Illustration by Liene Magdalēna

Elizabeth Warren in Washington Square Park

Presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren attracts thousands in Washington Square Park to speak about workers rights, anti-corruption and the legacy of activism.

Sep 28, 2019

On Monday, Sept. 16, thousands packed into Washington Square Park, at the heart of the NYU campus in Lower Manhattan, to listen to a speech from United States Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat from Massachusetts and 2020 Presidential Candidate.
The progressive senator is one of 19 Democratic hopefuls still in the race. Following her rally in New York, Warren topped a national poll for the first time with 27 percent of the vote, pulling ahead of fellow front runners former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders.
Warren’s recent surge in the polls is also reflective of growing crowds at her campaign events, with those in attendance at Washington Square Park exceeding 20,000 people, according to her campaign.
“We are not here today because of famous arches or famous men,” Warren stated early on in her speech. “In fact, we are not here because of men at all. We’re here because of some hard-working women.”
Warren then launched into a detailed account of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire that killed 146 workers in 1911, just one block away from the park. The victims were mainly women and immigrants, with the death toll exacerbated by poor safety features and doors locked by the company to prevent workers from taking unauthorized breaks.
Activists then went on to rewrite labor laws in New York and push for reforms across the country. “What happened in the aftermath of the fire is a different story about power,” Warren explained to the crowd. “A story about our power, a story about what’s possible when we fight together as one.”
After invoking the past, Warren tied this legacy of fighting against corporate greed to the central message of her campaign and the need for big, structural change. Her progressive agenda includes medicare for all, canceling student debt, and moving towards 100 percent clean energy. Earlier that day, Warren had received an endorsement from the Working Families Party, who had previously backed Sanders during the 2016 election cycle.
Anti-corruption is another core tenant of Warren’s platform and she spoke about corruption’s presence in the government. “We must root it out and return our democracy to the people,” she said before a dramatic pause. “And yes, I’ve got a plan for that,” added Warren, referencing her plan released earlier that day, one of over 40 published since her campaign launch in January.
Gavin Arneson, Class of 2021 Rory Meyers College of Nursing, helped form the NYU for Warren student organizing group. “I was really drawn to her personal story… But she recognizes that it isn’t the same path and there isn’t the same equitable opportunity for everyone,” commented Arneson, who, alongside several other students, started the campus chapter in August. The goal of NYU for Warren is to increase overall student voter turnout and spread the message of the campaign, which was greatly helped by the proximity of the latest rally. “It was so awesome to see the NYU energy and representation in the volunteer pool and also at the event in general,” Arneson added.
Samantha Jansen, Class of 2021, also attended the event. “The rally was really insane,” she commented. “I’ve never been to a rally before, I had never seen a presidential candidate in person.”
After finishing up on the podium, Warren stayed four more hours in her [signature selfie line] ( With large and energized crowds, plans in hand, and a slogan to “dream big, fight hard”, Warren is shaping up as a frontrunner for President in 2020.
Caroline Sullivan is Deputy Features Editor. Email her at
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