‘I feel like a part of history’: Temple students join Philadelphians in streets after Biden victory

After news outlets projected Joe Biden as the presidential election winner, students joined thousands of people in streets nearby City Hall and the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

Zoe Hunchak, a junior musical theater major (center), and Connell O'Brien, a junior media studies and production major (right) stand behind a metal barrier on 12th Street near Arch in support of Joe Biden, who was announced president-elect today after winning Pennsylvania's electoral votes. | COLIN EVANS / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Car parades honked while circling City Hall as people lined up for photo-ops with a “Good Things Happen in Philadelphia” sign. Crowds stretched from Dilworth Park to 12th Street near Arch cheering and shouting the lyrics to Steam’s “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye.”

Temple University students were among the thousands of Philadelphians who took to the streets Saturday afternoon dancing and celebrating President-elect Joe Biden’s victory, particularly around City Hall and the Pennsylvania Convention Center, where a majority of Philadelphia County’s votes were counted. 

Biden was projected the winner of the 2020 presidential election Saturday morning, defeating incumbent President Donald Trump, The Temple News reported.

Kamala Harris will become the first female vice president, the first Black vice president and the first Asian American vice president, the New York Times reported

Biden’s victory hinged on flipping critical swing states that carried Trump in the 2016 presidential election, with national media outlets formally declaring Biden the president-elect after he won Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes, the Associated Press reported

Biden is currently leading in Pennsylvania by about 33,000 votes, a razor-thin margin ultimately driven by the state’s historic Democratic hubs like Philadelphia and key swing counties like Delaware and Bucks counties. 

A winner has yet to be announced in Arizona, Georgia and North Carolina. Biden is currently leading in Arizona and Georgia by about 21,000 and 7,500 votes respectively, while Trump is leading in North Carolina by 75,000 votes, the New York Times reported.

In Philadelphia, protestors calling for the city to “count every vote” have gathered since Election Day, and have faced off with pro-Trump protestors outside the Pennsylvania Convention Center on 12th Street near Arch since Thursday, 6ABC reported.

Demonstrators at the Count Every Vote block party hold up signs across from supporters of Donald Trump outside of the Pennsylvania Convention Center at 12th and Arch streets on Nov. 6. | COLLEEN CLAGGETT / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Annie Brady, a sophomore health professions major, took the Broad Street Line from Main Campus to attend demonstrations near City Hall and the Convention Center Saturday afternoon. On Election Day, she traveled to her hometown in Delaware County to cast her ballot in person, Brady said.

“I voted in Delaware County because I figured that had a higher chance of going red, so I wanted that to be where my vote was counted,” Brady said. “It went blue, so I’m proud of my county for going blue.”

Biden was not announced the winner of Pennsylvania until Saturday morning because the state waited until Nov. 3 to begin counting its more than 2.6 million mail-in ballots. Trump has filed multiple lawsuits against Pennsylvania in an attempt to prevent mail-in ballots from being counted, The Temple News reported

“It’s like reverse Oprah,” said Hannah Sobotka-Briner, a senior biomechanical engineering major, as she sat near the Bell Tower on Main Campus Saturday afternoon. “‘You get a lawsuit, and you get a lawsuit, and everybody gets a lawsuit!’”

In the streets

On 12th Street near Arch outside of the Convention Center, hundreds of Biden supporters danced Saturday as they gathered across the block from a few dozen Trump supporters, separated by metal barricades and police officers.

Maleah Keller, a sophomore psychology major, was on the Biden side of the barricade.”

Keller said she wouldn’t rather be anywhere else than Philadelphia to celebrate Biden’s victory, which she called “a great feeling.”

“This is something that I’m going to remember honestly, for the rest of my life,” Keller said. “Especially being in the front row of it all.”

Supporters of Joe Biden and Donald Trump stood separated by a metal barrier on Arch Street near 12th as both groups came out in response to the announcement that Biden was elected president on Nov. 7. | COLIN EVANS / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Chris Fagan, a sophomore actuarial science major, was also on the Biden side. He said he feels Biden cares about healing divisions in the United States. 

“Right now, I feel like a part of history,” Fagan said. “I get to tell my kids about this.” 

Mary O’Connor from Lansdale, Pennsylvania, was at 12th Street near Arch standing behind a metal barricade with other supporters of Trump. She said she felt skeptical about the vote-counting process in Pennsylvania and other states.

“I don’t want my election stolen,” O’Connor added.

Satya Dosapati, 62, who works in telecommunications and is from Marlboro, New Jersey, was also near the barricade. He came to the gathering because he feels there are many threats to the U.S., including terrorism, corruption and the geopolitical threat of China, which could become worse under Biden’s presidency, he said.

“Trump is not a politician, he doesn’t know how to present himself,” Dosapati said. “But his heart is in the right place, and he has done all the actions he says for the best of this country.”

Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer and the former mayor of New York City, announced that Trump did not plan to concede to Biden yet at a press conference in front of the Four Season Total Landscaping, Inc. in Philadelphia on Saturday afternoon, CBS News reported.

“Beginning Monday, our campaign will start prosecuting our case in court to ensure election laws are fully upheld and the rightful winner is seated,” Trump said in a statement today.

Matthew Perino, a 2018 business administration alumnus, was not worried about Trump’s decision to not concede, he said. 

“It’s disconcerting,” Berino said. “But I have faith that Americans and patriots will stand up and move through the democratic process to ensure a peaceful and smooth transition of power.”

Members of the Electoral College will formally cast their ballots on Dec. 14, of which a majority will go to Biden based on today’s results, and both chambers of the U.S. Congress will convene on Jan. 6, 2021 to declare the official winner of the presidential election. 

Liam Pierce, a senior sports management major, attended the celebration in front of City Hall. He was excited to participate in this election because he felt like he made an impact on something for the first time in his life, he said. 

Annie Brady, a sophomore health professions major, and Liam Pierce, a senior sports management, hold a sign supporting President-elect Joe Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and Sen. Sharif Street’s election at the City Hall Broad Street Line station while on their way to City Hall and Philadelphia Convention Center celebrations for Biden’s presidential election victory on Nov. 7. | MADISON KARAS / THE TEMPLE NEWS

“The past four years I haven’t really felt proud to be an American, I haven’t really felt a sense of patriotism,” Pierce said. “But now that Biden’s in, it’s a guy who’s going to respect the office, treat other people with kindness and not act like a child. I think this is a big win for not just us but Americans.”

Cooper Sherwin, 28, a Queen Village resident who works in marketing, brought his own copy of the Declaration of Independence to the celebration near City Hall because he felt Biden’s victory echoed Philadelphia’s role in founding American democracy. 

“Philly started the history of saying no to tyrants and bringing power back to the people,” Sherwin said. “Kings and the ultra-wealthy shouldn’t be the only ones with a say in this world, and that’s why we have a democracy. I think today we really proved that.

Around Main Campus

Students on Main Campus remained mostly quiet Saturday afternoon while studying and eating outside with friends. 

After hearing about Biden’s projected victory, Misha Jordan, a sophomore pre-health information management major sitting near The Wall, said she felt relieved. 

Misha Jordan, a sophomore pre-health information management major, talks about the election results while sitting near The Wall on Nov. 7. | JEREMY ELVAS / THE TEMPLE NEWS

“I felt relieved that Pennsylvania came through and turned blue,” Jordan said. “It just calms me down that my reproductive rights are secured, health care is going to be expanded and not taken away and that there is a plan about climate change.”

Daniel Galarraga, a sophomore economics major sitting outside Charles Library, was not surprised by Trump’s efforts to prevent county election officials nationwide from counting mail-in ballots, he said. 

“It’s shocking but it’s not surprising at all, what Trump tried to do between Election Day and now,” Galarraga said. “It was concerning, but I wasn’t necessarily worried about that.”

Daniel Galarraga, a sophomore economics major, talks about the election results while sitting outside the Charles Library on Nov. 7. | JEREMY ELVAS / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Michael Dampf, a senior exercise science major sitting near the Bell Tower, also felt happy and relieved Biden won, he said. 

“I’m not huge into politics, but I like to just see what happens,” Dampf said. “I just watched it from more of a human standpoint, like how they are as people more than anything.”

Although happy that Biden is the projected President-elect, Shae Glodowksi, a junior political science major, does not expect him to resolve the nation’s systemic problems overnight, they said.

“It’s not as simple as, ‘We have a new guy now and everything’s going to be fixed,’” Glodowski said. “We’re still in the middle of a pandemic, there’s still a lot of political turmoil. Biden’s not going to solve the systemic oppression of Black people or the healthcare crisis. So there’s a lot of work to be done.”

Ray Lapinski, a junior advertising major, was grateful voters cast their ballots with marginalized groups in mind, he said.

“This is a scary time to be any kind of minority, to be a person of color, or to be a part of the queer community, or to be disabled,” Lapinski said. “I feel like even though it was still uncertain, and still, Trump got a lot of votes, people wanted to vote with others in mind this year.

Dewayne Dawkins, 48, a social services administrator who lives on Cecil B. Moore Avenue near 16th Street, said he’s happy Trump will no longer be president, he said. 

“I want somebody in office who’s going to at least understand,” Dawkins said.

Nate Fisher, 29, an accountant who lives on Cleveland Street near Fontain, felt the local races this year mattered just as much as the presidential election, he said. 

Fisher voted for Biden at the George Washington Carver High School of Engineering and Science on Norris Street near 16th on Tuesday, he added.

“You have to have your voice heard,” Fisher said.

Colin Evans, Jeremy Elvas and Julia Larma contributed reporting.

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