Americans who live, work near capitols see peace, new hope

Inauguration_America's_Capitols_Boston_43073 Isaac Smith, of Boston, speaks to a reporter near the Massachusetts Statehouse in Boston about the new incoming administration, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. Smith, a 21-year-old Harvard University student, said he voted for Biden and was excited for what's to come. "No matter which way you look at it, it's historic. Things are going to change," he said.
Inauguration_Americas_Capitols_80195 Members of the California National Guard walk past the California state Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. A temporary 6-foot high chain link fence surrounds the Capitol and California Gov. Gavin Newsom mobilized the National guard last week over concerns that protests around the inauguration of President Joe Biden could turn violent and destructive.
Inauguration_America's_Capitols_Boston_13713 Isaac Smith, of Boston, speaks to a reporter near the Massachusetts Statehouse in Boston about the new incoming administration, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. Smith, a 21-year-old Harvard University student, said he voted for Biden and was excited for what's to come. "No matter which way you look at it, it's historic. Things are going to change," he said.
Inauguration_America's_Capitols_Boston_47714 Catya Kurban, of Boston, speaks to a reporter in Boston about the new incoming administration, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. "Honestly, I feel like we can only go up from here," said the 24-year old, who voted for Biden and was on her way to work Wednesday morning. "But I'm hopeful that some good will come out of all of this. I'm also trying to be realistic about changes. I know they won't happen overnight."
Inauguration_Americas_Capitols_93122 California National Guard members stand guard at an access point to the California state Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021. A temporary 6-foot high chain link fence surrounds the Capitol and California Gov. Gavin Newsom mobilized the National Guard last week over concerns that protests around Wednesday's inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden could turn violent and destructive.
Inauguration_Americas_Capitols_47050 Members of the National Guard receive donated pizza from We The Pizza, on Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021, in Washington, as security is increased ahead of the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
Inauguration_Americas_Capitols_43305 Workers make pizzas at We The Pizza, on Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021, in Washington, as security is increased ahead of the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
Inauguration_Americas_Capitols_62466 Gavin Coleman, owner of The Dubliner Restaurant, takes a photograph of his wife, Alexandra Coleman, and their sons, Henry, 6, Taylor, 4, and Peter, 2, by the anti-scaling fence protecting the U.S. Capitol compound, Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021, in Washington, as security is increased ahead of the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. The Colemans live in the Capitol Hill neighborhood around the corner from the Capitol and are re-opening their restaurant to accommodate diners staying in the hotel above their restaurant for inauguration.
Inauguration_Americas_Capitols_67878 Holly Brooks, owner of Capitol Hill Books, works in her storefront across from the State Capitol, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, in downtown Denver. Businesses around the statehouse are struggling because of the effects of the pandemic and now with the threat of violence around the Capitol on the inauguration day for President-elect Joe Biden.
Inauguration_Americas_Capitols_17517 Epilogue Kitchen & Cocktails owner Jonathan Jones speaks with customers while serving free meals in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, on Monday, Jan. 18, 2021, in Salem, Ore. Normally quiet streets around U.S. state capitol buildings have looked more like battlegrounds recently, putting those who live and work there on edge and instilling a sense of foreboding. Jones' front-row seat to what happens next is his restaurant that is decorated with Black Lives Matter signs and art near the Oregon State Capitol. Epilogue Kitchen and Cocktails has been vandalized by a white supremacist.
Inauguration_Americas_Capitols_83661 Epilogue Kitchen & Cocktails owner Jonathan Jones speaks with a customer while severing free meals in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, Jan. 18, 2021, in Salem, Ore. Normally quiet streets around U.S. state capitol buildings have looked more like battlegrounds recently, putting those who live and work there on edge and instilling a sense of foreboding. Jones' front-row seat to what happens next is his restaurant that is decorated with Black Lives Matter signs and art near the Oregon State Capitol. Epilogue Kitchen and Cocktails has been vandalized by a white supremacist.
Inauguration_Americas_Capitols_20548 The American flag waves in the wind as a person shows his support for President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris outside the California state Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021.
Inauguration_Americas_Capitols_47224 A customer heads into a store one block south of the State Capitol, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, in downtown Denver. Businesses around the statehouse are struggling because of the effects of the pandemic and now with the threat of violence around the Capitol on the inauguration day for President-elect Joe Biden.
Inauguration_Americas_Capitols_13341 Robert Earley, center, general manager at We The Pizza, hands donated pizza to members of the National Guard from New York, Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021, in Washington, as security is increased ahead of the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
Inauguration_Americas_Capitols_Sacramento_85864 Black clad protesters march to the state Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. Several dozen protestors marched through the downtown area to the Capitol where they were stopped at a temporary 6-foot high chain-link fence installed to stop violence on the Inauguration Day of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
Inauguration_Americas_Capitols_75035 A customer heads past the plywood-covered windows of a bakery one block south of the State Capitol, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, in downtown Denver. Businesses around the statehouse are struggling because of the effects of the pandemic and now with the threat of violence around the Capitol on the inauguration day for President-elect Joe Biden.
Inauguration_Americas_Capitols_Sacramento_69498 Black clad protesters set off a smoke bomb during a demonstration near the state Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. Several dozen protesters marched through the downtown area to the Capitol where they were stopped at a temporary 6-foot high chain-link fence installed to stop violence on the Inauguration Day of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
Inauguration_Americas_Capitols_99690 A person is silhouetted in a store while working on a laptop computer as a pedestrian is reflected in the window of the storefront one block south of the State Capitol, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, in downtown Denver. Businesses around the statehouse are struggling because of the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and now with the threat of violence around the Capitol on the inauguration day for President-elect Joe Biden.
Inauguration_Americas_Capitols_03376 Holly Brooks, owner of Capitol Hill Books, poses for a picture in her storefront across from the State Capitol, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, in downtown Denver. Businesses around the statehouse are struggling because of the effects of the pandemic and now with the threat of violence around the Capitol on the inauguration day for President-elect Joe Biden.
Inauguration_Americas_Capitols_05102 Morris Price Jr., left, moderator at First Baptist Church of Denver, is shown with Minister Brian Henderson in the church across from the State Capitol, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, in downtown Denver. Businesses around the statehouse are struggling because of the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and now with the threat of violence around the Capitol on the inauguration day for President-elect Joe Biden.
Inauguration_Americas_Capitols_Sacramento_43650 A demonstrator holds a "Black Lives Matter" flag during a protest at the state Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. Several dozen protesters marched through the downtown area to the Capitol where they were stopped at a temporary 6-foot high chain-link fence installed to stop violence on the Inauguration Day of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
Inauguration_Americas_Capitols_34722 Diners exit a restaurant with open notices scrawled on plywood sheets covering the establishment's windows, a block south of the State Capitol, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, in downtown Denver. Businesses around the statehouse are struggling because of the effects of the pandemic and now with the threat of violence around the Capitol on the inauguration day for President-elect Joe Biden.
Inauguration_Americas_Capitols_Sacramento_66465 Demonstrators stop at a temporary 6-foot high chain link fence surrounding the state Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. Several dozen protesters marched through the downtown area to the Capitol where they were stopped at a temporary fence installed to stop violence on the Inauguration Day of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
Inauguration_Americas_Capitols_25883 A temporary fence stands around the State Capitol, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, in downtown Denver. Businesses around the statehouse are struggling because of the effects of the pandemic and now with the threat of violence around the Capitol on the inauguration day for President-elect Joe Biden.
Inauguration_Americas_Capitols_Sacramento_58940 Bicycle-mounted Sacramento Police Officers watch as black clad protesters march through downtown Sacramento, Calif, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. The protesters had made their way to the Capitol where they were stopped by the 6-foot high chain-link fence installed to stop violence on the Inauguration Day of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
Inauguration_Americas_Capitols_55069 The golden dome of the State Capitol stands in front of part of the city's skyline, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, in downtown Denver. Businesses around the statehouse are struggling because of the effects of the pandemic and now with the threat of violence around the Capitol on the inauguration day for President-elect Joe Biden.
Inauguration_Americas_Capitols_97004 Epilogue Kitchen & Cocktails co-owner Maura Ryan passes a bookshelf while serving a takeout order on Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021, in Salem, Ore. Normally quiet streets around U.S. state capitol buildings have looked more like battlegrounds recently, putting those who live and work there on edge and instilling a sense of foreboding. The restaurant that is decorated with Black Lives Matter signs and art near the Oregon State Capitol has been vandalized by a white supremacist.
Inauguration_Americas_Capitols_95638 A woman heads into a restaurant with its windows covered by sheets of plywood, one block south of the State Capitol, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, in downtown Denver. Businesses around the statehouse are struggling because of the effects of the pandemic and now with the threat of violence around the Capitol on the inauguration day for President-elect Joe Biden.
Inauguration_Americas_Capitols_13426 Epilogue Kitchen & Cocktails owner Jonathan Jones speaks with customers while serving free meals in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, on Monday, Jan. 18, 2021, in Salem, Ore. Normally quiet streets around U.S. state capitol buildings have looked more like battlegrounds recently, putting those who live and work there on edge and instilling a sense of foreboding. Jones' front-row seat to what happens next is his restaurant that is decorated with Black Lives Matter signs and art near the Oregon State Capitol. Epilogue Kitchen and Cocktails has been vandalized by a white supremacist.
Inauguration_Americas_Capitols_30417 Bob Zeigler, right, holds a sign with a quote from Martin Luther King Jr. as he poses for a photo, Monday, Jan. 18, 2021, before taking part in a vigil urging a peaceful transition from President Donald Trump to President-elect Joe Biden, when Biden is inaugurated Wednesday. Zeigler, 72, who has long been involved in peaceful protest movements, said that while antagonization at protests is nothing new, something has shifted in recent years, resulting in "extreme polarization," and a lack "of respect for the dignity of other people." Zeigler said he has no plans to go near the Capitol in Olympia on inauguration day, but will attend a small peace vigil at a nearby park.
Inauguration_Americas_Capitols_95387 Bob Zeigler holds a sign with a quote from Martin Luther King Jr. as he poses for a photo, Monday, Jan. 18, 2021, before taking part in a vigil urging a peaceful transition from President Donald Trump to President-elect Joe Biden, when Biden is inaugurated Wednesday. Zeigler, 72, who has long been involved in peaceful protest movements, said that while antagonization at protests is nothing new, something has shifted in recent years, resulting in "extreme polarization," and a lack "of respect for the dignity of other people." Zeigler said he has no plans to go near the Capitol in Olympia on inauguration day, but will attend a small peace vigil at a nearby park.
Inauguration_Americas_Capitols_96833 Bob Zeigler holds a sign with a quote from Martin Luther King Jr. as he poses for a photo, Monday, Jan. 18, 2021, before taking part in a vigil urging a peaceful transition from President Donald Trump to President-elect Joe Biden, when Biden is inaugurated Wednesday. Zeigler, 72, who has long been involved in peaceful protest movements, said that while antagonization at protests is nothing new, something has shifted in recent years, resulting in "extreme polarization," and a lack "of respect for the dignity of other people." Zeigler said he has no plans to go near the Capitol in Olympia on inauguration day, but will attend a small peace vigil at a nearby park.
Inauguration_Americas_Capitols_49021 Bob Zeigler poses for a photo, Monday, Jan. 18, 2021, before taking part in a vigil urging a peaceful transition from President Donald Trump to President-elect Joe Biden, when Biden is inaugurated Wednesday. Zeigler, 72, who has long been involved in peaceful protest movements, said that while antagonization at protests is nothing new, something has shifted in recent years, resulting in "extreme polarization," and a lack "of respect for the dignity of other people." Zeigler said he has no plans to go near the Capitol in Olympia on inauguration day, but will attend a small peace vigil at a nearby park.
Inauguration_Americas_Capitols_54823 A pedestrian walks past the boarded-up windows on the Colorado Education Association building across from the State Capitol, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, in downtown Denver. Businesses around the statehouse are struggling because of the effects of the pandemic and now with the threat of violence around the Capitol on the inauguration day for President-elect Joe Biden.
Inauguration_Americas_Capitols_40589 "Closed" signs are taped on plywood covering the doors to the Colorado Department of Revenue in the statehouse annex building across for the State Capitol, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, in downtown Denver. Businesses around the statehouse are struggling because of the effects of the pandemic and now with the threat of violence around the Capitol on the inauguration day for President-elect Joe Biden.
Inauguration_Americas_Capitols_04828 A person who lives in a neighborhood near the Capitol in Olympia, Wash., but did not want to be identified due to concerns over her family's safety, pauses while walking her dog with her son, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, with the Legislative Building in the background. The normally quiet streets around the Capitol campus in Olympia have seen increased traffic and even active protesters and counterprotesters during the months leading up to Inauguration Day on Wednesday.
Inauguration_Americas_Capitols_49141 A person who lives in a neighborhood near the Capitol in Olympia, Wash., but did not want to be identified due to concerns over her family's safety, pauses while walking her dog with her son, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, with the Legislative Building in the background. The normally quiet streets around the Capitol campus in Olympia have seen increased traffic and even active protesters and counterprotesters during the months leading up to Inauguration Day on Wednesday.
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SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Normally quiet streets around U.S. state capitol buildings have looked more like battlegrounds recently, putting those who live and work there on edge.

More than most people, these Americans will have front-row seats on whether the change of leadership Wednesday in the White House will lead to a lessening of tension that has been afflicting the nation. They’ll be watching what the next chapter brings from storefronts and the porches and stoops of their own homes.

Their sense of foreboding was lightened, just a little, by Wednesday’s inauguration. As President Joe Biden was sworn into office, demonstrations at state capitols were scant, with only a few protesters showing up, and in some cities, none at all.

Some expect Biden’s focus on unity — a word he used eight times in his inaugural address — will have an effect, but they say how the people react will be key.

Jonathan Jones’ front-row seat to what happens next is his restaurant that is decorated with Black Lives Matter signs and art near the Oregon State Capitol. Epilogue Kitchen and Cocktails has been vandalized by a white supremacist. One day, police showed up as Jones, who is Black, and his friends were being accosted by neo-fascist Proud Boys. The police at first confronted Jones’ group as if they were the threat.

“There’s not a person who stood with me that day who didn’t think that they might die,” Jones said. “And the most awful part was not knowing if it was going to come from the police or from the Proud Boys.”

Jones watched Biden’s inauguration on TV, and in the afterglow called it “a beautiful moment.”

“It was fantastic to see the president of the United States denounce and repudiate white supremacy multiple times and to acknowledge that we’re long overdue as a country to actually achieve some form of racial justice,” Jones said. “My hope is that things are dealt with quickly, but my expectation is that it will take quite some time to see any actual change.”

Brian Henderson, minister of First Baptist Church of Denver that sits across an avenue from the shuttered Colorado Capitol, was so close to the upheavals of 2020 that he was struck in the left knee with a pepper ball. Henderson had been handing out water from the front steps of his small brick church as thousands battled police during riots over George Floyd’s killing.

Many neighboring businesses and state government buildings have boarded up their windows and doors in anticipation of possible violence but the church has not, to avoid giving the wrong message.

“We can’t let fear stop us from doing what we have to do,” Henderson said.

Henderson watched the inaugural with church staff and then stepped outside to reflect and bask in the historic moment.

“There was this strong breeze. The sun was warm. The sky was blue. The air felt fresh. It’s a new day. We have a new president,” Henderson said.

In Washington state, a neighborhood next to the Capitol in Olympia boasts mid-century and 100-year-old homes. On normal days, the tranquil scene is one that Norman Rockwell could have depicted in idyllic portraits of American life, residents say.

But in recent weeks, frequent protests involving people in tactical gear and armed with guns have created a climate of fear. People shout into megaphones, loud trucks drive down narrow streets, residents are called names or harassed, media helicopters and police planes fly overhead.

“There’s no retreat, because it’s your house, it’s where you live. It’s been a little jolting, and exhausting,” said the woman, who is so afraid for the safety of herself and her family that she spoke to a reporter only on condition she not be identified.

She said she is optimistic that Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will be able to accomplish many things.

“But I’m not sure that will change the real divisions we’ve all seen,” she said. ”People are behaving so differently, openly, that I don’t know — moving forward as a country — if we’ll be able to find each other again.”

Near the gold-domed Statehouse in Boston, Catya Kurban said Wednesday she’s looking forward to more stability under Biden but worries about backlash and violence from supporters of former President Donald Trump.

“I’m also trying to be realistic about changes,” she said. “I know they won’t happen overnight.”

Isaac Smith, a 21-year-old Harvard University junior walking across the street, said he voted for Biden and was excited for what’s to come.

“No matter which way you look at it, it’s historic. Things are going to change,” he said. “The previous administration harmed American democracy, and I think I’m with a lot of my fellow Americans in that I hope this administration can start to repair some of the relationships with our allies and the damage he’s done in terms of climate change and immigration.”

In Washington, D.C., a restaurant named We, the Pizza is located just one block from barricades surrounding the U.S. Capitol, where Biden was sworn in. The pizzeria has been feeding thousands of National Guard troops and other security and first responders, using donations from around the nation.

Manager Rob Earley said a girl around 6 years old brought in a check for $1,000 on Tuesday — money she had raised to feed the soldiers.

“I had tears in my eyes,” Earley said. “It’s good to see people that young that are wanting to be so involved in what’s going on and wanting to be part of making change.”

He believes Biden’s new tone “will help ease tensions and make things a little bit better. It will help mellow things out a little bit.”

Back in Oregon, Jones has been buoyed by people coming out in support of his restaurant, as customers and guardians. On Sunday, Robert Fox, a glass-blowing artist, sat in his sedan parked in front of the restaurant, keeping watch before Jones and his wife, Maura Ryan, showed up to prepare meals, available only for takeout during coronavirus shutdowns.

“I’m just making sure nothing happens,” Fox said as a dozen gun-toting, far-right protesters stood outside the Capitol, three blocks away.

Jones said actions like that give him hope.

“I think that in spite of how loud the far right is, I think the bulk of the country is not that,” Jones said. “And I think that the more that we can embolden people to show that solidarity and be willing to stand up and stand next to everybody and present that unified front, then I think the quicker we’ll get to the end of this.”

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Associated Press writers Rachel La Corte in Olympia, Washington; James Anderson in Denver; and Philip Marcelo in Boston, contributed to this report.

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Follow Andrew Selsky on Twitter at https://twitter.com/andrewselsky

Copyright © 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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