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Democratic National Convention Committee

August 17, 2020

Democrats Announce Highlights from Opening Night of the 2020 Democratic National Convention: Uniting America

Monday Night’s Theme is “We the People”

MILWAUKEE—The Democratic National Convention Committee (DNCC) today previewed the official program for the opening night of the 2020 Democratic National Convention, happening Monday, August 17 from 9:00-11:00 PM Eastern.

The theme of Monday's program is “We the People.” America is facing a series of monumental challenges—as the COVID-19 pandemic continues its rampage, tens of millions of people are out of work, and our nation confronts a legacy of racial injustice that has marginalized too many. But as we have learned throughout our history, when we stand united, we can overcome anything. 
Tonight the nation will hear from the many Americans who are rising up to take on these three crises, and who will join Joe Biden in building back better and moving this country forward. With Joe Biden as president, ‘we the people’ will mean all the people.

Highlights from tonight’s program are listed below, with additional special guests slated to join throughout the evening:
Eva Longoria
American actress

“We the People” Gavel In

Everyday Americans will read the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution, before Convention Chair and The Honorable Bennie Thompson officially gavels in the 2020 Democratic National Convention.

Call to Order
The Honorable Bennie Thompson
Permanent Chair of the 2020 Democratic National Convention
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Mississippi

Pledge of Allegiance

National Anthem
A multicultural choir performing virtually with singers representing all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Cheyenne Nation and five territories, including Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Northern Mariana Islands. 

Reverend Gabriel Salguero
President of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition
Co-lead pastor of The Lamb’s Church in New York, New York

The Honorable Gwen Moore
Sergeant-at-Arms of the 2020 Democratic National Convention
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Wisconsin
The Honorable Muriel Bowser
Mayor of Washington, D.C.

Leon Bridges
American singer

“The Path Forward”: A Conversation with Vice President Biden on Racial Justice 
Vice President Biden engages with, and listens to, social justice activist Jamira Burley, Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo, NAACP President Derrick Johnson, and author Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner, about how America can move forward towards equality, fairness, and justice for all.

The Honorable James Clyburn
House Democratic Whip
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives, South Carolina

The Honorable Andrew Cuomo
Governor of the State of New York

Kristin Urquiza
A woman whose father lost his life to COVID-19. 

A Conversation with Healthcare Workers on the Front Lines
A conversation with a doctor, paramedic, and two nurses on the front lines of this pandemic about what they’ve endured, and what’s at stake in this election for America’s essential medical workers.

Introduction of Performer
The Honorable Sara Gideon
Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives

Maggie Rogers
American singer-songwriter

The Honorable Gretchen Whitmer
Governor of the State of Michigan

The Honorable Christine Whitman
Former Governor of New Jersey

Meg Whitman
Former CEO of Hewlett Packard

The Honorable Susan Molinari
Former Member of the U.S. House of Representatives, New York

The Honorable John Kasich
Former Governor of the State of Ohio

The Honorable Doug Jones
United States Senator, Alabama

The Honorable Catherine Cortez Masto
United States Senator, Nevada

The Honorable Amy Klobuchar
United States Senator, Minnesota 

“United We Stand”
Former 2020 Democratic candidates for president of the United States will come together once again to talk about why they ran, what they’re fighting for, and why they believe Joe Biden will bring the nation together, move the nation out of crisis and chaos, and move us forward —featuring Vice Presidential Nominee and Senator Kamala Harris, Senator Cory Booker, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Governor Jay Inslee, Senator Amy Klobuchar, U.S. Representative Seth Moulton, Former U.S. Representative Beto O'Rourke, Tom Steyer, and Andrew Yang.

The Honorable Cedric Richmond
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Louisiana

The Honorable Bernie Sanders
United States Senator, Vermont 

Keynote Remarks
Michelle Obama
Former First Lady of the United States

Billy Porter and Steven Stills
American singer-songwriters

Reverend Dr. Jerry Young
18th President of the National Baptist Convention, USA
About the Democratic National Convention
The Democratic National Convention is the formal event during which delegates of the Democratic Party choose the party’s nominees for president and vice president in the 2020 election. At the convention, the Democratic Party also adopts the official Democratic Party platform as well as the rules and procedures governing party activities, including the nomination process for presidential candidates in the next election cycle.

ed note: initial plans called for committee reports on the opening day

Select Remarks from Opening Night of the 2020 Democratic National Convention: “Uniting America”

MILWAUKEE—The Democratic National Convention Committee (DNCC) released a selection of excerpts from the remarks of speakers as prepared for delivery who will address the Democratic National Convention tonight, August 17, from 9:00-11:00 PM ET.

The theme of Monday’s program is “We the People.” This convention is about Americans rising up to take our country back—and move forward as a nation together. As we have learned throughout our history, when we stand united, we can overcome anything, including the monumental challenges we face today. With Joe Biden as president, ‘we the people’ will mean all the people.

Excerpts from select remarks as prepared for delivery from tonight’s program are included below:


[ed. transcript of the video clip: "I know Joe.  He is a profoundly decent man guided by faith.  He was a terrific vice president.  He knows what it takes to rescue an economy, beat back a pandemic and lead our country.  And he listens.  He will tell the truth, and trust science.  He will make smart plans and manage a good team.  And he will govern as someone who's lived a life that the rest of us can recognize."


“But while we were peacefully protesting, Donald Trump was plotting. He stood in front of one of our most treasured houses of worship and held a Bible for a photo op. He sent troops in camouflage into our streets. He sent tear gas into the air—federal helicopters, too. I knew if he did this to D.C., he would do it to your city or your town.”

“We have to undo the laws and systems that have codified racism for far too long. But we have to do something too. Each and every one of us. Challenge our own biases. If we see something, do something. Together, we can turn this reckoning into a reimagining of a nation where ‘We The People’ means all the people.”


“Only a strong body can fight off the virus, and America’s divisions weakened it. Donald Trump didn’t create the initial division. The division created Trump; he only made it worse.”

“We saw the negative, but we also saw the positive. As they proved their way failed, we proved that our way succeeded; that America can still rise to the occasion. We can put our differences aside and find commonality.”

“Americans’ eyes have been opened, and we have seen in this crisis the truth: that government matters and leadership matters. And it determines whether we thrive and grow, or whether we live or die.”

[Kristin Urquiza lost her father to COVID-19, and wrote a scathing obituary blaming failed leadership for his death.]

“My dad was a healthy 65-year-old. His only preexisting condition was trusting Donald Trump, and for that, he paid with his life.”

“The coronavirus has made it clear that there are two Americas: the America that Donald Trump lives in and the America that my father died in.”


“President Obama and Vice President Biden saved these autoworkers’ livelihoods. Then these workers did their part to save American lives. That’s the story of this great country. Action begets action. Progress begets progress. And when we work together—we can accomplish anything.”

“Over the past few months, we learned what’s essential: rising to the challenge, not denying it. We’ve learned who is essential, too. Not just the wealthiest among us. Not a president who fights his fellow Americans rather than fight the virus that’s killing us and our economy. It’s the people who put their own health at risk to care for the rest of us.”


“I’m a lifelong Republican, but that attachment holds second place to my responsibility to my country. That’s why I’ve chosen to appear at this convention. In normal times, something like this would probably never happen, but these are not normal times.”

“Yes, there are areas where Joe and I absolutely disagree. But that’s OK because that’s America. Because whatever our differences, we respect one another as human beings, each of us searching for justice and for purpose.”

“We can all see what’s going on in our country today and all the questions that are facing us, and no one person or party has all the answers. But what we do know is that we can do better than what we’ve been seeing today, for sure. And I know that Joe Biden, with his experience and his wisdom and his decency, can bring us together to help us find that better way.”


“Despite what the president says, voting by mail has been a secure, proven option for decades: in 2016, 33 million Americans voted by mail. Even Donald Trump has requested an absentee ballot twice this year.”

“Mr. President: Nevada is not intimidated by you. America is not intimidated by you. We are united by shared values, shared history, and shared rights—including our fundamental right to vote.”


“This election is the most important in the modern history of this country. In response to the unprecedented set of crises we face, we need an unprecedented response – a movement, like never before, of people who are prepared to stand up and fight for democracy and decency—and against greed, oligarchy and authoritarianism.”

“My friends, I say to you, and to everyone who supported other candidates in this primary and to those who may have voted for Donald Trump in the last election. The future of our democracy is at stake. The future of our economy is at stake. The future of our planet is at stake. We must come together, defeat Donald Trump and elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as our next president and vice president. My friends, the price of failure is just too great to imagine.”