Media prepares for convention coverage

Local, regional, national and international media organizations continue to prepare for their coverage of this September’s 2012 Democratic National Convention. qnotes was among the many news agencies present at the Democratic National Convention Committee’s (DNCC) final media logistics walkthrough on June 5. The tour of Time Warner Cable Arena, the Charlotte Convention Center, Bank of America Stadium and Charlotte Motor Speedway offered media the opportunity to stake out their assigned and other media workspaces, inquire into important aspects of convention coverage and planning and speak with representatives of various vendors contracted to provide services like telecommunications and workspace construction.

Approximately 15,000 journalists are expected to attend the convention. qnotes is planning to be among them. To date, our plans include extensive opportunities for covering local, regional and national LGBT issues, delegates, elected officials and others. qnotes’ team will consist of staff and contract freelancers. Opportunities for community members to offer their own convention-related contributions in the form of written submissions, photos and video will be announced soon.

— Matt Comer

Convention legacy programs launched

Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx participated in the “You CAN, Make It Better” event at Piedmont Middle School to kick off the Charlotte in 2012 Convention Host Committee’s convention legacy programs. The “You CAN, Make it Better” program follows First Lady Michelle Obama’s lead in drawing attention and urgency to reducing childhood obesity and is part of the Healthy Children, Healthy Families legacy initiative.

“This convention is about more than just politics — it is about the legacy the event will leave on Charlotte and North Carolina. This event is an example of how the energy and excitement of the convention can catalyze efforts to promote healthy practices among children and families,” Mayor Foxx said. “We want the legacy programs to get people to act, think and talk in a way that can help our already great city get even stronger.”

Mayor Foxx created the four legacy programs to help ensure that the convention leaves a positive, lasting impact on the local region. By leaving a legacy, the convention has the potential to be more than an event; it can be a galvanizing moment for citizens to pull together and work to provide a strong future for the community. In addition to the Healthy Children, Healthy Families program, the other legacies are Youth Employment and Civic Education; Building a Broader, More Inclusive Economy; and Energy, Technology, and Sustainability. Legacy-related events and partnerships will continue throughout the summer.

— O’Neale Atkinson

Community garden project part of legacy program

On June 1, the Charlotte in 2012 Convention Host Committee and Charlotte Community Health Clinic launched a community garden as a part of Mayor Foxx’s “Healthy Children, Healthy Families” convention legacy program established to help ensure that the convention leaves a positive, lasting impact on the local region.

“This community garden exemplifies the kind of long-term impact we all can make to improve the health of our children and families in Charlotte,” Mayor Foxx said.

The community garden will provide locally grown healthy food for the clinic’s patients and used as a tool for patients to learn more about their own health, live healthier lives and manage diseases like diabetes and heart disease. After the garden is planted, patients at the Charlotte Community Health Clinic will tend to its upkeep. Friendship Gardens, which has been working with Charlotte in 2012, will provide plants and supplies to the garden and will provide ongoing support to the garden.

— O’Neale Atkinson

Kids Convention 2012 engages youth in convention

On June 2, the Charlotte in 2012 Convention Host Committee, GenerationNation, and the EpiCentre hosted a different kind of convention where in place of convention delegates, the children of Charlotte were in the spotlight. The event was a part of the Youth Employment and Civic Education initiative in Mayor Anthony Foxx’s convention legacy programs.

Kids Convention 2012, a non-partisan family event in preparation for the 2012 Democratic National Convention, ran from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. on June 2. More than 500 children between kindergarten and the eighth grade attended the event with parents and community leaders. Close to 100 teenagers between 15 and 18 years old volunteered by running stations gaining professional experience with mentorship from Charlotte in 2012 staff. Additionally, families were encouraged to bring school supplies to donate them to Freedom School Partners — a local youth organization offering summer enrichment programs for scholars.

The slogan for the event was “We Make It Possible!” and taught kids and adults more about the democratic process of a nominating convention. The event offered fun activities to educate the attendees about civic engagement and provided kid-friendly entertainment.

“While the children of Charlotte may not have political sway just yet, it is our hope that this Kids Convention will help spark an early interest in the political process. We have the opportunity to use the Democratic National Convention as a civics lesson to lay the groundwork for turning our youth into educated future leaders,” Mayor Foxx said.

The Youth Employment and Civic Education initiative of the legacy program aims to engage 1,000 or more young people in what will be an incredible civics lesson and build skills and experience that will equip them for jobs and careers.

— O’Neale Atkinson