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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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‘Turning a little bit to sanity’: Spokane reacts to Joe Biden winning the presidency

UPDATED: Sat., Nov. 7, 2020

Videos of New Yorkers screaming, honking and hooting when Joe Biden was elected president Friday went viral. In Spokane, downtown streets stayed mostly quiet.

By 1 p.m. Saturday, Todd Wear and Dalin Tipton had been waving a United States and rainbow flag for two hours on the 3500 block of south Grand Avenue. Cars honked and drivers waved at them.

“We’re as excited as can be,” Wear said.

His wife, Rosemary Wear, said she’d been crying all morning. She had to explain to their 7-year-old daughter Evelyn that they were happy tears. She said it was the thought of Kamala Harris being elected the first woman vice president that brought tears to her eyes.

“The first time I cried was for Evelyn. Now she sees it’s possible. My whole life I grew up never seeing that as a possibility,” Rosemary Wear said.

Evelyn, for her part, said she was happy Donald Trump would be leaving the white house because “he just treats people awful.”

Despite their relief, Tipton said the election results felt more like “turning a little bit to sanity. It still doesn’t fix the massive divide in this country.”

While some were celebrating Biden’s win, others were still disturbed by the millions of votes Trump got.

Two corresponding events, a rally in Manito Park and a car procession through the South Hill, cropped up to protest that “voters showed up by the millions to say yes to white supremacy,” as the description for the event on Facebook read.

The events, put together by a coalition of Spokane activists and organizations, were called, “No Time to Celebrate: Connect to your community.” But as the procession of more than two dozen cars with Black Lives Matter signs passed houses on 37th Avenue, families, dog walkers and couples did celebrate – jumping, dancing and waving at the procession.

“Now we can fight forward fights instead of rearguard fights,” said Liz Moore, director of the Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane, who helped organize the events.

Paige Kenney had similar mixed emotions. Her family’s blue 1950s Chevrolet truck has made appearances at several protests this summer and fall, including for Black Lives Matter and LGBT pride.

For this rally, the truck had a handmade sign reading, “We Count On Us.” She said it was directed at community members to pay attention to issues in the region, including neo-nazi groups.

“During the pandemic it’s hard to feel a sense of community. We need to keep telling each other, we’re there for you,” Kenney said.

Moore said she had many feelings at once. She was relieved and excited for the Biden administration, but didn’t want activists to lose the momentum they built under the Trump administration.

And in Pullman, people were setting off celebratory fireworks.

“Take time to celebrate,” Moore said. “Take time to realize the movement toward fascism is no longer going to be coming from the White House. And let’s move.”

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