Election 2020: Chicagoans take to the streets, social media after Biden-Harris ticket is projected winner

ByCraig Wall, Cate Cauguiran, and Alexis McAdams, ABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Sunday, November 8, 2020
Chicagoans take to the streets, social media after Biden-Harris ticket is projected winner
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As Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were projected to win the presidency and vice presidency, Chicagoans took to the streets and to social media in a collective reaction that was mostly marked by celebration.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- As Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on Saturday were projected to win the White House, Chicagoans took to the streets and social media in a collective reaction that was overwhelmingly marked by celebration.

"Today is a glorious day in Chicago," said Dian Palmer, President of SEIU Local 73. "We won this morning, we won a new president!"

A unified front of hundreds of activists, community and union leaders and their supporters filled Chicago's Union Park Saturday.

Watch President-elect Joe Biden's full acceptance speech from Delaware Saturday night

"You know this fight still continues after today, but we feel like together we understand that we can be victorious," said Lamar Whitfield, CEO & Founder of NO MORE Foundation.

The group had originally planned to rally for the continued election vote count, but hours before the scheduled rally, ABC News called the election.

"It was just so overwhelming that I actually cried," Whitfield said.

Whitfield, a vocal activist, had dedicated his summer to peacefully demonstrating for a change-- change for a better future for his children.

"I realized that my goal was completed, you know, making sure that somebody was there that actually understood us and would allow us to speak and hear what we're talking about," he said.

Instead of pained cries for justice, the united front shared the power of potential.

"It's time for us to make sure that we're doing the right thing with this COVID virus," Palmer added. "We've got to make sure that we're doing the right thing with immigrants, and our Black and Brown citizens have to be lifted up."

Despite the celebrations, the singing and chanting, the speakers acknowledged the first step to a brighter future involves President Donald Trump conceding, which had not happened as of early Saturday evening. They also said leaders must continue to be held accountable.

"Forty-five times we've had a new president elected and 45 times we've had a peaceful transition power," said Jeffery Howard, Executive Vice President of SEIU Local 73. "What I've saying to you, Donald, leave on somewhat of a dignified note."

Chicagoans also took to the streets, spontaneously blaring horns and cheering following the news of Biden's evident victory.

RELATED: What's next for President Donald Trump after 2020 presidential election?

A large crowd gathered in River North near Trump Tower where Chicago police blocked off several streets surrounding the President's namesake building.

The Wabash Avenue bridge near Trump Tower continues to be raised after city officials took a preemptive move Tuesday evening to ward off election unrest.

In Lakeview, people were spotted dancing on top of cars. Some even showed up in suit and tie, armed with cut-outs of the president-elect.

"It is a beautiful day in Chicago. A beautiful day in America. We are happy to celebrate together," said Lakeview resident Nathan Leach.

Others started the sunny and mild November day with some bubbly that they had been waiting to pop.

"I'm feeling great," said Uptown resident Charles Newson. "the first thing I had to drink this morning was champagne."

RELATED: IL Trump voters vow to continue fight

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot stopped by to join the celebration.

"[It's a] great day for our country. We get to take our democracy back," she told the crowds.

State Senator Sara Feigenholtz of the 6th District was also out talking to Chicagoans about the change of office.

"Joe Biden and Kamala Harris marking history. The first African American, Asian woman as VP, there is a lot to celebrate," she said. "A stable government and a government with a heart."

Watch Vice President-elect Kamala Harris' full acceptance speech from Delaware Saturday night

As the crowds grew, the conversation turned towards the future.

Halsted was closed from Roscoe to Cornelia due to public gathering, according to the Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications.

The bridge has been shut down "as part of a precautionary measure to ensure the safety of residents," said Mary May, spokeswoman for the Office of Emergency Management and Communications.

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker congratulated the two for their "historic win" on Twitter, emphasizing his hope to build a better future for Illinois and the nation.

Harris made history as the first Black woman to become vice president, an achievement that comes as the U.S. faces a reckoning on racial justice. The California senator, who is also the first person of South Asian descent elected to the vice presidency, will become the highest-ranking woman ever to serve in government, four years after Trump defeated Hillary Clinton.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot also took to Twitter to congratulate Biden.

"Chicago is excited to work together in tackling the many challenges we face in rebuilding our communities, recovering from the COVID-19 crisis, addressing climate change, and becoming stronger and more resilient than we have ever been," Lightfoot tweeted. "Let's get to work!"

Lightfoot spoke Saturday afternoon about the City's response to the results of the 2020 Presidential election.

Senator Tammy Duckworth said, "We will roll up our sleeves not just for the people dancing in the streets today...but for all Americans, including our friends and neighbors who believed Donald Trump would make their lives better."

Former President Barack Obama, was another to congratulating Biden saying in part, "We're fortunate that Joe's got what it takes to be President and already carries himself that way, because when he walks into the White House in January, he'll face a series of extraordinary challenges no incoming President ever has...I know he'll do the job with the best interests of every American at heart, whether or not he had their vote."