Elizabeth Warren absolutely smashed it out of the ballpark at yesterday's She the People summit. If you could get five runs with a grand-slam, that would be what she did. The summit was organized by and for Women of Color, and invited Democratic presidential candidates to speak to an audience of over 1,000 women of color to address their specific concerns for the upcoming 2020 election and beyond. Elizabeth Warren was the final candidate to be interviewed, and she was ready for hosts/moderators Joy Reid and Aimee Allison.
Joy Reid asked Warren what she says to women who, "based on their experience in 2016, they don't have the confidence in this electorate of this country to elect a woman president. They want to vote one way, but their fear says they may need to flee to the safety of the white male candidate."
I mean, it's not an unreasonable fear. Hillary Clinton won the most votes, and somehow is not sitting in the Oval Office, like she should be. But Warren? She has more confidence in us this time around. Warren turned her head to the audience and looked at them over her glasses as if to say, "Are you f*cking kidding me? The SAFETY of a white male candidate?" The crowd laughed and cheered, and Aimee Allison said, "I think that's called 'side-eye...'"
Truly, though, it's a legitimate question, and I hear it myself, even in the progressive circles in which I travel.
The crowd ate it all up. Reid's question, and Warren's reaction, including the time and space she took up getting ready to answer it. And then she said this about fear vs. action:
(Audience Member: TELL US HOW YOU SEE IT!)
I'm gonna tell you how I see it. We got a room full of people here who weren't given ANYTHING. We got a room full of people here who had to FIGHT for what they believe in. We have a room full of people here who had to reach down deep, and no matter how hard it was, no matter how scary it looked, they found what they needed to find, and they brought it up and they took care of the people they love. They fought the fights they believe in. That's how they got into these seats today.
Then Elizabeth Warren told an incredibly compelling story of her mother who, at the age of 50, having raised 3 boys into adulthood and still raising Elizabeth, a middle school girl, suddenly found herself in the position of having to get a job or face losing her house. Homeless, with a pre-teen girl to raise and a sick husband to take of. And terrified because she had never worked outside the home in all her fifty years, she put on her best clothes, walked to Sears and got a minimum wage job, which saved her family from foreclosure.
Not only did Warren use that story to illustrate how we do things that scare us if it will help the ones we love, she used it to illustrate how decades ago, a minimum wage job would provide a family of three with a mortgage payment, utilities, and food. Today? Working full-time at minimum wage will not get a mother and baby above the poverty line. And that's wrong. In fact, earlier in her time on stage, she unrolled a plan to do something about the fact that maternal mortality rates are higher for Black women than white, regardless of income or education level.
She's planning to change the way hospitals receive money based on the results of the medical procedures they perform. If they see maternal mortality go down, they get a monetary bonus. If they see mortality go up, they get money taken away from them. Make racism unprofitable. Because the fact is, the only reason doctors don't treat Black mothers and their concerns with the same seriousness as white mothers is skin color.
These primaries are all about action. Setting aside fear and voting for the person who shows they have the drive and the plans and the ability to take action. Show up for the person you believe in. At the end of this it sounded like that entire audience believed in Senator and Candidate Elizabeth Warren.