Pittsburghers take to streets to celebrate Biden victory


Rebecca Johnson | Contributing Editor

A crowd marches down East Carson Street on Saturday afternoon.

By Rebecca Johnson, Jon Moss, and Mary Rose O'Donnell

Pittsburghers danced and marched in the streets of the City’s South Side neighborhood mid-day Saturday after the 2020 presidential election was called for former Vice President Joe Biden.

“Allegheny County has delivered this country from the hands of hatred,” Steve Kelley, a longtime building cleaner with the Service Employees International Union 32BJ union, said.

Biden, a Democrat and vice president under President Barack Obama, won by rebuilding the electoral “blue wall” of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, as well as building support in the southwestern states of Arizona and Nevada, to ultimately put him over the top. Biden and Trump presented vastly different views of the nation, from how to handle the COVID-19 pandemic to confronting systemic racial inequality, among other critical issues.

Several hundred people gathered Saturday afternoon in the South Side to celebrate Biden’s victory. What was originally planned as a “Count Every Vote” protest quickly turned into a celebration with speeches, music and dancing. The crowd marched down East Carson Street and over the 10th Street Bridge to the City-County Building in Downtown, while making stops along the way to hear from speakers from several local organizations.

Tammy Hepps from the progressive group Bend the Arc Pittsburgh spoke during a stop on East Carson Street. Hepps, a fifth-generation Jewish Pittsburgher, reminded the crowd that this week marks the second anniversary of the Tree of Life massacre, according to the Jewish calendar. She said she hopes Saturday’s race call marks a transition from a time of “darkness” to a time of “light” in America.

“I have to tell you today, it feels like this week is from … darkness to light,” Hepps said. “From despairing that we would have more and more years of this to the day where we can celebrate that maybe, with all of us, we can bring light to this country from where there’s been darkness.”

Jacquea Mae, a community worker from Homewood, sang to the crowd and encouraged everyone to “celebrate” and “party.”


While upbeat, some members of the crowd noted that progressive organizing should not halt just because Democrats control the White House again.

“Hatred is still alive, it does not go away because we have a Democrat in office,” activist Chrissy Carter said. “Our organizing does not stop because Joe Biden is in office.”