Students, local politicians and community members crowded into a tiny office on the corner of Maple and Church streets Tuesday night for just one reason: to make sure that Sen. Elizabeth Warren becomes the next president of the United States.
“I just really like her style of politics,” SESP senior Sam Berston said. “I also really like her approach to health care, child care and student loans for university.”
The evening marked the opening of the Evanston field office for Warren, the second of three planned field offices in the Chicagoland area. Evanston and Skokie field organizer Shivani Desai opened the event by telling the story of two photographs—her immigrant parents voting in their first national election in 2016 and a collage of her, her sister and her mother at women’s marches in three different cities in January 2017—and how they relate to her support of Warren.
“Her agenda builds on grassroots energy,” Desai said. “That's what this room captures. It’s one of a national and a global movement fueled by the anger of people like us.”
Former State Sen. Daniel Biss (D-Evanston), U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Evanston) and Josina Morita, commissioner of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, all spoke in support of Warren. Former Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl also attended. Schakowsky, who endorsed Warren in November, called her the most electable candidate, and the crowd cheered.
“I am very enthusiastic about her campaign,” said Schakowsky, who first met Warren when she was a Harvard Law professor trying to create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. “She represents the views of the vast majority of ordinary Americans, and I think that there's a longing in this country to be able to have just your basic needs met. She knows how to do that.”
For Morita, the first Asian American elected countywide in Cook County, Warren’s plans aimed at Asian American working families stand out.
“As a younger woman of color, I'm so excited," said Morita, who intends to keep campaigning through the Illinois primary even though her baby is due that same week. "I really see myself in this campaign. There's just so many ways that I feel like she's speaking directly to people like me.”
On the liberty green and navy blue painted walls are posters touting popular campaign slogans—"Dream Big Fight Hard” and “Courage Over Cynicism”— and a hand-painted drawing of Illinois next to the words “Hope and Courage” in those same signature Warren colors. The field office intends to be a space for volunteers to phone bank for Warren, with some starting their phone banking efforts directly after the event, and as a coordinating point for those volunteering to canvass.
“She’s got a plan for everything,” Evanston resident Siobhan LaGro said. “She's shown a willingness to listen and learn on the campaign trail and that is something that's greatly needed in our country right now.”
The event was also a family affair with many people, including Chicago resident Rachel Campbell, bringing their children along. Campbell, whose husband works for the campaign, brought her two young children to the opening party and had previously canvassed with them in Iowa. For her, Warren’s plans surrounding comprehensive childcare and her support for working families drew her to the candidate.
“I want to see a female president, and I want my daughter to as well,” Campbell said. “Elizabeth Warren gave my daughter a pinky promise because women should run for president. That's what girls do.”