SJSU, downtown erupts with chants for Obama

I knew the campus was going to explode Tuesday night. And that’s where I wanted to be. I wanted to see for myself the reaction of such a historical moment in the faces of the young voters that helped make it happen. So when I heard the television announce Obama’s win, I grabbed my keys and jumped into the car, barreling towards the San Jose State campus.

It seems that I had just missed the celebration near the Tommie Smith and John Carlos statue. According to the Spartan Daily, about 150 students spontaneously gathered around the iconic statue screaming their heads off.

I also found this clip from CNN’s iReport (some language NSFW). You can see just how pitch black the area around the statue is. This celebration was impromptu, but people knew exactly where they wanted to stand at this moment, right beside two of SJSU’s own black history icons, that total darkness couldn’t keep them away.

I didn’t arrive on the scene until that larger group splintered into pockets of excitement and migrated towards more well-lit areas of campus. Out in the plaza area in front of the dorms, students were hugging, high-fiving and occasionally breaking out into chants of “O-ba-ma!”

I followed a friend into the dorms where a group of about 75-100 students crammed into a meeting room to watch both McCain’s and Obama’s speeches. (See the Spartan Daily’s video here.) The RAs brought in stacks of pizza and it was gone in 20 minutes. People were excited. People were jumping. People were hugging and screaming and accidentally knocking over soda. Some were gasping, some were silent, and some were obviously disappointed at the election results. But everyone seemed to be in agreement on two things: both speeches hit just the right tones, and there was simply not enough pizza.

I walked out of the building only to find some of the more rambunctious students ride a shopping cart down a sloping walkway, thrashing their vocal chords with screams of “OOOOOOBAAAAAMMAAAA!” all the way down. A group of black students beat-boxed and improvised rap lyrics to mark the occasion. Another group hugged every moving thing that passed their way. I could still hear all the commotion on my way back to my car.

Knowing that SJSU couldn’t have been the only celebratory hotspot in the neighborhood, I drove downtown with my windows down and listened out for any whoops and hollers. Some came from an occasional bar or two, some came from bicycle bells ringing, but not a whole lot of outright festivities. So I drove down a little further, turned the corner, and found exactly what I was looking for: a group of about 30 people marching down the streets, chanting, singing, waving to honking cars and celebrating every little bit of feedback sent their way.

I wanted to jump out of my car and take some pictures, but alas, I forgot my camera AND my phone.

So to those of you who were witness to that crowd — or heck, if you have pictures of ANY Election Day revelries/pity parties around the South Bay — please post them in the comments. I and everyone else would love to see them.

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