Unforgettable Moments for Local Figures at the DNC

La Cañada Flintridge was in the arena last week at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, where Hillary Clinton became the first woman nominated for U.S. president by a major political party.
Actress Angela Bassett, who lives in LCF, was on stage July 27 advocating for gun control.
Fellow LCF resident Teena Hostovich, who has worked on behalf of both the Clinton Foundation and President Barack Obama’s Organizing for Action nonprofit, was there with husband Doug and son Michael Martinet, who graduated from Flintridge Prep in 2014.
And longtime activist on immigration and labor issues Eliseo Medina was in attendance, handling duties as a member of the credentials committee while accompanied by his 18-year-old daughter, Lupita, who graduated from La Cañada High School.
They all had pretty good seats to witness the protests and powerhouse speakers that were part of a key chapter in one of the nation’s wildest elections yet.
Bassett presented Felicia Sanders and Polly Sheppard, the only adult survivors of the Emanuel AME massacre in Charleston, S.C., where nine were killed. In her remarks, Bassett told those gathered at the Wells Fargo Center: “After Charleston, Hillary Clinton challenged all of us to turn our grief into action, and we have to do that. Still, there are days when it feels like our bodies and our minds are under too much pressure. And then I remember that we have souls, too, and I thank God that our souls are on fire!”
The younger Martinet worked behind the scenes all week as an intern for DNC financial chair Henry Muñoz, helping out any way possible, Hostovich said.
“He admires Hillary very, very much and is very fond of her,” Hostovich said of her son, who has been a junior ambassador with the Clinton Foundation for several years and also interned at Obama’s campaign headquarters in Chicago four years ago.
She said her that while her son appreciated the historical significance of the event, seeing it happen wasn’t as mind-blowing for him as it was for her and women of her generation.
“A lot of his friends’ moms all have big jobs,” said Hostovich, who recalled asking him, in kindergarten, whether he might want to be a doctor or a lawyer when he grew up, only to hear him respond, “but those are girl jobs.”
“So it’s time,” Hostovich said, “to have a [woman] president.”
Lupita Medina said she surely was struck by the historical significance of the events, and that her first vote in California’s primary in June was for who she hopes will be the first female president. But it was Corey Booker’s impassioned speech that most inspired her during the convention.
“He really painted the picture of what was wrong with today, and that the solution is that we all need to get together because we are stronger together,” Lupita said. “The chills that I got — it was a hot room, crowded, and I still got the chills.”
Her father said he was most moved by Pakistani immigrants Khizer and Ghazala Khan, the parents of U.S. Army Capt. Humayun Khan, who was killed in Iraq in 2004.
“You could almost feel their pain,” Eliseo Medina said of the couple, whose address sparked a feud with Republican Presidential nominee Donald J. Trump.
“[At conventions] they tend to create a huge, long list of speakers,” Medina continued. “They must have had over 100, one after the other after the other… so it’s hard to really listen as closely as you would like sometimes. And they came on, very unassuming, very humble, and when he began to speak with his wife standing next to him, there was an incredible hush in this big building full of people. You could hear a pin drop.
“And, in many ways, he spoke for many of us who are immigrants, who came to this country because we thought this was a place where dreams could come true.”
Medina has dedicated himself to advancing immigration reform since retiring from his role as international secretary-treasurer of the Service Employees International Union in 2013. Just a few months later, he was leading a hunger strike on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
Lupita was among those who participated in the fast, which attracted the attention of many, including the Obamas. On their surprise visit to the campsite, the president and first lady stayed for 45 minutes, exchanging stories, ideas and a prayer, Medina said.
“Democracy is messy, but it’s the best thing we have,” said Eliseo Medina, who was born in Mexico before immigrating with his family to the United States as a teen. “How you make change is by participating, by becoming part of it. Staying on the sidelines and complaining doesn’t solve anything.”
That said, he didn’t mind the vocal presence of the Bernie Sanders supporters inside and outside the arena in Philadelphia. “That’s wonderful, that’s what democracy is all about,” he said. “Let’s have a whole argument. A couple of times it got a little tense, especially at the beginning, but as it went along, people got used to the idea that Bernie lost, but his ideas didn’t lose. I think toward the end of the convention, pretty much everybody was on board and willing to say, ‘Let’s figure out what we’re going to do in November.’”
“This election is like no other election,” Hostovich said. “In some ways, it’s great to be alive and be a part of this moment in history. At the same time, because it’s unlike any other election in our history, you really don’t know what’s going to happen.”

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