San Luis Obispo community members cheered, danced and sang together in triumph after Joe Biden was announced president-elect of the United States.
The Associated Press named Biden the next president Saturday morning after it was announced he won Pennsylvania, pushing Biden past the 270 electoral vote threshold needed to win.
The downtown San Luis Obispo celebration on Garden Street was one of many gatherings across the nation held in support of Biden.
Vice-Chair for SLO County Progressives Quinn Brady organized the celebration in the spur of the moment when she initially found out about the election results. She said she texted a few friends and posted on Instagram about the event and the rest happened “organically.”
“I think people are just like wanting this to express joy today, and so we did that for a few hours,” Brady said.
Brady’s Instagram post that announced the event said to “bring water, signs, a mask, and energy to keep making change even after this election.” It was accompanied with the phrase “democracy wins!”
Audio by Tessa Hughes
Brady said that since President Donald Trump’s election, she’s been working for equity, justice, human and racial rights. She is a member of the central committee for the San Luis Obispo County Democratic Party, on the leadership team of the SLO Climate Coalition and has worked on political campaigns and with other local activist groups within the past four years.
She said it is hard to make progress with Trump as president, but she is excited to make progress under the new presidency.
“Biden and Kamala weren’t my first choices for president and vice president, but I do believe that they are people that we can work with and advocate to,” Brady said. “I’m really interested in what’s possible for creating communities that are based on equity and justice, and we have a lot of work to do on racial discrimination.”
Local San Luis Obispo resident and music artist Johnny “Two Feathers” said today’s election results have brought about happiness and unity.
“I think it’s great to see people dancing again, I think it’s great to see unity in this country, I think it’s great to see love — regardless behind what name that is — as long as it’s love.”
He added that he is hopeful Biden’s election will unite people.
“I’m hoping for unity between the people,” he said. “I feel like we have been segregated at every corner, and we need to just realize that we are all human beings and we all live on this planet and we need to take care of that.”
Local San Luis Obispo resident and activist Michelle Martinez said that she also hopes that people will come together, especially in San Luis Obispo.
“For the city of SLO, I’m hoping that we can get back together as a community, because we’re all community members,” Martinez said. “Even though not all of us voted the same way, we are still all Americans.”
Martinez said that although she is happy about Biden’s win, elected officials and activists alike have more to accomplish.
“I’m pretty excited, I feel pretty good, but there is a lot of work to be done,” Martinez said. “So, today we celebrate, and tomorrow we get back to work.”