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Biden-Harris supporters get together for a party at the Liberty Pole

Randy Gorbman

When Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were declared the president-elect and vice president-elect on Saturday, the local activist organization Free the People Roc organized a celebration at the Liberty Pole in downtown Rochester.

Dozens came out to enjoy food, music and a dance party.  But there was a strong message shared by many of the people who showed up; they were pleased there will be a change in the White House.

Among those who stopped by was Sabrina Wilkerson who choked back a few tears when talking about her mother, a pastor in central New York, who marched in Alabama during the civil rights protests decades ago.

"I am here because my mother is 80 years old, she marched during the civil rights (era)," Wilkerson said. "She marched with Martin Luther King. She was sprayed with water hoses. I’m here for my mother. I talked to her today, she’s so overjoyed, she’s a pastor of her own church, she is so overjoyed today."

Hillary Bialecki was also at the event. She said she wasn’t originally thrilled with Biden as the presidential pick by the Democratic Party, but she did vote for the Biden-Harris ticket, and said she and others in the community will hold them accountable. Bialecki feels a new administration in Washington can bring about needed change if the moment is there.

"The people that have worked so hard to mobilize and get the vote out, get our demands out, continue to protest, continue to gather, use our voices," Bialecki said. "I’m not sure if it’s going to be the systemic change that we need in this country, but it’s a good start."

Also attending the event, Michelle Saccente said that having Harris as vice president, is an important symbol for young girls.

“She’s going to speak to all little girls, to all women, white, Asian, Hispanic, Black, because they’re gonna see that women can be strong," Saccente said.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.