Chicago - Thousands of people poured into Grant Park late Tuesday night to celebrate the victory of Barack Obama, the first African-American president-elect. As the polls began to close, and it was clear that Obama was winning the election, the mood became more festive, and soon cheers turned to roars as people of every race and ethnicity started chanting, “Yes we can!” Even reporters teared up and cheered as networks started to project Obama as the winner.
Obama pulled out of the Hyatt at 10:39 p.m. with his wife, Michelle, her mother and brother and the Obamas’ two daughters, Sasha and Malia. The crowd roared as he walked onstage.
“Change has come to America,” Obama told a massive gathering of 125,000. Looking serious and statesmanly, he said that the victory “belongs to you. It belongs to you.” He added, “There will be setbacks and false starts,” but he promised to be honest about his goals and ideas. “America we have come so far. We have seen so much, but there is so much to do,” he said. When he finished his speech many stood silent, some in tears. Others cheered.
“I am overwhelmed and emotional, but it’s a good emotion,” said Joanne Norwood. “We always told my 13-year-old son that he could be the president, but I never thought it would happen so soon—not in our lifetime.” She added that she thought Obama’s win was God’s will.
“This is the greatest country in the world,” one African-American woman screamed to a throng of reporters. “It was just a historical moment. I wanted to be a part of it,” said Nikisha Coleman of her presence in Grant Park, listening to President-elect Barack Obama, on this warm Chicago night.