Non-Delegates Going to Democratic Convention to Witness History

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This weekend, hundreds of Californians are flying to Denver for the Democratic National Convention. Besides the delegates, reporters, politicians, and lobbyists, there's another group going. KPCC's Special Correspondent Kitty Felde reports it's just average folks who want to be part of history.

Kitty Felde: Lydia Thomas doesn't have tickets to any of the big donor parties in Denver. She doesn't even have one of the 76,000 tickets for Barack Obama's acceptance speech at Invesco Field on the final night of the Democratic National Convention. But Thomas and her two sisters-in-law are going to Denver anyway.

Lydia Thomas: We have been so excited by this entire campaign from the beginning, and we want to be there when history is made.

Felde: The history is, of course, the first African-American chosen to be the presidential nominee by one of the major political parties. Lydia Thomas is retired from the Department of Social Services, and she's old enough to remember the civil rights movement.

Thomas: For example, I integrated St. Bernadette's School. I remember being a child watching the civil rights marches on TV with my parents. And just to go from that point to now is just, is just historical, is just an astronomical leap. So I want to be there when it happens.

Felde: Thomas isn't worried that she doesn't know anyone in Denver.

Thomas: A few weeks ago I went to one of the 4,000 events that were held in one day for the Obama campaign, and 70 people were at this home in Pasadena. I didn't know anybody other than my sister-in-laws. But there was such an electricity in the air, and the only thing we had in common was Obama.

Felde: Thomas has registered online and pestered local politicians to get tickets to Obama's acceptance speech. But even if she doesn't get in, she says it's enough just to watch the speech on a big screen in Denver.

Thomas: And my sister-in-law was saying, she's – one of them is 70 and the other is 68 – they'll never live to see anything like this again, so they want to be there when this happens.

Felde: We'll catch up with Lydia Thomas and her sisters-in-law next week in Denver.