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All photos by Lauren Ashe/VOX ATL

She Has a Plan For That: Inside Elizabeth Warren’s Atlanta Rally

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Elizabeth Warren’s “Value the Work of Black Women” rally in Atlanta was interrupted by the cheers of protesters in favor of charter schools. After the Democratic debate that took place in Atlanta on Wednesday, November 20, the presidential hopeful visited Clark Atlanta University to deliver a speech to black women.

“I wanted to stick around after last night’s debate because this city has been at the heart of America’s fight for justice,” Warren said Thursday. “Atlanta is a city that honors fighters. I’ve learned that no matter what fight you’re in today, no matter how steep the climb feels, there are fighters who were here before you. Fighters we can learn from.”

As attendees entered the Clark Atlanta University gym, Lizzo’s “Good As Hell” and “Bills “by Destiny’s Child were filling the room on the loudspeakers. On the screen overhead were the words “Value the Work of Black Women” with Warren’s logo on the bottom.

With the feeling of girl power throughout the room, the crowd was on the edge of its seat, patiently waiting for Warren to come out.

Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., a long-time friend of Senator Warren who recently endorsed her campaign for president introduced Warren to the crowd.

As Warren entered the room, supporters waved their “Black Women for Warren” and “Black Voters for Warren” signs, cheering her on as she waved and smiled at the crowd. “There are fighters who were here before, fighters we can learn from, and the fighters I want to talk about tonight are black women,” Warren told the crowd.

But, before she could get her next statement out, a group of protesters began to stomp and clap in unison, chanting “Our children, our choice,” and “We want to be heard!” The group of protesters had matching shirts that read, “Powerful Parent Network” and they filled an entire section of the gymnasium. Their screams were met with chants of  “Warren! Warren!” and “Let her speak!”

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The Powerful Parent Network travels around the country to address Warren’s stance on charter schools. The group believes that their children should have access to a high-quality education through charter schools. So far, they have raised $16,405 dollars thus far in order to travel around the country.

Warren has opposed charter schools and her education plan calls for a ban on for-profit charter schools and an end to a federal program that gives money to non-profit organizations as well.

After minutes of shouting and counter-protesting, Rep. Pressley came back to the stage in hopes of quieting down the protesters.

“No one is here to quiet you, least of all this black woman,” the congresswoman said. “The senator is here to talk about the contribution fighters like you have made in history.”

After this, Warren smiled and continued her speech. “The fighters I want to talk about tonight are black women.” Warren began.

Warren told the story of the Washing Society, a union that was formed after 20 of Atlanta’s black washerwomen abandoned their washboards in 1881 and declared a strike, demanding higher wages.

“The federal government helped create the racial divide in this country through decades of active, state-sponsored discrimination and that means the federal government has an obligation to fix it,” Warren said. “And I have a plan for that. In fact, I have a lot of plans for how we can begin to fix it together.”

Throughout her speech, Warren described the plight of black women and how everyone needs to “Protect Black Women” in the wake of all the sex trafficking stories throughout the United States. She went on to mention Alexis Crawford, the Clark Atlanta University Student who was allegedly murdered by her roommate, according to police.

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“When it comes to protecting black women, we need to face the hard truth that black women and girls are being brutalized at alarming rates by people they know and trust,” Warren said. “The murder of Alexis Crawford, a Clark Atlanta student, is an unspeakable tragedy. Alexis’ story happens every day across this country. We need to take meaningful action to protect women, especially women of color.”

Warren then noted that on her first day in office, she will take executive action to protect women by raising the wages for brown and black women.

Per her slogan, “She Has a Plan For That,” Warren noted several of her plans for 2020, each of which would solve pressing issues that are facing the nation.

“Think of what we can do together, think of what we can do for each other,” Warren said. “Childcare, health care, free college, paychecks, entrepreneurship, the list goes on. African Americans have gotten the short end of the stick generation after generation, but we have a chance to change that, a chance to build an America where that’s no longer true. 2020 is our chance to build a better tomorrow for every American.”

Warren noted several of her plans, from public housing to reparations. While in office, she plans to institute the following:

“My housing plan will help families living in formerly redlined areas buy a home and start building the kind of wealth that was denied to their parents and grandparents,” Warren stated

“My plan for a Green New Deal will put racial and environmental justice at the center of our response to climate change.”

“My health care plan will bring down the costs of prescription drugs and tackle the risks of black maternal mortality that is literally killing black women and their babies.”

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“My public education plan will put 800 billion dollars in new federal money into our public schools and quadruple the funding for schools that teach low-income children.”

“My student debt cancellation plan will help close the wealth gap between black and white families.”

“My higher education plan will invest 50 billion dollars in Historically Black Colleges and universities, just like Clark Atlanta.”

At the conclusion of her speech, Warren and Pressley joined hands,  as the crowd continued to cheer them on. Warren waved and smiled at the crowd, exiting the stage with her head held high. The crowd chanted “Warren! Warren!” simultaneously while waving their Warren signs.

Afterward, a line is created for selfies with Pressley and Warren, with hundreds of people eager to meet them. The line including young and old alike, with young children sitting on the shoulders of their parents. While in line, supporters talked, excited about Warren’s plans and eager to hug her.

As the line began to grow many got to shake hands with the senator, exchange a few words and pose for a photo taken by her team.

After around two hours, I met Warren. I walked up to the stage. “Hello! Nice to meet you,” Warren said with a large smile. We posed for a picture and hugged.

VOX teen staffer Lauren Ashe with 2020 presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren.

“Thank you so much for coming!” the Senator said as I exited the stage. Smiling and eager to take pictures with the rest of the crowd, Warren ended the night on a high note.

The presidential candidate, currently a front runner in the 2020 presidential race,e continues to lead both the party and debates. By communicating with the black community, Senator Warren hopes to build a support base of black voters, a key factor between her and former Vice President Joe Biden.

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