The second night of the Democratic National Convention featured a virtual roll call vote in which states across the country showcased their unique geography and demographic diversity as local delegates formally nominated Joe Biden as the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee.
Democrats from 57 states and territories appeared over the video, including elected officials, a number of Biden’s 2020 opponents and activists who paid tributes, made appeals to the American people and spoke of memorable moments they’d shared with Biden.
Here’s a look of some of the notable ways states used their roll call spotlights:
Alabama pays tribute to John Lewis
Alabama state Rep. Terri Sewell announced her delegation count while paying tribute to the late civil rights legend and longtime Congressman John Lewis.
Sewell stood in front of the Edmund Pettus Bridge, where Lewis had survived a brutal beating by police during a landmark 1965 march.
“Civil rights and voting rights remain America’s great unfinished business,” she said. “But those that walked this path before us showed us the way forward.”
The roll call vote to nominate Biden for president went in alphabetical order, but Delaware, his home state, initially passed so that it could be the decisive state to nominate the former vice president.
Gov. John Carney and Sen. Tom Carper announced the state’s vote at the end of the roll call.
Florida highlights gun control
Fred Guttenberg, whose 14-year-old daughter, Jaime, was one of 17 people killed in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018, announced Florida’s vote while recalling how “Joe Biden called to share in our family’s grief” after the shooting.
“I quickly learned about his decency and his civility,” he said. “But I also learned about his toughness and how he’s beaten the NRA.”
‘Keep Iowans in your thoughts’
Standing in front of a large stretch of farmland, former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack and his wife, Christie, asked the country to keep the state in its thoughts following a week of disastrous storms.
“We were going to talk to you tonight about biofuels. But the powerful storm that swept through Iowa last week has taken a terrible toll on our farmers, our small businesses and our families who are still without power,” Tom Vilsack said.
“So while we have the honor of casting Iowa’s votes – 11 for Bernie Sanders and 38 for Joe Biden – we also want to ask to keep Iowans in your thoughts during this difficult time,” Christie Vilsack continued.
Northern Mariana Islands spotlights voting
The Northern Mariana Islands, which has been a US territory since 1975, participates in the presidential primary but not the general election.
Delegate Nola Kileleman Hix turned that into a blunt message Tuesday: “We don’t get to vote for president, so please don’t waste yours.”
Pennsylvania celebrates Biden’s local roots
Standing in front of Biden’s childhood home in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Sen. Bob Casey sought to connect the Democratic nominee’s upbringing to his platform for working people.
“When Joe Biden was young, his father came to this house in Scranton, sat down on Joe’s bed and told him he lost his job. It’s a moment that stayed with Joe his entire life,” Casey said.
“Right now all across America, working families are experiencing that same fear and uncertainty. But Joe Biden has a plan to help them. And to help our country build back better,” he added. “Creating millions of good-paying jobs so more parents will be able to tell their kids what Joe’s dad said to him all those years ago: ‘It’s going to be OK.’ “
Puerto Rico delivers powerful address in Spanish
Delegate Carmelo Rios delivered his roll call address entirely in Spanish, reminding the country that “We Puerto Ricans are US citizens” in a message that featured English subtitles.
Their citizenship, Rios said, is “something that Donald Trump seems to have forgotten as our island faced its most difficult times.”
Spanish and a slate of Native languages were used in multiple states throughout the roll call.
Rhode Island hawks calamari
In one of the more lighthearted turns of the roll call, Rhode Island state Rep. Joseph McNamara dubbed his state “the calamari comeback state” as a chef held a plate of calamari next to him.
“Rhode Island, the ocean state, where our restaurant and fishing industry have been decimated by this pandemic,” he said.
But, McNamara maintained, “our state appetizer, calamari, is available in all 50 states.”
Wyoming shares message of LGBTQ equality
The parents of Matthew Shepard, who was killed by two men because he was gay in 1998, brought a message of LGBTQ equality to their roll call vote while praising Biden’s work with the community.
Shepard was a 21-year-old student at the University of Wyoming in October 1998 when he was robbed, beaten, tied to a fence and left for dead by two men he had met in a bar.
His death helped galvanized the civil rights movement for LGBTQ people and led to the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, also named for a black man killed by three white supremacists in Texas.
“After our son Matthew’s death in Wyoming, Joe Biden helped pass legislation to protect LGBTQ Americans from hate crimes,” Dennis Shepard said. “Joe understands more than most our grief over Matt’s death, but we see in Joe so much of what made Matt’s life special.”