In celebration of the election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as the nation’s 46th president and vice president, dozens of community members rallied this afternoon at the corner of El Camino Real and Embarcadero Road.
Waving Biden signs and American flags, people of all ages danced as passing cars honked in support. Among the crowd, Palo Alto High School junior Madison Abbassi held up a copy of The Mercury News with the headline “Biden maintains the lead.”
“It feels incredible,” Abbassi said. “There’s so much wonderful energy here. Everyone’s very passionate and I really love seeing the American flag coming out because before it kind of feels like it had been kind of co-opted to be like very pro-Trump to display the American flag, but now … I feel like a lot of unity occurring over here and a lot of pride.”
At 8:24 a.m. CNN was the first news network to call the election for Biden, followed by the Associated Press and a slew of other media outlets. Pennsylvania’s electoral votes put Biden over the 270 needed to claim the presidency.
Recently reelected Palo Alto Board of Education member Jennifer DiBrienza reflected on the moment she saw news of Biden’s election.
“It wasn’t a big surprise but I was surprised at how much relief I felt,” DiBrienza said. “We just felt like we needed to take an afternoon and just celebrate because a lot of us have been working very hard for four years to make this happen, and I feel like a lot of us are just exhaling for the first time in a long time.”
While spirits were high within the cheering crowd, DiBrienza also recognized the need for change moving forward.
“I feel like a lot of us are just exhaling for the first time in a long time.”
— Jennifer DiBrienza, Board of Education member
“The fact that it was such a close election reminds me that we have a lot of work to do, but this is an important first step,” she said.
Abbassi is optimistic that Biden can get some of that work done. Although she voiced concerns regarding the transfer of power as Trump continues to assert claims of voter fraud without evidence, she maintains a positive outlook of what’s to come.
“I’m really hopeful especially in terms of managing the coronavirus pandemic and what it means for the environment because I know Biden has taken more pro-environment stances,” Abbassi said. “So overall I’m very hopeful for the new administration.”