Nearly 100 people happy with the outcome of the presidential election attended a hastily-organized event Saturday in downtown Bloomington billed as, "You're Fired! A Community Farewell for 45."
It was held hours after national media outlets declared Democrat Joe Biden the winner over incumbent Republican Donald Trump in Tuesday's presidential election.
Songs such as "Celebration" and "Bye, Bye, Bye" blasted over the loudspeaker while dozens of people danced and high-fived each other, prior to hearing several speakers guide them through cheers and directed them to stay civically focused.
Many carried signs that said, "Bye Don 2020" and "You're Fired" among others. Keith Moldovan of Bloomington created a bed-sheet banner that read "You're Fired Trump" with a line through the number 45, referring to the president being the 45th president.
"I made it this afternoon, right after Biden was declared the winner," Moldovan said. The reverse of his sign read, "I need to be able to tell my children I did not stay silent."
Hannah Beer, an ISU student who was elected to the McLean County Board in last week's election, said she had been working four years for this moment.
"The nightmare is finally over, but we have so much more work to do," said Beer, adding, "We've got another election coming up in April," referring to next year's municipal elections. "It's not as glamorous as the presidential, but it's more important. We have to elect some good local folks."
Cecelia Long, an organizer with Illinois People's Action and a board member with the Bloomington-Normal chapter of Democratic Socialists of America, said she focused on the graduated income tax proposal that failed statewide.
"We had 350 people working on the Fair Tax locally, which is amazing," she said. "We have to keep fighting."
Chemberly Cummings, who last week lost her bid to unseat longtime Republican state Rep. Dan Brady of Bloomington, said Trump's lack of a plan to combat the COVID-19 pandemic directly impacted behavior at the celebration.
"If we'd had the right leadership to begin with, we could hug each other right now," she said. "Be patient with our new leadership. There's a lot of clean-up, and I don't think there are enough mops and buckets."
One of the event's organizers, community organizer and Bloomington Ward 6 city council member Jenn Carrillo, admitted she had mixed feelings about the election results.
"My worst fear election night was Donald Trump would be re-elected," Carrillo told the crowd. "But my second worst fear was that Joe Biden would get elected," said Carrillo, who supported more progressive candidates during the Democratic primary.
"I was afraid (if Biden was elected) everybody would just go home and pretend everything would be OK, but shit ain't been okay," she said, adding a high number of immigrants had been rounded up and sent home during the Obama/Biden administration.
But Carrillo said a friend reminded her that, "We didn't elect a savior. He isn't going to save us."
Pat Lawler, a Normal Community High Social Studies teacher who is running for alderman in Bloomington's Ward 5, said Trump made his job difficult.
"When we are trying to educate youth, and that is the example we have being set for people, it is not acceptable," Lawler said.
He said people have to take care of each other, and called for support for a Welcoming Cities ordinance that supporters say would reaffirm to immigrants that the community values them.
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