot in line.

"I don't want to miss this for the world! I made sure I took my vacation a couple a weeks ago so I could be here for this,” said Grimes.

(Continue reading below the fold.)

Charlotte, North Carolina, the host city, has interesting demographics:

According to the 2010 United States Census, the racial composition of Charlotte was:

    Non-Hispanic Whites: 45.1%
    Black or African American: 35.0%
    Hispanic or Latino American (of any race): 13.1%
    Asian American: 5.0%
    Native American: 0.5%
    Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander: 0.1%
    some other race: 6.8%
    two or more races: 2.7%

The city has been growing and diversifying, and reflects the look and feel of the new south.
pportrait, head shot of mayor Anthony Foxx of Charlotte NC
Mayor Anthony Foxx, Charlotte, North Carolina

The mayor is a Democrat, Anthony Foxx.

He took the oath of office on December 7, 2009, becoming the City’s 48th and youngest mayor.

Mayor Foxx’s political career began in 2005 with his election to City Council as an At-Large Representative and served two terms before being elected Mayor in 2009. As a Council Member, Foxx chaired the Transportation Committee, was a member of the Economic Development & Planning Committee, and served as Council’s representative to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Development Corporation and the Mecklenburg-Union Metropolitan Planning Organization.

During his first term as mayor, Foxx led a citywide pursuit to bid for the Democratic National Convention. The bid was successful when it was announced in February 2011 that Charlotte was selected to host the convention. Mayor Foxx serves as chair of the Charlotte in 2012 Host Committee, balancing his role as mayor and official host for the convention.

The CarolinaFest events lineup has some major names like James Taylor, Jeff Bridges and the Abiders, and Janelle Monáe. Speakers at the convention reflect the real diversity of our party.

I want to highlight two groups that you may not be familiar with.

I'm a strong believer in arts education, and the role the arts play in educating and uplifting our youth.  

Inspire the Fire is one such group.

The central purpose of the program is not to develop professional artists.  Rather, the program strives to raise awareness and appreciation of artistic abilities of all students and to recognize and develop the outstanding talents of many students who would not be identified as gifted and talented through academic tests or other traditional means.

One of the other regional groups to take the stage is Latino.  

North Carolina is experiencing a rapid growth in its Latino population. This new mix of Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Colombians and more is reflected in census data which reports, "latino population growth is responsible for 28.34% of all growth in the state from 2000 to 2010." What better group to "represent" at the festival than West End Mambo?

West End Mambo

Formed in 1999, West End Mambo is comprised of musicians from North, South and Central America as well as the Caribbean. This nine piece band performs a fiery mix of classic salsa from bolero and rumbas to guaracha and son montuno. Their repertoire includes original orchestral salsa arrangements which they have performed with the Winston-Salem and Greensboro Symphonies.
I'll have my salsa shoes on at home, since I can't go to Charlotte.

CarolinaFest events reflect many other interesting Carolina Stories.

The eyes of the nation will be on Charlotte. The future of our nation moving forward will depend on your votes.

Obama-Biden 2012.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sun Sep 02, 2012 at 01:30 PM PDT.

Also republished by LatinoKos, Black Kos community, Barriers and Bridges, I Vote for Democrats, and DKOMA.

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