At noon on Sunday, around 250 people gathered on the Monroe County courthouse lawn in downtown Bloomington, Indiana, to celebrate the results of last Tuesday’s presidential election.
The Associated Press reported on Saturday, about 24 hours earlier, that Democrats Joe Biden and Kamala Harris had clinched victory over the Republican Trump/Pence ticket.
A handful of leaders from activist groups addressed the crowd over a PA system.
Some of the remarks could be counted as basking in the glow of a partisan victory. Many were a bit more pointed, challenging those assembled to tackle the work that lies ahead.
Lindsey Batteast, with the Rising Rainbow Coalition, warned: “All of our elected officials, whether you are Democrat or Republican, you will be held accountable.”
Batteast noted that November is American Indian Heritage Month. “I challenge each and every one of us to think about the people who have been on this land where we stand for thousands of years.” She named off the native people that lived here: the Miami, the Delaware, the Potawatomi and the Shawnee.
Batteast told the crowd that there’s no reason why indigenous people should be impacted more by climate change than any other race. At the end of the month, work should not stop, she said. Providing equitable support to those who’ve been left on the “back burner” has to continue all year round, Batteast said.
Batteast quoted the civil rights leader who served in the U.S. house Representatives from Georgia, who died in 2020: “Like John Lewis said, democracy is not a state, it is an act.”
Kamala Harris is the first woman, in particular the first Black woman or woman of Southeast Asian descent, to be elected as vice president of the United States.
Jennifer Crossley, chair of the Monroe County Democratic Party emceed Sunday’s event at the courthouse.
In her opening remarks, Crossley alluded to the quote from Harris that headlined coverage of her Saturday speech by several national news outlets. Here’s what Harris said: “While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last, because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities.”
About those remarks by Harris, Crossley said on Sunday: “I’m the first Black person to hold this position as party chairwoman. And I get super-emotional every time I hear [Harris] talk when she says, although she might be the first, she is definitely not wanting to be the last. And although I am the first, I definitely don’t want to be the last.”
Crossley continued, “Looking at my two girls…not only can they dream it, but they can actually see it.”
Crossley said, “It feels so good to just look out and just see what America should look like and what our representation should look like.”
Crossley also said that more than 90 percent of Black women voted for the Biden/Harris ticket. She called Black women “the backbone of democracy.” Crossley continued, “We should get your respect. But we should also lead. So step aside, let us lead. Move out the way, because we comin’!”
Also addressing the crowd were Allyson McBride (IU Dems) and Shruti Rana (Monroe County National Organization for Women).
No elected officials addressed the audience on Sunday. Among the elected officials spotted at the event were Bloomington’s mayor, John Hamilton, Monroe County commissioner Lee Jones, and Monroe County councilor Cheryl Munson.
Crossley told The Square Beacon that the organizers of Sunday’s event wanted to focus on giving activists a chance to speak.
Organizers included Monroe County NOW, the Indiana 9th Latino Democratic Caucus, the Rising Rainbow Coalition, the IU College Dems, and No Space for Hate.
Photos: Monroe County Courthouse Lawn Nov. 8, 2020