On Cleveland’s West Side, Celebration After Biden’s Win!



Ideastream.org, By Nick Castele, Posted November 9th 2020

Democrats in Cleveland’s Ohio City neighborhood popped champagne, blasted music and danced on Church Avenue to celebrate Joe Biden’s presidential victory on Saturday.

That morning, it had become clear that too few uncounted votes remained in Pennsylvania for President Donald Trump to overcome Biden’s lead there, giving the Democratic former vice president enough electoral votes to take the White House.

Trump refused to concede the race on Saturday, but that didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of Paula Kampf, a Democratic activist in Cleveland’s Ward 3.  

“I’m not worried,” she said. “Well, I’m worried about Trump deciding he’s not leaving, but I’m not worried about the counts. We can recount to our heart’s content, the votes are there.”

A host of mask-wearing revelers gathered outside in Kampf’s yard. One attendee played a trombone. Some sang “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye,” and drivers honked their car horns as they passed.

Ohio City resident Kauser Razvi said she recalled feeling immobilized by Trump’s victory four years ago.

“I’m a Muslim woman, my parents were immigrants from India, I have two kids who are mixed-race,” she said. “It’s been a hard four years.”

Just as important for her was Sen. Kamala Harris’ election as vice president.

“For my daughter to be able to see a woman of color in the second-highest office in this land, it’s beyond amazing,” she said.

Malaz Elgemiabby, an architect who immigrated to Northeast Ohio from Sudan, said she felt “euphoric” at Biden’s win.

In 2017, the Trump administration banned travel from several majority-Muslim countries, including Sudan. The White House later removed the country from the list, before imposing new restrictions early this year.

The outcome of this election was personal to her, Elgemiabby said. Because of the travel bans, she didn’t want to risk visiting her family and being unable to return to the United States, she said.

“This means me seeing my family, me finally meeting my nieces and my little adorable nephew, my son seeing his granddad,” Elgemiabby said. “It means to us that we are normal again, we can dream in normal ways, we are not labeled.”

Biden won the city of Cleveland with 80 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results. But his strength in Ohio’s cities and some suburbs couldn’t win him the state, making him the first president-elect since John F. Kennedy to win the electoral college without the Buckeye State.    

“So many people think that, if they didn’t volunteer, they don’t get to celebrate,” said Charlie Townsend, who wore a Biden-Harris mask. “But if you made a phone call, marked a ballot, this is your victory. Even if we didn’t win Ohio, this is everybody’s victory.”

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