by Maya Martin
At 12:13pm of November 7, news organizations announced that Joe Biden had won the 2020 U.S. presidential election, and residents took to Decatur Square to celebrate.
A woman in a teal dress stood at a microphone at the center of the action and sang “Georgia On My Mind.” A man and his daughter stood at the top of the stairs and waved an American flag. A teenager zipped around on roller skates.
Georgia, historically red, has become a crucial swing state in recent years, and the state flipped blue for Biden as a result of activism by voting rights organizers.
“I didn’t dare hope that they would win,” said Deborah Palmer, an alumna who graduated from Agnes Scott in 1972. She had come to pick up a book for a 3-year-old’s birthday party, but couldn’t leave when she saw the people gathered to celebrate in the square. When asked if she was surprised to see the crowd, she said she had expected to see some excitement. The gathering was “something we all need to fill up our wells again,” she said. “To find that soft spot in our hearts again.”
Zahra, a 21-year-old art student in a Black Lives Matter t-shirt, stood to the side watching the music with her mother and her little sister Niah and considered the next four years. She said she hoped that the election of a new president would mean that the US would see white supremacists “crawling back into their little holes where they belong.”
At the bottom of the steps, people took selfies with someone in a Trump mask and a suit, with a red sash in the lapel that said “Worst President Ever.”
Many came to the square with pride flags and rainbows, including two students from Decatur High School named Abby Mellars and Marin McKeezer. Biden wasn’t their first choice, but they said they were glad to see him win. “We probably won’t lose our rights. That’s what’s important. We’re happy about that. It’s something.”
On Commerce Drive, people drove by waving Biden/Harris signs, American flags, and even hastily raised their blue recycling bags in support. Two men in a black truck stuck their fists out and booed at the crowd.
Gwen Hendee came to the square with her spouse. She said that as an LGBTQ couple, they welcomed the new administration. “We’re celebrating now and then we have a lot of work to do after this.”
President Trump’s administration has challenged the authenticity of the election results and filed lawsuits for recounts in key states.
Maya Martin is a creative writing major and the off-campus section editor for the Agnes Scott Profile.