Wilmington, Delaware – As US President-elect Joe Biden prepared to speak in Wilmington, thousands of people wearing masks walked to the Chase Centre and stood along a fence that blocked them from getting too close.
“Do you think we’ll hear him from here?” a young woman, Elizabeth, asked her boyfriend Emmett. They didn’t want to give their last names.
“I’ve lived in Wilmington, Delaware, all my life so it’s pretty cool to see someone from Delaware actually become president,” Elizabeth said.
Her boyfriend praised the historic win by Kamala Harris, the vice president-elect.
“For me, it’s a moment in history,” Emmett said. “To have a Delawarian president and the first Black female and South Asian vice president.”
Elizabeth said their leadership would set a fresh tone for the country. “I hope it influences people now that we have a president who seems to spread respect.”
As Harris appeared on a big screen, wearing white, the crowd let out a big cheer, even though it was impossible to hear her. “Speak louder,” someone yelled jokingly. One woman used binoculars to look at the screen. Another woman live-streamed the speech on her phone.
Maxene Black, 80, shuffled towards Biden’s speech with her walker. “I love Joe Biden,” she said.
“I’ve been crying all day. I look at Joe Biden and I think, the Dreamers are going to be able to come here. They’re going to be able to stay here. Black people will have a better life, we’ll all have a better life.”
Biden, she said, can work across the aisle, even if he didn’t take the Senate. “He’ll be able to work with people.”
Elizabeth said she believes Biden can unite the divided country. “I think he can, it’s not going to be overnight.” While she had been afraid the US was going in a dark direction, she says: “Now I see hope.”
Jessenia Ortiz and her friend Jennifer Perez huddled together as they waited for Biden to speak. They were on their way to the cinema when they heard Biden was going to speak, so they changed their plans.
Both said they felt “ecstatic” when they heard Biden won. Ortiz said it eased her anxiety knowing he would lead the country instead of Trump.
“I’m hoping that it’s not in vain and he actually does what he said he would,” Ortiz said.
“And there is a change,” Perez added.
They want to see healthcare for all, they want police to stop shooting Black Americans, and they want Biden to reverse Trump’s immigration policies.
“I feel so at peace, it feels good,” Ortiz said looking around at the crowd. “It’s amazing what one person can actually do to make us feel at peace again.”