Watching the Speech from a Watch Party
By Jose Antonio Vargas
DENVER -- It might be hard to find anyone who traveled farther than 27-year-old Abby Arnold to get here, just to be in the same city on the night Sen. Barack Obama gives his speech.
Arnold flew in from Aarhus, Denmark, with her Danish husband yesterday, and she's been driving around, map in hand, to several watch parties being held across Denver outside the Invesco Field. The first site she drove to was canceled. The second, at City Park, was already closed -- too many people.
And now, minutes after arriving on Washington Street here at Five Points, the historic black neighborhood, another viewing party is too packed to let her and husband in.
"I'm so mad at the Denver Post!" said Arnold, who's biracial and grew up in Trout Lake, Wash. She moved to Denmark seven years ago. "We read the list of viewing parties printed on the paper this morning and we still haven't find one!"
Here at Five Points, organizers of the Denver Jazz and Blues Festival erected a huge white tent and charged 5 dollars for the first 300 people who showed up. Four wide TV screens were tuned to CNN, and a diverse group of supporters, young and old, of all colors, is applauding Sen. Dick Durbin and chanting "Yes, We Can!"
Five Points is also where Elbra Wedgeworth, the former president of the Denver City Council grew up. Wedgeworth, an African American raised in a public housing project, is single-handedly responsible for bringing the convention to Mile Hile City. It was in the fall of 2005, a year after Obama won his Senate office, when Wedgeworth first broached the idea with Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean while he visited Colorado.
And tonight, Wedgeworth's old neighborhood, now an integrated community, buzzed while waiting for Obama to take the stage.
Meanwhile, Arnold and her husband, Steffen Furholm, their bottles of Pepsi and Mountain Dew in a grocery bag, headed back to the home of their temporary hosts.
Web Politics Editor
August 28, 2008; 10:26 PM ET
Categories: Barack Obama , Conventions , Democratic Party
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