Thousands of politicians, activists, and citizens alike are flooding into Philadelphia this week from all over the country. While these delegates represent all fifty states in the country, two of these delegates will not only be serving their country, but representing Temple University.
Alex Jarin is a graduate student in the department of History at Temple. He considers himself to be a political scholar, studying the different perspectives and nuances in government. However, after attending four of the last five Democratic National Conventions with his parents, he wanted to do more than just observe.
“It is a sacred duty, a God given right, to be able to think for yourself and make sure this country is with the right person,” he says.
It was the experience of being in the heart of the political landscape that inspired Jarin to run as a delegate. He canvassed the 8th Congressional District in Washington Crossing and the Newhope area to get enough signatures to get on the ballot. That process was no easy task.
“In most cases, you have to drive to almost every single registered democrat’s house, so if you have to do that for eight, nine, even ten hours a day, and you’re only one person, it can take a long time to get all the required signatures.
Temple alum Malcolm Kenyatta also ran to to be a delegate at the convention. Kenyatta hails from North Philadelphia, and graduated Temple in 2012 with a B.A in Public Communication. Kenyatta went on to earn his Masters Degree in Public Communication from Drexel University. He now works at the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce after making several stints in political offices around the city, His experience in and around the City of Brotherly Love showed in his support- running for the 2nd Congressional District, Kenyatta received more than 82,000 votes, the highest of any male candidate in the state.
“A big part of what was helpful for me throughout the whole process was just the relationship that I’ve built here in North Philly,” Kenyatta admits. “And doing the programs and events that I do, through that people have gotten to know me and they’ve gotten to trust me and they believe that I’m, going to go to the convention and talk about and fight for the things I think are important.”
Kenyatta is even more excited that the convention will be in the backyard of the city the molded him and raised him. He expresses that despite Philadelphia’s struggle with poverty and jobs, the city still has tremendous promise, drive, and will play an excellent host for the convention.
“We’re going to be in the best place in the world, we’re going to be nominating a phenomenal candidate, and we’re going to be talking about the issues that we care about.”
While Jarin did not get elected as a delegate, he and Kenyatta will both be heading to the convention in support of Secretary Hillary Clinton.
While Jarin is a strong supporter of her economical and foreign policy agenda, he is also no stranger to the Clinton family. His parents have been friends with the Clinton’s for over 25 years, and he’s had the chance to talk to them at past conventions. One of his favorite memories is from when he was 8; his family got invited into the Oval Office to visit with Bill Clinton, the President at the time.
“It’s one of the favorite photos,” Jarin said, referencing a picture taken of his family with Bill Clinton in the oval office.
Kenyatta has a more personal tie to the Secretary of State. Growing up poor in North Philadelphia, he attributes Clinton’s Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) as the reason he was able to have health insurance as a child.
“I remember that…because of CHIP, having insurance and being able to go to a doctor, which is such a normal thing, that so many people without insurance we’re able to do.”
Having the opportunity to nominate the first women of any major party for President is something the two of them will never forget.
“It will be very, very fascinating,” Jarin said about the historic gravity of this convention.
Kenyatta remembers the first time he saw Clinton speak, when she made a campaign stop at Temple in 2008 during her presidential campaign.
“Hour in line, waiting to hear her speak, at the top of the tippy top of the bleachers, to now be on the floor voting for her- that’s pretty intense”