Image courtesy of Paul Sancya, Associated Press.

By: Alyssa Walrad

During one of the most pivotal moments in modern history, 2020’s election season has prompted outcry of justice and change by the American people. On Nov. 7, news broke the internet: former Vice President Joseph R. Biden was projected to be the 46th President of the United States, with 284 electoral college votes and counting. California Senator Kamala Harris made history as the first biracial (first black, first South-Asian) person, and first woman to be elected into the Vice President position.

Millions of people across the nation took to the streets to celebrate the historic win. Social media blew up as news outlets and numerous grass-roots organizations began sharing. For Northeastern University grad Jerome McKeever, it was “a beautiful day in this experiment we call America.” McKeever states that voting this year was monumental since the political system was built “for wealthy white males” while disenfranchising women and minority groups. “Today gives us the foundation to fight for the reality of tomorrow for every American.”

This election season can be summed up in three words: “frustrated, hopeless, and fearful” for Mount Saint Mary alum Gisselle Martinez. The Newburgh community activist has spent her months after graduating advocating for the rights of minority citizens in the community, as well as helping many register to vote. Saturday “meant marginalized groups won’t have to be afraid for another four years.” Martinez believes moving forward, we need “to listen to the people who were wounded by our tragic past” and rectify “through equity.”

First time voters surged in record numbers during 2020. Generation Z, defined as citizens born after 9/11 according to PBS, are said to make up about 38% of the overall voting population. Carolyn DeWitt, executive producer and president of Rock that Vote states that “young people have enormous power in our election” simply by seeing the number of teens and young adults show out in crowds advocating for civil rights over the last few years. With Hispanic Americans becoming the largest ethnic minority group among registered voters, barely outpacing African Americans, 2020 has prompted many Americans to take action by where it matters most: in shaping our democracy.

For SUNY Orange student Dana Hall, this election marked a “proud moment” for her. The first-time, young voter stated “we got someone out of office that did not represent our America the right way.” As a minority woman and immigrant, Hall emphasized that “this win” was for the continuously marginalized groups, “for those who couldn’t use their voice; we did it for them.”

These next few months will greatly challenge Americans as recounts in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin are underway by direction of President Trump, who refuses to concede gracefully. Trump, who has since held press conferences and rallies claiming victory, tweeted that Biden is “rushing to falsely pose as the winner” and that the race is “far from over.”

According to the Associated Press, Biden has presumably won with 290 electoral votes, and counting. CNN reported on Nov. 8 that Trump’s senior advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner, along with First Lady Melania Trump, has advised the president to accept the terms of the election results amid his claims of barricading himself in the White House, and will only leave when Secret Service “drag” him out “kicking and screaming.”