Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) formally announced her run for president on Saturday at a rally in the former mill town of Lawrence, Massachusetts—the setting for one of the country’s most famous labor strikes a little more than a century ago.
Warren, who first told supporters she was forming an exploratory committee back in December, shared the story of the women textile workers at Everett Mill who shut down the looms in 1912 and walked out to protest dangerous conditions and win better wages and overtime pay. “These workers led by women didn’t have much…Nevertheless, they persisted,” she said to big applause.
“Today millions and millions and millions of American families are also struggling to survive in a system that’s been rigged, rigged by the wealthy and well connected,” she continued. “Like the women of Lawrence, we are here to say ‘enough is enough.’ We are here to take on a fight that will shape our lives, our children’s lives, and our grandchildren’s lives just as surely as the fight that began in these streets more than a century ago.”
She described her childhood in a middle-class family in Oklahoma and her rise from the daughter of a janitor to a law professor and a US senator, saying that over the years those opportunities had become harder to come by for many Americans.
“The man in the White House is not the cause of what is broken,” she said. “He is just the latest and most extreme symptom of what’s gone wrong in America, a product of a rigged system that props up the rich and powerful and kicks dirt on everyone else.”
“So once he’s gone, we can’t pretend that none of this ever happened; it won’t be enough just to undo the terrible acts of this administration…Our fight is for big structural change,” she continued. “And that is why I stand here today to declare that I am a candidate for president of the United States of America.”
Warren was introduced by Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-Mass). The congressman, a former student of Warren’s, offered a strong endorsement: “There’s one candidate in this race who has dedicated her entire life to this cause. Before anyone in power recognized there was something wrong, there was Elizabeth.”
Watch the full speech here: