First-time delegate Varisha Khan, 20, is one of the youngest voting representatives at the Democratic National Convention, which is in its third day today in Philadelphia.
Khan, a Seattle Globalist journalist and an American Muslim activist who went to the convention to cast a vote for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, spoke with the Globalist after the Democratic party nominated former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to be its nominee for president.
On being a Bernie Sanders supporter:
“Naturally when the person you’ve been fighting for loses, it’s not a happy moment, obviously. But coming into it yesterday was overwhelming for me as a first time delegate. Seeing so many individuals who have been working so hard for the last year or more in this election and coming together and elect the next president — potentially the next president — it’s pretty incredible to see so many people that have been working so hard for so long come together. Very powerful people in one space. On one hand that’s pretty amazing.”
“As a Bernie delegate myself from a state that overwhelmingly voted for Bernie Sanders, it’s been pretty incredible the way that played out in this election in this convention. Where we have people who do still believe in what Bernie Sanders was fighting for, what he stood for and still want to see that change being made in our government and our country. As well as what’s been going on in WikiLeaks — that’s been playing out in the party process as well. I think that had a major impact as well on delegates and individuals that are here to see a fair election and a fair democratic process.”
On the general election:
“I’ll leave that for when November comes around. I am an elector for the first congressional district in Washington state, my duty and responsibility is to vote for who my constituents and for Suzan Del Bene’s constituents and (to vote) for who they vote for.”
“This is a time for Americans to come together and to unify to condemn hate speech of all sorts. As we’ve seen, hate speech leads to hate crimes so we can’t live in a country that is OK with that going forward. We can’t have policies, we can’t have leaders that are OK with that. It’s absolutely critical for us for us to remind our leaders to do the right things and we stand up for what’s right.”
Meeting other delegates:
“Every state has its own shade of how they want to see progress. I think coming from Washington state, it’s pretty amazing to see that we’re not alone in our hunger for change and our hunger for fulfilling our duty and our responsibility as Americans and making sure that our country truly does push int he right direction for the next four years and forever.”
Missing from the platform so far:
“It would have been nice to have seen more calls to action and more recognition of Islamophobia and how prevalent it is for millions of Americans that face it every single day. Even for non-Muslims as well who have been facing the same discrimination, facing the same hate crimes that American Muslims have … The severity of the situation currently in America, we didn’t see the effort at that level to condemn at the level at that is — the urgency. We didn’t see the urgency to stand up against that.”