Celebrations Erupt In Atlanta At News Of Biden Victory
People rushed to balconies in Midtown Atlanta and unleashed a chorus of cheers upon news of Democrat Joe Biden’s presidential victory. Atlantans driving cars through historic Sweet Auburn near the home of Martin Luther King Jr. honked horns, waved American flags and shouted in jubilation.
At Freedom Park, a planned protest turned into a party, with celebrants busting into a spontaneous version of the Electric Slide.
“Today, we celebrate,” said Nsé Ufot, the CEO of New Georgia Project, a nonpartisan group formed eight years ago by Stacey Abrams.
From his Georgia home, former President Jimmy Carter issued a statement, saying, “Rosalynn joins me in congratulating our friends President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. We are proud of their well-run campaign and look forward to seeing the positive change they bring to our nation.”
Major news organizations, including the Associated Press, called the election for Biden around 11:30 a.m. after new vote totals from Pennsylvania were tallied, spelling an end to the presidency of Donald Trump.
Raucous cheers erupted across Midtown immediately. Mary Ida hugged a cardboard printout of Biden and said, "Today is a most wonderful day for our country."
Throughout the city, people blared their horns in celebration and cheered from their rolled-down windows. Others took to the streets to dance.
CNN’s Jake Tapper summed it up this way: “It’s going to be off the hook in Atlanta tonight.”
Abrams, the former gubernatorial candidate who became a voting rights activist and whose efforts have been praised as the state's difference-maker this election, told her 1.2 million Twitter followers “we will restore the soul of this nation.”
The votes were still being counted in Georgia as of Saturday, but Biden had widened his lead by more than 9,000 — still too close to call, but on the verge of a political earthquake. Georgia has not voted for a Democrat for president since Bill Clinton in 1992.
The historic victory was not lost on those gathered at Freedom Park. They were energized by the Biden news, and ready to continue the fight as both Georgia's U.S. Senate seats head for a Jan. 5 runoff — with Democrat Raphael Warnock to face the GOP’s Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Democrat Jon Ossoff squaring off against incumbent Sen. David Perdue.
“Atlanta spoke,” Lauren Pendleton said. “Stacey Abrams did her work. Tomorrow we continue to work. We’ve got two Senate races … so we’ve just got to continue to mobilize.”
Ufot with the New Georgia Project soaked in the moment, but also said the push continues. “Tomorrow we’re going to be knocking on doors and talking with people about how important the Senate race is.”
Dawn Dalton held a sign with a blunt message for Trump: "YOU'RE FIRED!"
Not too far away, many gathered near the John Lewis “Hero” mural in downtown Atlanta to celebrate and memorialize the late congressman and civil rights icon.
Lewis's final words resonated even more this day. In a message printed after his death in July, Lewis said he had been buoyed by America’s youth and the Black Lives Matter movements over the summer.
“You filled me with hope about the next chapter of the great American story when you used your power to make a difference in our society,” Lewis wrote in the New York Times. “Millions of people motivated simply by human compassion laid down the burdens of division. Around the country and the world you set aside race, class, age, language and nationality to demand respect for human dignity.”