By Yadira Betances
LAWRENCE, MASS. — As one of 116 delegates from Massachusetts, Mayor Dan Rivera was able to see the democratic process first hand, as well as meet some celebrities at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia July 25-29.
“Every now and then there is a conversation about something that happened at the convention which everyone is talking about and I can say I was there,” Rivera said.
He said there were several highlights for him at the convention. The first was President Barack Obama’s resounding speech.
“He had to say what he did for the last eight years. You have to see this in a real way,” Rivera said. “It was really moving to me.”
Then, the historic moment when Hillary Clinton became the first female presidential nominee for a major party.
“I was really excited because I had the opportunity to be at this historic moment representing Lawrence in a national event,” Rivera said.
Rivera was also touched by Bernie Sanders’ brother casting a vote for him with tears in his eyes.
“It was a bittersweet moment and a sign of the victory for Hilary” Rivera said. As for Hilary’s speech, he said: “She did what she had to do and spoke as the leader that she is. She is who she is, a person who cares about details and people’s lives are in the details,”.
Rivera known as media savvy for frequently posting about events on Facebook, Tweeter and Instagram, did not shy away from social media. Him and Newton Mayor Setti Warren had a broadcast on Facebook at 9:30 a.m. #massmayorsinphilly with guests from Massachusetts including senators Ed Markey and Dan Wolf and Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Healey.
Then there are also the memories of meeting celebrities like Rosie Pérez, Paul Simon, Rosario Gossin and newscaster Wolf Blitzen. Warren would joke with Rivera on which Hollywood star he had met the day before during their morning broadcasts.
Rivera said he will treasure the contents of the goody bag they received at the convention which included pins and a donkey stuffed animal. Other mementos are his train ticket from South Station to Philadelphia, his delegate pass, programs and signs of towns of the different speakers.
“By virtue that it happened, they are keepsakes,” Rivera said.
He said attending the convention was more meaningful having grown up in a housing project in Lawrence, raised by a single mother who immigrated from the Dominican Republic.
“It teaches kids that if you work hard, there are no limits to what you can achieve and you can do anything you imagine,” Rivera said.
Rivera even had time for sightseeing landmarks such as the Liberty Bell and Constitution Hall.