Boyle Heights residents celebrate Biden victory
It was uncharacteristically cold in Boyle Heights; clouds hung in the sky after rain had fallen in the early hours of the morning before any new information about the 2020 presidential election had been released. It took five days for votes in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Arizona to be properly counted. Folks on both sides of the aisle seemed to hold their breath, unsure when they would know who won.
At Mariachi Plaza the announcement of President-elect Joe Biden’s Victory was cause for celebration. InnerCity Struggle Executive Director, Maria Brenes, said that she was proud of the community for making their voices heard, not just in Boyle heights but across the nation. Shortly after 8 a.m. PST Biden was declared president-elect of the United States by the Associated Press. In those moments after the race had been won it was almost as if the world gave a collective sigh of relief.
As the contingent began to head towards Downtown L.A., the sky cleared. People banged drums, chanted, sang songs and reveled in President-elect Biden’s victory. The early morning cold dissipated and the sun drenched people as chants of “boom bitch, get out the way” echoed through the streets. What started as a small group of no more than 30 evolved into a crowd of more than 100 who were cheered on by cars honking and people in apartments banging pots and pans high above the streets. In all of the commotion one thing was clear: winter was coming and with it a new president
With many states too close to call, Boyle Heights community activist group, InnerCity Struggle, planned meet and march to Pershing Square in Downtown Los Angeles where they would meet other groups to show support for the election process and the accurate counting of votes. But before the demonstration could even start there was a change.
“I feel so proud that our community showed up,” said Brenes, 44. “Latinxers, you know, not in Florida, but in the rest of the of the battleground states that Latinxers, black voters, delivered this vote for the Democratic Party for the country.”
But not everyone is Boyle Heights was excited about the news. Refractory worker and Trump supporter Felipe Aguayo, 54, said that he does not believe the election was fair and is waiting for President Trump to challenge the results.
On election night Aguayo said that he believed Mr. Trump would respect and honor the results of the election even if they did not turn out in his favor.
“I think if he loses he’ll, he’ll take the loss. I mean, there’s nothing you can do about that,” said Aguayo. However, after Saturday, Aguayo said he did not trust the result and expects Mr. Trump to fight through the courts.
“All the points for Biden came in at four in the morning. All the Chinese people were selling like, all of their stock and everything cuz they thought he was gonna win so that is a problem.”
At the time of publication, Mr. Trump has yet to issue a concession speech and continues to claim that he won the election.
However, despite Mr. Trump’s false claims, some of the Boyle Heights community are excited about the change to come.
First-time voter Paula Jaime, 18, who spoke at the demonstration in Mariachi Plaza said that when she heard the news there was a feeling of acceptance that change would come.
“I am not gonna lie to you, everybody around me was super hyped and so enthusiastic, but something to me was just, came with the feeling of acceptance like, ‘yeah, this, this is a reality,’” said Jaime. “It’s not necessarily something I’m enthusiastic about, but it’s something that I’m accepting.”
Unlike Jaime and Aguayo, some Boyle Heights folks like 42-year-old Larry Stewart rejected the election as a whole based on their distrust of all candidates.
“Man, like I said before, none of these clowns are here for me,” Stewart said after Biden was declared the winner. “Its good that we got a black woman like [Vice President-elect Kamala Harris] but she is no better than any of the others.”
Although people like Aguayo may still cling to the false hope that the election was rigged and folks like Stewart distrust anyone running for office, the hope generated by Biden’s win is only the launching point for the work ahead.
“Now it’s time to keep fighting,” said Brenes. “Keep fighting for education, immigration, housing, health, for leadership that will finally take on the Coronavirus that has afflicted so much pain and harm on our communities.
Brenes paused a moment and with tears in her eyes said, “We’re ready. “We’re ready to keep up the work. We got to keep up the work. It doesn’t end today. It starts.”