Attend the swearing-in at any cost

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Frédéric Arnould (access the author's page)

With meeting restrictions due to the pandemic and unprecedented security measures that have been put in place in Washington since the January 6 insurgency, the swearing-in ceremony for Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will be rather virtual. But none of this prevented some female supporters from participating in their own way in what they call historic in more than one respect.

Neatly dressed, Margaret Fournier stagnates impatiently as she awaits the inauguration ceremony. It must be said that this is not the first time that she has traveled from her Texas to attend this great presidential meeting.

As a lieutenant colonel who served as a US Army nurse for 27 years and who was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, she was invited by the Obama-Biden nomination committee in 2013 to participate in the swearing-in.

Sitting comfortably in her hotel room in Alexandria, neighboring Virginia, she says she had already bought her plane ticket for the 2021 swearing-in before even knowing the outcome of the election. of November 3. Not for a single second did she doubt Biden's victory.

I knew Joe Biden was gonna win, he was predestined, she breathes, with a touch of mysticism. The new Biden era and a possible future Harris presidency give him hope. Look at all the women, especially African-American, who were chosen by Joe Biden. Here we are, we women, and if Kamala ever becomes president, it will change history by setting the highest standards for women to come out of the shadows.

Kamala Harris, our sister

Margaret Fournier has one thing in common with the vice-president whose praises she sings, just as much as those of Joe Biden. She was educated on the same campus as Kamala Harris, Washington. Howard University is one of those HBCUs, this network of historically black colleges and universities created with the goal of serving the African American population.

Kamala Harris has never hidden her pride in having studied at one of these institutions. During the virtual Democratic convention, she proudly wore her Howard University sweater. Its journey is now the pride of those who have also been there.

Howard University has produced great people who do great things. They are the ones we need to reunite the country, explains Margaret Fournier.

This sisterhood of the HBCU, Nikkie Ray wanted to celebrate it on the occasion of this investiture ceremony. She and her husband arrived a few days ago, straight from their native Louisiana. For her, too, it will be the second time that she has attended the inauguration of a president. When I was a young mother, it was wonderful to have had the opportunity to be in the nomination of Barack Obama in 2009, she says. At the time, her daughter was just 6 months old.

I was very determined that she was a part of this moment.

Video content is available for this article

A woman points to a newspaper.

Kamala Harris, a source of inspiration and pride for African-Americans

Photo: Radio-Canada / Frédéric Arnould

Joe Biden, their unlikely idol

Today is an opportunity for her to bring out her memories of 12 years ago: some photos and the special edition of Washington Times of January 20, 2009. <q data-attributes = '{"lang": {"value": "fr", "label": "Français"}, "value": {"html": "Look! Joe Biden is there, she said pointing to the title of the time: Biden's unlikely path to Washington. You see, you never know what life has in store for you. "," Text ":" Look! Joe Biden is here, she said, pointing to the title of the day: Biden's unlikely path to Washington. You see, you never know what life has in store for you. "}} 'Lang =" en”>Look! Joe Biden is here, she said, pointing to the title of the time: Biden's unlikely path to Washington. You see, you never know what life has in store for you.

For Nikkie Ray, Wednesday's historic moment will also be Kamala Harris's swearing-in. She was the one she voted for in the primary, Joe Biden was her second choice. As she opens up to the camera, she is finalizing the coordination of meeting these former HBCU students ahead of Wednesday's inauguration.

Plans to attend the ceremony in person were obviously shaken by the pandemic and the January 6 insurgency. We knew that the swearing-in would be virtual, but that does not prevent us from wanting to celebrate among ourselves, she adds.

A gift almost every four years

Nikkie, who stays in her hotel in Baltimore, Maryland, made the road to greet the various participants, such as Margaret Fournier. And she has a little gift for the latter, who turns 66 on this January 20. In short, each investiture is like a gift for Margaret. Except, she said with an almost disgusted grimace, four years ago, when Donald Trump was sworn in. He disappointed me very much, all he did was divide the Americans.

Just before the city of Washington was almost completely closed to the public, to discourage gatherings amid the pandemic and in a sense of insecurity since the riots two weeks ago, Nikkie, Margaret and a dozen other Afro -American women have reserved a table at one of the Washington restaurants not far from Howard University.

If indoor meals are prohibited, it is possible to eat on the terrace in plastic bubbles in which we have installed small heaters. Just because the area around the Capitol is barricaded, doesn’t mean that we shouldn't celebrate the advent of Joe Biden and his vice-president among sisters of heart, ”they explained.

The country's promise of healing

The young Patrice Duboyse, a student from Detroit, confirms this. This is what our democracy needs right now, I'm here for Joe and Kamala. The expectations of these African-Americans are in any case gigantic. Black community mobilized for Joe Biden to win the White House, Nikkie said. <q data-attributes = '{"lang": {"value": "fr", "label": "Français"}, "value": {"html": "Le 20january at noon the story begins again, reckons in a hopeful tone Margaret, the healing begins again. "," text ":" January 20 at noon the story begins again, reckons in a tone full of hope Margaret, the healing begins again. "}} 'lang =" en”>At noon on January 20, the story begins anew, Margaret says hopefully, the healing begins again.

A last toast for democracy and for the investiture and then Lieutenant-Colonel Fournier begins to sway singing Kamala, Kamala, Kamala. And Joe and Joe and Joe.

It will be a cool and long evening, but this historic Wednesday will warm their hearts as they think about this change of direction for the United States under Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. They won't be on the Washington Mall to watch it in the flesh, but in front of their hotel room TV screens. Attend it at all costs, far from home, but closer to several kilometers from the Capitol. This is America in 2021 too.

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