A day after Joe Biden defeated President Donald Trump to become the 46th president of the United States, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and other elected officials joined community members in Chatham to celebrate the victory and highlight the role the city’s 21st Ward played in the win.
As of Sunday, the 21st Ward had the highest number of votes in the city for Biden — and also for Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, who defeated Republican challenger Pat O’Brien — according to organizers of the event, which doubled as a food giveaway.
Lightfoot, who publicly offered her congratulations to Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on Saturday, took the microphone Sunday to address the “long, dark, national nightmare” that was the last four years. She went on to emphasize the contrast between Biden and Trump.
“Finally we’re going to have partner in the White House who’s going to help us and not hurt us. Who’s going to uplift us and not try to vilify and demonize us. I think that’s worth a round of applause,” she said as the crowd cheered.
The mayor acknowledged that while Biden won the race, millions of voters cast their ballots for Trump — even voters in Chicago.
Meanwhile, the ballot count continues, not just in battleground states that have yet to be called but also in Chicago, where the Chicago Board of Elections has until Nov. 17 to count all mail-in ballots postmarked by Nov. 3.
Chicago elections officials have until Nov. 17 to count *~thousands~* of mail-in ballots that were postmarked by Nov. 3 and arrive by that deadline.
Politicians and the news media simply don’t have enough data yet to make these sort of claims with any sort of certainty. https://t.co/QL3u3GyeTG
— Heather Cherone (@HeatherCherone) November 8, 2020
Also speaking Sunday was City Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin, who said that while the victory was important to her as a Biden delegate, it was more important to her as a Black woman and as a Black mother.
“My 4-year-old daughter and other Black and Brown youth of Chicago will have an opportunity that our ancestors were denied,” she said. “I am just so elated that the president of the United States of America, a white man, was bold enough to choose a Black woman to be his partner and vice president, the first woman, the first woman of color, the first Black woman to be the vice president of the United States of America, this is a great day.”
That sentiment was echoed throughout the event, which took place at the 87th Street Center, by an array of speakers who expressed happiness at Trump’s defeat while urging the crowd that there is much work to be done. Those speakers included Ald. Howard B. Brookins Jr. (21st Ward), Ald. David Moore (17th Ward), 27th District Rep. Justin Slaughter, 4th District Cook County Commissioner Stanley Moore and others.
Beverly Rowls sat in a folding chair listening intently to the speakers. The lifelong resident of Chatham said she came to show support for the 21st Ward and her alderman after voting for Biden because she feels he wants to bring people together.
“We can’t survive on this planet if we don’t come together and work together, you’ve gotta stop splitting up people,” Rowls said.
Grace Del Vecchio is a freelance contributor to WTTW News: @delvecchiograce