The Democrats in Philadelphia just made history by nominating Hillary Clinton as their candidate for president of the United States. The four-day Democratic National Convention hasn't been without controversy, though. Wikileaks ensured that when they exposed emails that showed that the party favored Clinton during the primary process. Philly is currently hosting both happy and unhappy Dems, with many of the latter protesting the whole affair. Meet some of the politically diverse Latinos who traveled to the City of Brotherly Love to be part of the political process and have their voices heard.  

Vivian Rodriguez, 54, retired NYPD detective, Orlando, Florida, delegate for Hillary Clinton

photo: Christopher Reeve

"I'm here representing as the first openly gay Latina who was elected for the Democratic Hispanic Caucus for the state of Florida. We're here to empower the Latino community in the Hispanic Caucus, and we're here to make sure that we elect candidates who support Latino issues, LGBT issues, and basically all diversity. And the candidate, of course, this year would be Secretary Hillary Clinton, because she is the candidate who embraces all different backgrounds and diverse groups.

"In the state of Florida, because it’s a swing state, it's very important that we get our Latinos to come out and vote because their vote is their voice. We have such a great population of Latinos that we are the majority in the minority community in the state of Florida. In order for us to have a voice in government, we have to come out and vote. I think it's very important to educate our communities because a lot of the time you may speak to Latinos and they'll say, 'Ah, I'm just one vote,' but you can see that one vote can make the difference in an election." 

Elena McCullough, 55, retired from the U.S. military, Tampa, Florida, delegate for Hillary Clinton

photo: Christopher Reeve

"Actually, this election is extremely important. This is an election in which the other candidate does not think about our community. So it is extremely important to vote. It is the most important election we've had in years, because we never had a candidate talk about our community as if we were criminals. The fact is, immigrants come to the U.S. and contribute with the work they do, their children are born citizens, and they contribute in an incredible way. I invite young people to go bring your grandparents, your uncles, everyone who can vote, because if they do not vote, we will not win."

Carmen Hulbert, 66, retired journalist, Brooklyn, New York, delegate for Bernie Sanders

photo: Christopher Reeve

"The whole thing has been full of surprises news-wise. Wikileaks have done the service to our political world and the whole country by finally leaking these emails that reaffirm what we have been suspecting all along. I don’t expect much from this convention. The only reason I'm here is to vote for Bernie Sanders because I was elected by 35,000 votes in Brooklyn. I think I have to represent these people. That’s all.

"It was a rigged system, especially in the elections in New York, where 160,000 voters were purged. This was an unusual situation. I'm sorry, but New York was a turning point for these primaries. In my opinion there was fraud.

"I'm going to continue with the Democratic Party because I'm planning to run for office too. But I think its going to take time to clean it and bring it back to the people. Right now it belongs to the corporations." 

Jaime Duarte, 25, filmmaker, Bronx, New York, delegate for Bernie Sanders

photo: Christopher Reeve

"The rules that were set in place in 2012 for this election's primary cycle really were very exclusive. In New York, three million people were disenfranchised. A lot of independent voters who would have supported Bernie couldn’t vote, or couldn’t get their registration switched over in time. Things like these little rules and regulations are what made it really difficult for third party independents to get involved in the process. The Democratic Party should be more inclusive. The Rules Committee has a unification amendment that casts some language about superdelegates that doesn’t go far enough. So I'm here because I really want to ensure that I can cast my vote for Bernie, that we fight for a platform that is as progressive as possible, and to build relationships that can hopefully make these platform policies binding for the upcoming legislative sessions.

"[Regarding the general election] I'm a huge advocate of writing in the candidates. In places like New York, it doesn’t really matter because of the electoral college. But in places like Florida, Virginia, those swing states, young people are really going to be the key demographic to woo because we're all still supporting Bernie. And right now we feel like the party doesn’t represent us. Money in politics is, for me, the fundamental issue. We can't resolve any other issue until we fix the broken campaign finance system we currently have and the one that Hillary Clinton operated and continues to operate under."

Kitzia Esteva, 28, immigrant rights organizer, Oakland, California

photo: Christopher Reeve

"I'm now going to speak as a millennial because our people, at least people from Central America, have experienced failed socialist projects because of U.S. intervention. But it is our duty to continue figuring out how we're going to create the possibility for our people to actually have that in the future. And that is not about having faith in the U.S. political system. It's about actually figuring out how we're going to build vision, how we're going to build an alternative to what's happening right now. I do not have any faith in business as usual. There's no way we can continue as we are and actually have viability in the future. 

"Our planet is going to waste. Climate crisis is upon us. We actually have to do something different. And it is up to us. We have to carry it. It's not about having faith in the political system. It's about having faith in ourselves to transform what is happening right now and actually create something different with the lessons of the past, which includes not accepting business as usual and not just saying, 'We'll take the lesser of the two evils.' Even if Hillary wins, we're going to have to fight her tooth and nail to do something different. A lot of people were supporting Bernie and now they're like, 'If Bernie didn’t win the primaries, then we have to wait four years.' That’s not the case. We cannot afford to wait at all." 

Joanna Rodriguez, 23, Texas Field Director for Turning Point U.S.A., Houston, Texas

photo: Christopher Reeve

"We're just here to educate people on limited government and capitalism, kind of just to show a different perspective to the DNC. Some people might have not heard our message.

"I was raised in Venezuela. I left in 2001. Personally, I think that with a socialist government, eventually you run out of everyone's money. It allows for the government and leaders to get richer, but the people get poorer. So really, I'm just trying to prevent what happened in Venezuela to come to the United States. I think that the United States is one of the most free countries in the world."

Bianca Espinal, 23, singer and barista, Harlem, New York

photo: Christopher Reeve

"What brings me to Philly is my future, and my mom and dad. They were the first people from our family to come here to the United States. I'm first generation. They're from Dominican Republic.

"I am a Bernie fan. I think he started something really important. I think he started a fire between all of us and people who see the truth between Hillary, Trump, and all the other candidates. I think he's bringing out people who felt they weren't enough, that somebody had to fight back. That’s why I support him. That’s why it's not over yet.

"I think it's important to really do your research before you support anything. That’s where I'm coming from. I did my research. Just do your research, dude."  

Jennifer Rojas, 25, bartender and student, Dallas, Texas, originally from Thousand Oaks, California

photo: Christopher Reeve

"I saved up my money. I got time off from work and school, and I came so I could do this. I'm here because I believe in what Bernie Sanders' message is, and that is to bring forth compassion in humans, to basically bring more compassion and less wealth. It's taking the money out of the 1%.

"I'm going to vote for Bernie. I don’t care if he's not on the ballot. I'm Bernie or Bust all the way. I'm 'Demexit.' As soon as the elections are over, I'm going to register as an independent. I understand that voter apathy is very much among the young people. What I think of that is that we need to have our voices heard. There are so many of us who are thinking the same way and we think we're all alone in this, but we're not. There are so many like-minded people who are going through the same struggles. Being involved in politics is very essential for this country, to have your voice and your input in all of this."