Evanston celebrates after Biden declares victory

Vehicles+parade+down+Davis+St%2C+and+one+person+sits+atop+a+car+holding+two+US+flags.+Hundreds+gathered+at+Fountain+Square+after+President-elect+Joe+Biden+announced+his+victory+Saturday+morning.+

Maia Spoto/Daily Senior Staffer

Vehicles parade down Davis St, and one person sits atop a car holding two US flags. Hundreds gathered at Fountain Square after President-elect Joe Biden announced his victory Saturday morning.

Maia Spoto, Development and Recruitment Editor

When President-elect Joe Biden was announced as the projected winner for the 2020 presidential election Saturday morning, Evanston residents erupted into cheers.

Hundreds flocked to Fountain Square, some draped in American flags. A spontaneous car parade streamed across Davis Street while onlookers danced and embraced, pumping Biden/Harris 2020 signs in the air. A bus driver honked their horn in solidarity. One person launched a confetti cannon. Another climbed to the top of an emergency blue light to sing “FDT (F–k Donald Trump)” by YG and Nipsey Hussle, a protest song criticizing President Donald Trump.

Later in the day, residents took to the shores of Lake Michigan, where they held barbecues and played Kool & the Gang’s “Celebration” on portable speakers. Some local business owners closed their stores early to join the festivities. Fireworks intermittently whistled over the city.

“Today is a day of freedom, when I can stop holding my breath,” said Jexa Edinberg, a part-time homeschooled student who also attends Nichols Middle School. “I’m non-binary. I can finally hope again.”

Stephanie Smith, Edinberg’s mother, said Saturday marked a new beginning for the country.

Smith, who does environmental work, said she sees Biden’s win as a turning point for climate justice, water equity and racial justice — all issues close to her heart.

“The past four years have been really challenging to get anything done that feels meaningful,” Smith said. “That doesn’t feel like it’s going backwards. To me, this is such a joyous day and moment, and a glimpse into what the future is going to be.”

While Biden swept Illinois Tuesday night, winning 55.3 percent of the state’s ballots and 72.9 percent of Cook County’s total votes as of Sunday night with 89 percent of votes reported, national results were delayed for over three days after polls closed. After a surge of mail-in votes slowed vote tabulation in key swing states, the Associated Press and other news outlets called the race for Biden on Saturday after he won Pennsylvania and crossed the threshold of 270 electoral votes necessary for victory.

Robert Bacon, a Virginia resident, traveled to Evanston to watch his son play in Northwestern’s football game Saturday. His family kept one eye on the game and the other on election results all morning, he said.

As the press announced the result, notifications from Bacon’s friends started pouring in.

“We were pulling for Biden,” Bacon said, “That’s who we wanted to win. So we were extremely happy.”

Biekhal Alkhalifa, who visited Fountain Square Saturday evening, said her daughter has been updating her “every second” with election results since the polls closed Tuesday.

For Alkhalifa, the stakes were high this presidential election. She said her parents-in-law, who currently live in Iraq, hope to immigrate to the United States. But with President Donald Trump’s immigration policies in place, their plans have been on hold for the past four years, Alkhalifa said.

“We needed a change,” she said. “I was really looking for this. Now we can expedite and process the application, and bring them back here, hopefully.”

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @maia_spoto

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