NW Philly residents celebrate Obama’s victory

President Barack Obama’s win over Gov. Mitt Romney in Tuesday’s general election made more than a few Philadelphians smile.

In the city’s Mt. Airy’s section, more than 100 Obama supporters celebrated inside 7165 Lounge on Germantown Avenue during an Election Night watch party.

Among them, was local businesswoman Toni Jones, who works at a clothing and accessory store on the Avenue, the neighborhood’s main commercial corridor.

On Wednesday, Jones said it was “pandemonium” inside the packed banquet space after the election was called for Obama around 11:10 p.m., with party-goers screaming, clapping, and hugging one another.

Some of the older attendees, she said, cried tears of joy.

“I’m glad he won again,” said Jones, an employee at Vendors Boutique. “Presidents should serve eight years, period.”

J. Justin Ragsdale, who runs the Lest We Forget Black Holocaust Slavery Museum in Port Richmond, was equally enthused with Tuesday’s result.

“I loved it, I loved it, I loved it,” said Ragsdale, who remained at the lounge until both candidates’ speeches were delivered.

Ragsdale added that he feels Obama will be able to get much more accomplished in his term now that he no longer has the specter of re-election holding him back. “The stops are out,” he said.

Earlier in the evening, the atmosphere at the party was less jovial.

For weeks, polls and political pundits forecasted a tight election.

“I’m a little nervous,” said Sha Kenyatta, a West Oak Lane resident, shortly after entering the party.

“I’m apprehensive. I want the President to win,” said Ragsdale, who was seated beside Kenyatta.

The sentiment was shared by others, like Deborah Blassingame of West Mt. Airy, who came with a group of friends so they could dine and share the experience.

“Right now, I’m concerned, “she said.

Blassingame’s friends were a less concerned. “I’m not worried, said Lenore Nugent.

By 9 p.m., musician Ken Ulansey finished his bluesy set and the volume on the MSNBC broadcast being televised on multiple screens through-out the venue was turned up.

Cheers erupted as state’s went to Obama, particularly Pennsylvania and New Jersey.But with the night far from over, serious faces still remained amid the balloons and Hope posters.

Jones said hearing the results come in caused her to “feel little butterflies”, especially in states where the final tally was deemed too close to call.

With Pennsylvania in the bag, Eighth District City Councilwoman, Cindy Bass briefly took to the stage to tell attendees that Obama supporters “did our job” in cities such as Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

She noted that the recent court ruling to halt Pennsylvania’s voter ID law was especially critical in this year’s election.

For organizer Everett Staten, this year’s watch party filled the Lounge with a “good energy.”

He estimated that turnout would exceed the 2008 election event, because this time tables had been set up where space for the dance floor formerly stood.

“Not that we won’t want to dance tonight,” he joked. “I feel very confident.”

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