Flint, MI– With the theme “America United,” Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be inaugurated today as president and vice president of the United States.
Biden will be the 46th president, and Harris will make history as the first Black and South Asian woman to accept a major party’s vice presidential nomination, and the fourth woman in the country’s history to be chosen for a presidential ticket.
Once they are sworn in, Biden will deliver his first presidential address to the country, and Flint residents say they will be watching.
This election brought in record numbers of votes in Flint, and Biden received 28,231 of them which is more than 80% of all Flint votes.
Flint was an important city for the Democratic ticket, and voters showed up for them. Now, residents hope Biden and Harris show up for Flint.
“Flint voters carried him across the finish line for Michigan,” said Mayor Sheldon Neeley. “Flint was very pivotal in this election, and Flint voters are very excited because they know they made a great decision for this community, and played a big part in this election.”
Because of the role that Flint played in the election, Flint Activist Arthur Woodson said it’s important they see reciprocation.
“It took the African American community to put them in over the top,” Woodson said. “He has to be bold…I hope he doesn’t get in there and start yelling about unity, but then not help us once he got what he needed.”
Woodson said so far, Biden has been “on point.”
“He picked a diverse cabinet, but it’s not just about what members you put in, you need to break up the system of racism that’s deep down inside of it,” he said.
Councilman Eric Mays said he’d be tuning into watch the inauguration, and putting it into the context of how they can help Flint.
“I’m hoping our votes translate into direct action for Flint,” Mays said. “Flint, Detroit, Atlanta, Philadelphia…pockets of Black votes helped them directly. So that’s what I’m gonna be watching, looking, and hoping for.”
For Mays, part of that is with gaining their support to change the current proposed $641.25 million water lawsuit settlement.
“I know it could happen if the right people in leadership in Flint and in Michigan pushed it,” he said. “The State’s proposed settlement is underfunded and not properly structured. That’s what I’m gonna be looking at optimistically as I watch…trying to maneuver in a way where the proper communications can make it to Biden and democrats.”
Woodson had the opportunity to meet and speak with Harris when she visited Flint.
“They said they’re gonna get in there and help Flint with the water crisis,” Woodson said.
He said he requested that she help fix Flint’s water, bring in a cancer study, researchers, and doctors.
“I hope they live up their promise they made when they were sitting down talking to me,” Woodson said.
Neeley said his office will be working for their support.
“We were there for them, we want them to be there for us,” he said. “Our community is at the intersection of crisis, with the water crisis and now the pandemic. We need the support of our fellow government here in this community and we will be petitioning for their support.”
Water Warrior and Director of the Democracy Defense League Claudia Perkins-Milton said she thinks a Biden presidency will be great for the country, and hopes it will be great for Flint too.
“I’m hoping he focuses on Flint,” she said. “Being a water warrior, fighting all this time for Flint…people could see our disdain, and I think he got our message. I just feel blessed that we got rid of the idiot, and we’re getting someone who I think will care about the nation.”
Neeley said Biden’s theme of unity will be “bringing home that true American spirit.”
“In the last few years it seems like that spirit has been displaced, but he’s gonna refocus America,” he said.
The inauguration will begin at 10 a.m. and can be watched live here.