What was originally planned as a rally to make sure every vote was counted in a tight Presidential race Saturday at Niagara Square in downtown Buffalo, turned into a celebration of the election of Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States.
The rally was organized by Citizens Action of New York, and featured a variety of leaders from various local grassroots organizations. Despite the shift in tone and tenor, the main idea coming out of the rally, Showing Up for Racial Justice member Josie Diebold said, is that there is a lot more work to be done in the fight for social justice.
“We are definitely out here celebrating this win,” she said of the Biden victory. “We know that it’s a movement win. We know that this win was made possible by visionary and Black-led organizing, and in particular, the incredible organizing of Black women.”
Locally, Diebold says this work includes eliminating the persistence of racism and defunding the Buffalo Police Department, holding the Erie County Sheriff’s Department accountable for the deaths in its jails, and making fundamental changes to the criminal justice system.
Organizer and Buffalo Police Advisory Board member De’Jon Hall said despite legal battles in some states as to vote tallies, he believes Biden’s victory to be both “clear and “decisive.” With a Biden presidency on the horizon, Hall said the real work begins now.
“I want to make no mistake about it,” he said. “We have a lot of work to do, especially as progressive organizers, making sure this country moves forward, and not get caught up in feelings of nostalgia and normalcy.”
Hall said there is enough power to change policies in order to help the underserved in Buffalo and Erie County, as long social justice organizations continue to hold those in power accountable.