Bay Area celebrates Inauguration

January 20, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
There were huge inauguration parties all over the Bay Area from morning until the late night.

Hundreds of people gathered in Oakland's Jack London Square to celebrate the inauguration of President Obama. Reality has set in. No longer is the first black president an idea or dream.

"Has it sunk in yet?" asked ABC7's Lilian Kim.
"Oh yeah, it's deep, really deep," said Brandon Nelson, an Oakland resident.

"He shows that the said impossible is possible," said Ronald Muhammad, an Oakland resident.

The restaurant Everett and Jones organized a festive gathering. People cheered as they watched the Obamas dance the night away. Several paid to have their picture taken with a cardboard cutout of the new president, while others took home balloon replicas of Obama.

"I just think this is fun and I'm enjoying every aspect of this celebration. I'm not thinking of anything else that's going to go on later. I'm just thinking wow, this is a great moment," said Dafina Kuficha, an Oakland resident.

The party brought out the young and the old. Frederick Elder, an Oakland resident, is 78 years old.

"It took a long time and what Martin Luther King went through to provide for us today. It's a great day in history and I'm hoping everyone enjoys today," said Elder.

As elated as everyone is on the historic day, many people know, in the morning the hard work begins. People are trying to be realistic about what to expect from the new administration.

"I'm in construction. I hope that we get back to work more like we should be. It's going to be a long time. It's not going to happen instantly, no matter who comes in. It's not just going to happen tomorrow," said Ali Shearron.

Elsewhere in Oakland, the Ella baker Center for Human Rights hosted an inauguration celebration. The organization also launched a new campaign called "Soul of the City", aimed at promoting civic engagement, community service, and political education. There was also a big celebration at the Bayview Opera House in San Francisco. The free event featured art and performances by local children, music, a big-screen re-play of President Obama's inauguration, and speeches by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

There were a number of parties in Silicon Valley as well. In Sunnyvale, there was a inaugural ball celebrating a historic event.

It had all the glitz of an inaugural ball with toasts, fancy dresses, and music, but it wasn't in Washington D.C. It was in Sunnyvale.

"This matters. This is worth dressing up for. This is not business casual, this is a great celebration," said Marie Highby, the ball organizer.

It's a celebration that's lasted all day. From watching President Barak Obama's speech, to the parade, the was a day that mattered to Chima Njaka, a Nigerian native.

"Certainly for me and my family it's a very historic day so you know, it's one of those life changing or event changing days in the country," said Chima Njaka, a San Jose resident.

"I'm so proud to be an American today," said Brenda Newson, a San Jose resident.

Meantime, the focus was on the future for those at the Santa Clara County Democratic Party's event.

Local politicians like city councilwoman, Madison Nguyen welcomed guests to a time of change.

"Happy Obama Day!" said Nguyen.

It was something those in the room, have wanted for a very long time. Because standing alongside local leaders at this celebration, are teachers, secretaries, and construction workers, who need the economy to turn around now.

"I think he's stepping up to the plate, giving people hope and he's saying we're all in this together and making it an American dream to put the economy back together. I do believe in him," said Steve Van Den Heuvel, a sheet metal workers union member.

Obama will speak more about his economic recovery plan, which is expected to create 4.1 million jobs.