Hillary Clinton Rally - March 30, 2016, Harlem USA

L. R. Laverde-HansenStarred Page By L. R. Laverde-Hansen, 1st Apr 2016 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/3-m085_a/
Posted in Wikinut>Reviews>Gigs & Shows

On Wednesday, March 30th, I attended a morning rally for Presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton at the historic Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York.

Hearing about and Attending the Rally

Sometimes you gotta thank Facebook.

One of my buddies on the social network (Seth Bisen-Hersch) sent me the message on the day before, that Hillary Clinton was going to have a rally in Harlem on 125th Street. It was to be held around 11AM inside the historic Apollo Theater, where every entertainment legend from Stevie Wonder to Ella Fitzgerald to Michael Jackson has performed.

Thinking it might start as early as 9AM, I got there before 8:30. By that time, a small crowd was already forming. I asked a group of Hillary Clinton's staff where to go, and a coordinator directed me to the line on the other side of the theater. Soon I found my place on the line and waited, while talking to other supporters.

On the line going in

Along the line, I saw a variety of signs, some of then handmade, and some of them printed up by the campaign. Media reporters started to form alongside our line. One supporter, who was in front me of me with a Hillary-emblazoned canvas bag, was interviewed by at least two television news reporters (complete with video cameras).

I enjoyed chatting with other supporters, as we were waiting to be let in. People told me that they had signed up for the rally online. I then became a little nervous. I did not register for the rally the day before, but through the magic of the smartphone, I was able to sign right up, as I was waiting. People were very friendly to each other. One young woman offered us her banana, since she wasn't going to eat it. No one accepted it, but we appreciated the gesture.

What impressed me was the size and variety of the supporters for Hillary Clinton. I saw white people and people of color, men and women, young and old throughout the crowd. There doesn't seem to be some typical demographic Hillary voter. I also wanted to talk to and question other supporters (Full disclosure: I am a passionate Hillary supporter myself, having written an endorsement here last year). I asked what made them come out for her. Many cited her experience, especially her work with President Obama (some supported Obama in 2008). Others felt that she had more realistic policy proposals than Senator Bernie Sanders.

Entering the Theater

After more than an hour, we were let in. The security in the lobby was tight, since Hillary was a Presidential candidate, people attending her events are searched by the Secret Service. Hard bottles and strange objects had to be discarded in order to enter. The women with us had to surrender her banana (Apparently fruit might be a weapon.). After security was finished, we passed through one by one.

Eventually I found a seat right in the middle, fewer than ten rows from the front. This was my first time at the Apollo, and I saw that it was a modest-sized theater with a long history. There was a mezzanine just behind us and balconies on both sides of the stage. The stage was large enough to accommodate the candidate as well as a decent cross section of her supporters. I was seated next to all the people I was in line with, which was enjoyable.

Event in the Apollo

Finally after another hour of sound checks and fairly good music being played by the DJ, the event started to get underway. Charlie Rangel, the long-time Harlem Congressman strolled from one wing of the stage to the other wearing a slick black-leather jacket. Congressman Rangel has represented Harlem for over forty years. Since he announced he is planning to retire after this legislative term, this visit served as a sort of victory lap for him. He certainly looked as cool as any politico I've ever seen, this side of Obama.

Then came on Renée Elise Goldsberry a performer from the hit Broadway musical Hamilton. After her own heartfelt introduction, she gave a strong rendition of the national anthem to officially begin the rally.

Later, Senator Charles Schumer, Democrat from New York came on stage with the candidate herself, Hillary Rodham Clinton, who served with him as Senator from New York for eight years (2001-2008). Senator Schumer not only made the general case why he thought Hillary was the better candidate, but went into specific examples what Hillary had done as Senator, such as getting funding to help rebuild downtown Manhattan in the aftermath of September 11th. Over and over again in a surprisingly long introduction (after saying Hillary needed no introduction), he pointed out the things, only a true colleague would have observed first hand. He also gave her high praise for leading the investigations about September 11th first-responders, which eventually led to the creation of the Zadroga Act.

Then Hillary herself came up to speak. People were cheering so much that she had to ask the people to have a seat. Although I already supported her, I was concerned how she would sound. Some of the coverage of her speaking this campaign season appeared less than flattering, but this was one of the best speeches I had heard her make. Surprisingly, her voice had a strong commanding, but not offensive tone to her supporters, though it showed an urgency and determination that media clips had not captured before.

She did focus a lot on September 11th, but I felt that was understandable, as this had been the major event under her watch as Senator from New York. She also pointed out how much she fought to get funding for upstate New York too, arguing that it was hard with a Republican president and a Senate that was often in Republican control.

She referred to Donald Trump's most recent nasty comments, which some have said do not truly reflect the man. For this she quoted the poet Maya Angelou, "When someone shows you who they are, believe them." She closed her speech with stirring rhetoric about what she wanted to do for America, and how we had to work together to make it a reality. The crowd was impressed. She really came across better than the press has covered her.

The Takeaway

Obviously this was a campaign rally, and the objective was to show a presidential candidate in the best light possible. The crowd cheering on stage was supposed to reflect the diversity of support that looked the most photogenic. But that diversity was but a sample of the people all around in the audience. The one thing I didn't like about the stage group was that it was overrepresented by women. That may have been a strategic move, but there was a decent amount of men in the seats at the Apollo Theater.

Another thing I noticed was that there is a genuine enthusiasm among her supporters. While there is a strong push for Bernie Sanders in the Democratic party, Hillary still has received over two million more votes than her challenger from the State of Vermont. In so many ways, this rally was more than about the candidate on the stage; it was about what that candidate represents to so many people all over this state, all over this country and all over the world.

The New York Presidential Primary Elections will be held on Tuesday, April 19th.

Composed and Revised in New York
April 1-8, 2016


Harlem, Hillary Clinton 2016, Hillary For President, New York City

Meet the author

author avatar L. R. Laverde-Hansen
Poet, playwright, commentator. I write wherever I can. Currently I reside in the City of New York.

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author avatar Shamarie
12th Apr 2016 (#)

Awesome post, L.R.!!! I remember that day in Harlem!

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author avatar Steve Kinsman
13th Apr 2016 (#)

As to that 2 million more votes she has reportedly received. Bernie most likely won Massachusetts, since ever single precinct that voted by paper ballot Bernie won overwhelmingly. Every single precinct which voted by machine Hillary won. Odds of that happening are astronomical, so the fix was undoubtedly in in Massachusetts. Arizona - ultra long lines and few voting sites in the poorer precincts, strong Bernie Areas. Students not allowed to vote due to strict ID law. Thousands of independents who registered as Democrats who showed up to vote for Bernie were told they had registered as Libertarians, and not allowed to vote.

Bernie wins Wyoming 54-46 percent and receives 7 delegates while she gets 11. The Democratic Party is pulling out all the stops, some highly illegal, to make certain Sanders cannot win. It's disgusting and it's why, for me. it's Bernie or bust.

Glad you enjoyed the rally. I watched the video of Bernie's rally at the Apollo and it was fantastic. You should check it out. Harry Belafonte was amazing.

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author avatar L. R. Laverde-Hansen
13th Apr 2016 (#)

Funny how you completely dismiss the support of one candidate as being the result of things unsavory. Even in many states she lost, the votes were close. In Arizona, voters of color were disenfranchised--these votes have been breaking for Hillary throughout most of the country.

As for the "Democratic Party"--yes it's the Democratic Party--not the Independent or the Green or the Socialist party. An outsider, in my view, is not entitled to just walk in and just take over a party--doesn't work that way.

Allegations of irregularities are one thing: if you allege fraud due to a specific campaign, please file charges. Otherwise it is just another smear campaign.

Additionally Sanders campaign not so lily clean itself. Staffers sacked last year for peeking at computer files of Hillary and DNC. Sanders campaign staffers and volunteers--including Susan Sarandon--have made individual yet overt attempts to prevent people from voting. And Sanders people through procedural finagling worthy of Ted Cruz--took the Nevada votes, even though HIllary won the caucuses back in February.

See not so righteous, but definitely self righteous.

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author avatar SaigonDeManila
3rd May 2016 (#)

Looks like its an inevitable Trump vs Clinton...angry men vs. status quo.

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