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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

From Grant Park to Marshfield Avenue

So I have to take a minute to report on the doings in Grant Park tonight. I saw the tall gangly speck of Barack Obama and the shorter, eager speck of Joe Biden waving to the crowd with their wives after the acceptance speech was over. They had the giant TVs, which is how I saw the speech.

CNN got shots of some local Chicago heroes, like Oprah and Jesse Jackson. I'm sure there will be pictures of Jesse with tears on his cheeks all over the place tomorrow. I saw some people I knew as they panned the crowd: Ald. Rick Munoz (22nd Ward), Marilyn Stewart, president of the Chicago Teachers Union, Jack Wuest, director of the Alternative Schools Network and his wife, Maria Whalen, from Voices for Illinois Children.

Connie's Pizza had the concession. They must have made a mint. South Side in da house!

After it was all over I ran into a friend I haven't seen for a long while. She's an African-American lesbian who works for a major news outlet. She put down her notepad long enough to share a big victory hug with me. "If you'd asked me five years ago, even two years ago, I would have said no way," she reflected. It made my night to run into her.

I will give Da Mare props for the speed and efficiency of getting the crowd out of there and for running plenty of trains and buses. At the Ashland Orange Line I lucked out and caught the southbound bus as it was waiting for the light to change. I talked with my seatmate, a nice younger woman who had a ticket to Grant Park but gave it up because she had to work.

When I got off the bus and walked to the corner, Yup-yup was standing around. "Hey," he said.

"Hey," I said back. "O-ba-ma!"

"O-ba-ma," he said back. We met up at the traffic circle. He gave me the fist bump and said, "Tonight, we made history." I hugged him. With Obama in office, just about anything is possible.


Anonymous said...

The energy in that space must have been incredible. I could feel it even through the tv!

Maritza said...

Yeah, it was. In some ways the most fun part came as we were leaving. To get people out faster they opened up a fenced-in lane heading out in a different direction from the main exit. My friend and I walked through it and some people who hadn't gotten tickets were lining the gates high-fiving everybody as we came out. It was fun to feel like a rock star for a minute, and to just savor the unity of saying "Yes, we did!"

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