Voters recall the moment when they heard Biden won

By Jennifer Warner

On November 7, 2020, Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris and President-elect Joe Biden celebrate with supporters after declaring victory at the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware. (Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

After a tumultuous and historical election, on Nov. 7, 2020 the media officially projected that former Vice President Joe Biden had won the electoral votes for Pennsylvania, bringing his total electoral votes to a winning 273 of the required 270.

Just like many Baby Boomers can remember what they were doing when they heard the news that President John F. Kennedy had been shot, many DCCC students and faculty say they will forever recall what they were doing when they heard that Biden was set to become the 46th president of the United States..

Jackie Vice-Black, 68, has her Ph.D. in psychology and recently returned to school to become a better writer. Last year she completed culinary classes in her quest to “never stop learning and growing as a person.”

Vice-Black was driving when she first learned of Biden’s victory.

“I had been glued to CNN and to computer updates on the race,” she recalled. “By Saturday morning, it seemed that the counting had slowed to a snail’s pace, although the remaining four states were trending for Biden.”

Vice-Black decided to run to Home Depot to pick up lightbulbs and leaf bags. “I was driving my BMW 5 series and every time I get a text message the car reads it to me and gives me the chance to tell it my reply, which it will send for me so that I can focus on safety,” she explained.

As she approached Home Depot, she heard the car’s speaker system announce she had gotten a group text stating Biden had pulled ahead of Donald J. Trump and that “NYC is dancing in the streets!”

“Do you want to reply to the group?” the car asked Vice-Black.

 “Yes!” she replied.

“What do you want to say to the group?” the car asked.

“I’m in my car with no access to TV,” Vice-Black said. “Did they call the race for Biden?”

In less than a minute the car said: “In a group text with Alanna, Chris, Dave, Rianna, Will, Kit, David, and you. Alanna writes—you shouldn’t be reading texts and replying while you are driving, Mom. But YES, Biden will be the next president and we finally got the crazy, narcistic liar out of the White House!”

Two seconds later, Vice-Black’s husband called her with the same news.  “All day, I got FaceTime messages from friends asking me to share a virtual glass of champagne,” she said.

Felix Agosto, a recent transfer student to DCCC, is a member of the Creative Writing Club. Agosto recalled walking through his neighborhood when a friend informed him about Biden’s win.

“We collectively cheered and jeered Trump,” Agosto said. “Everything was spectacular, as we had finally done it. After much deliberation and his attempts to undermine democracy, the emperor had finally lost.”

But then Agosto’s friend pointed to a nearby house with a cardboard cutout of Donald J. Trump, standing in the window. “It was horrifying!” Agosto said.

Social work major James Verdi was participating in an event at a local church when he heard the news.

“[I was] at a yard clean-up for the Wesley AME church in Swarthmore where I live,” he recalled.  “The news that the election was called by the press for Vice President Biden hadn’t been announced yet. Everybody there was pretty confident the incumbent had lost and astonished at how close it was, recognizing there was much work to do ahead of us.”

Then, as Verdi was walking home, he heard little celebrations starting.

“The news was official. Our neighborhood breathed a collective sigh of relief.”


Verdi remained cautious though. He knew that in June, Trump said if he were to lose, it would only be a result of fraud.

“My thoughts went to his supporters and how unstable and overzealous many of them seem, with their big pickup trucks and flags, and waving their guns around,” Verdi said. “They will support the baseless accusations of illegal voting and vicious attacks on our democratic process. I cannot totally enjoy the victory because I am anxious about what the losers might do.”

Dual enrollment student Fafali Tsiseglo was eating dinner and watching the election coverage on Nov. 7 with her mother and sister.

“We were listening to Biden and Harris’ speeches,” Tsiseglo said. “I enjoyed their speeches, and I really enjoyed their fireworks across the bright, night sky, but I disliked that the people were not socially distancing.”

Nevertheless, she added that she relished seeing the people’s lively enthusiasm while celebrating President Elect Joe Biden’s triumph.

Nyia Kelly, associate professor of communication studies and Phi Theta Kappa adviser, remembers that Nov. 7 was a beautiful day after several prior weeks of overcast weather. 

“I was itching to get out, so I decided to go for an adventurous 3.1-mile hike on a trail hidden in Killens Pond State Park,” she recalled.

Right before Kelly entered the woods, she received a long-awaited text from her niece:

“Joe Biden is the 46thPresident!”

Another reason Kelly said the election was so meaningful is that she was able to share it with her oldest daughter, who was a first-time voter.

“I am proud that many in our country made it a priority to exercise their right to vote, and I am proud to see that after all the civil unrest, my fellow Americans selected their first Black woman to be vice president of our great United States of America!” Kelly said.

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