After the votes were counted and it was finally announced that Joe Biden was the president-elect and Kamala Harris was the vice president-elect, it felt like a weight had been lifted. Most of us were happy because we would soon say goodbye to a man who was unfit to lead this nation—someone who exploited division in this country, put Black and Brown lives in danger, and made the U.S. look powerless. Little did we know then how difficult it would be to truly enjoy Biden and Harris’s victory.
After a traumatic year filled with fighting against police brutality and systemic racism, we should be focused on celebrating the fact that the first Black, South Asian and female vice president will be sworn into office. This is a historical moment and a huge win for the Black community, women and young girls everywhere. Instead, Biden and Harris’s big day has been overshadowed by COVID-19, President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, the insurrection that took place on January 6, 2020, and the looming threat posed by White supremacists.
We are concerned for our safety because white supremacists have threatened to target state and federal buildings across the nation, including the U.S. Capitol for a second time. According to the FBI, they have plans to capture and assassinate lawmakers and to wreak havoc during the inauguration. This is all because of Trump’s rhetoric that the 2020 presidential election was rigged, despite the fact the Department of Justice has made it very clear there was no evidence to support that any fraudulent activity took place during the election.
While Washington D.C. would usually be buzzing with excitement ahead of the inauguration, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has declared a state of emergency and warned residents against traveling through the district. The areas surrounding the White House and the U.S. Capitol look like a ghost town, as most shops and restaurants have been boarded up. These areas would usually be occupied by residents and tourists, but now there’s a heavy National Guard presence with armed troops stationed on every corner to protect against any threats posed by White supremacists.
Traditionally, politicians, celebrities and members of the working-class would be gearing up to celebrate the presidential inauguration, whether it be in person, at a watch party, or at home infront of a TV. This year, however, it’s much different. There were already restrictions put in place because of COVID-19, but stricter restrictions were implemented once White supremacists threatened to attack areas in the district in recent days. Many Americans aren’t as excited about this year’s inauguration, mainly because most are isolated from loved ones due to COVID, and some are fearful of the violent threats that White supremacists have made across the nation.
Now that we are just one day away from Biden and Harris being sworn in as president and vice president of the United States of America, it’s high time we allow ourselves to celebrate.
Harris is certainly ecstatic about tomorrow’s swearing-in ceremony. She tweeted today, “When I raise my right hand and take the oath of office tomorrow, I carry with me two heroes who’d speak up for the voiceless and help those in need: Justice Thurgood Marshall and Mrs. Shelton.”
Although the sitting president traditionally attends the inauguration of the incoming president, Trump plans to leave the White House Wednesday morning ahead of the festivities. Once again, he’s attempting to make this moment about himself. But we won’t even notice this time. We will be too busy partying in honor of Biden and Harris.