OAKLAND (KPIX 5) — Some people in Berkeley and Oakland waved American flags celebrating the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, but not everyone KPIX 5 spoke with was so enthusiastic.
Harris made history Wednesday, becoming the first African-American to ascend to the nation’s second highest office and first person of South Asian descent to become vice president.READ MORE: Pandemic-Inspired Art Greets Visitors to Newly-Reopened San Francisco Museums
While the East Bay was a stronghold of support for Harris, who grew up in Oakland and Berkeley, nearly 70,000 or 16% of those who voted in Alameda County during the 2020 election chose Trump.
Political arguments often divide, but not for Elise O’Connell and her friend, who sat on a bench to eat lunch in Danville.
“I felt like it was a new beginning and thought the inauguration was great,” said O’Connell.
“The Democrats say they want unity. They say that, but are not acting like it,” said her friend Niki, who asked for her last name not to be broadcast.
In Berkeley, Patricia and Albert Williams took a stroll in their neighborhood past Kamala Harris’ childhood home.
“To see democracy in action is beautiful,” said Albert, a Marine veteran.READ MORE: East Bay Entrepreneurs Eager for Red Tier Easing to Boost Business
“Such a relief to hear a President so articulate and had such empathy and talked about unity,” said Patricia.
“What we haven’t had for the last four years is a president for all the people. That’s the most important thing. This is the United States,” said Albert.
Randy Coyner is also a veteran, and Trump supporter. He said didn’t watch the inauguration ceremony Wednesday morning.
“I was so disinterested in watching the inauguration today it was disheartening,” said Coyner. “He pulled the scab off political system so all could see how corrupt our political system and a lot of our elected officials are.”
Teachers at Thousand Oaks Elementary, the Berkeley school Harris attended as a young girl, watched the ceremony with their students on Zoom.
“Seeing them cheer online when watching together was magical. I had tears the whole time,” said teacher Lisa Rossi.
“It was so beautiful to see the students smile today and to see the leaders of our country doing and saying the right things,” said Marvin Reed, another Thousand Oaks teacher.MORE NEWS: UC Researchers Find North Coast Kelp Forest Nearly Wiped Out
“She’s an ordinary woman but an extraordinary person. That’s who Kamala is,” said Albert Williams.