Yesterday around midday I was at Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn not long after the Associated Press called Pennsylvania for Joe Biden. There was a large throng of revelers there, pumped up with the adrenaline of a victory that millions have been anticipating for four long, painful years.
Traffic was knotted all around as the crowds converged on the the southern tip of the plaza, but no one seemed to mind—you could hear car horns blaring and drivers and passengers yelling out their windows, but out of jubilation, not anger. The crowd converged on the iconic Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch, where people danced and chanted and clapped to music. A number of folks had brought drums and percussion instruments from their homes and they were beating a powerful tattoo that rang throughout the air, seemingly for miles.
Nothing had been organized but everyone was in unison, and people took turns dancing at the center, directly under the arch, passing around a huge American flag and waving it to the delight of hundreds of onlookers.
This woman danced with her infant child strapped to her back. I tried to get a closeup shot that showed the baby’s face, but I think I was too overwhelmed with the magnificence of her movements.
At one point this man stepped into the center. Even without the flag, he instantly drew everyone’s attention and he proceeded to lead the crowd in an exhilarating, impromptu speech about the triumph of truth. Several times he coaxed the crowd into kneeling down with him, and then together everyone jumped up with a burst of energy, shouting at their top of their lungs with joy.
When the news alert had come through earlier in the day, around 11:30a, I wasn’t even able to emotionally process the victory. My mind had been in such a despondent state since Election Night, both frustrated by the unresolved vote counts and the fact that millions of Americans saw no reason why Donald Trump’s lies, deceit and dereliction of duties should not be rewarded by another term in office. If I’m honest, it just disgusted me. But being there at Grand Army Plaza, surrounded by people of every race, color and creed, I was finally able to enjoy—at least for an afternoon—the wonder and beauty of a truly meaningful moment of progress in a much longer campaign to set the world right again.