Friday, November 07, 2008

E-Day: SF Style

We honked horns and waved signs on Crenshaw boulevard in LA, we danced to soul-disco classic "Ain't No Stopping Us" on 125th Street in Harlem and we partied in San Francisco from the Castro district to 19th and Valencia Streets to Divisadero, where crowds sung along to Bob Marley's "Three O'Clock Roadblock."

All over America, in big cities and small towns, citizens of all races, nationalities and political perspectives came out of their apartments and houses, party-hopped, shut down streets and diverted traffic to celebrate one of the most monumental elections in the country's history.

Several of my friends predicted that there would be metaphorical dancing in the streets. But the reality of people actually dancing, hugging, smiling and reclaiming their public streets was all the more sweet. It was a celebration lead by youth, and one well deserved, with some 66-percent of the youth vote cast for Obama. In San Francisco, as with many other city, first-time voters and Millennials filled the streets after Obama's acceptance speech. I felt lucky to be a part of their leap into civic activism.

After attending a small gathering at XLR8R Magazine publisher Andrew Smith's house (complete with Indian pizza), I rode my bike near a closed off section of Castro street, where folks were gathered in the thousands, watching the Obama election victory on a large projection screen, and cautiously eyeing the numbers coming in on Proposition 8, a ban on same-sex marriage, which ended up passing by a 300,000 vote margin. While this measure was a progressive set-back, it provides a goal for newly energized young activists -- we have to look ahead to new challenges and change our world block by block.

From there I headed north to the corner of Divisadero and Hayes Street, where a friend had texted me that the street had been shut down by partiers. Sure enough, threre was the throng, surging to the sounds of a make-shift sound system, with cops looking on anxiously. Complete strangers shared beers, hugged, hollered and generally soaked in the moment. Of course the digital recorders and cell phones cameras were out in full-force -- true Millennial signifiers. But without them, citizen journalists couldn't have captured joyous moments, like these:

In San Francisco

In Harlem: "He needs four more years..."