Charlotte, N.C. — North Carolina's delegation to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte is a mix of young and old, black and white, gay and straight, rural and urban – all combining to make the event unique.
At 90, Rocky Mount's Charles Johnson is the dean of the group of more than 180. Charlotte marks his seventh convention, and he believes it's his duty.
"To those of us that do not value the freedoms that we have and are willing to elect the leadership that will look after us and lead our nation to where it needs to be, then they look a little less like a full-blooded American to me," Johnson said.
Charles Evans of Cumberland County and Brenda Pollard of Johnston County are at their first national convention.
"It's a dream come true. It's exciting," Evans said.
"I think this country is wonderful, and I think we are (better off than four years ago). I think that our president is continuing daily to make that promise come true for everybody," Pollard said.
Janice Covington is the first transgender delegate ever from North Carolina and one of only seven at the convention.
"It shows that President Obama is very diverse and he believes in all people," Covington said.
Monica Gibbs is the first woman and the first black delegate elected from Pamlico County. She said she wants women's issues to be a main focus in the fall campaign.
"It's really important for women to come out and support (the president)," Gibbs said. "(We want) not to go backwards but to continue going forward."
Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx said the city is ready to bask in the nation's media attention over the next few days, and he said North Carolina will get to show off its best asset.
"Frankly, (I want people to see) the work ethic and the character of our people, which I think is one of the best selling points we have as a state," Foxx said.