My father started working in the cotton fields of Mississippi alongside his parents and older siblings when he was 8 years old. Both my mother’s side of the family and my father’s worked in the agricultural fields of our nation in places like Michigan, Ohio, Idaho and Mississippi. Similarly, Elizabeth Warren has recounted that her father worked in retail and later as a janitor. None of these jobs are considered glamorous, but they are all necessary and important. Our families did this work to help provide for our families and to give us the best shot possible at a better life. Like my parents, Elizabeth’s raised her to believe that she could be and do anything, including — President of the United States.
I too believe that Elizabeth Warren has what it takes to be President. She convinced me of this long before she was vying to become the Democratic presidential nominee. I was a graduate student attending a public interest conference and Senator Warren was the keynote speaker. I did not know her work very well when I settled in to listen to her speak.
As she spoke, I was completely enraptured by her energy, her power, and her grace. I understood from her remarks just how dedicated she is to fight for working families and to level the playing field for people in our country. It was then that I became convinced she holds the values, integrity, and spirit that I want in a president.
Several years later, her Senate staff reached out to me saying she wanted to know what she could do to help improve the conditions for farmworker women and other workers. This was not a media moment. It was just a conversation between her and a farmworker advocate who was trying to best represent an often ignored community.
At the time, history was being made as people in mass were bravely sharing that they had experienced sexual violence and workers across sectors were joining forces to end the insidious problem of workplace sexual violence. Senator Warren was one of very few elected leaders who reached out at that time to ask how she could help. I remember feeling seen and heard after that call. I believed that she meant what she said and that she was sincerely interested in knowing what she could do in her position to address the problems. And she proved that she meant it by supporting important legislation to address sexual violence, harassment, and other workplace issues.
I did not know Senator Warren personally then, nor do I know her now. But what I understood as a student listening to her speak, and what she has reinforced for me since then, is that she cares deeply about making sure that everyday people have what we need to survive, succeed and thrive.
As a voter and a citizen of this country, I seek to hold political leaders accountable. My life’s mission has been focused on centering the voices and priorities of those who are the least heard and less visible. Much of my activism has been dedicated to addressing the needs and priorities of the 60 million Latino/a/x community members in our country, including the farmworkers who pick, pack and plant the food that we eat.
I believe that those in our society who have often been ignored are the most expert to teach political leaders — and all of us — about what is actually required to solve the world’s problems. We need a leader who will reach out to the margins to bring everyone together to make real change for our country and the world. Based on my interactions with Senator Warren and her team, I believe that she is the kind of leader who prioritizes the voices of people like farmworkers, domestic workers and others whose interests are often traded on by people who discount their power, influence, and importance.
During these dark, divisive and difficult times, we need a leader who will work to find common ground and common cause to advance the interests of our country, regardless of our race, creed, gender identity or preference, socio-economic standing or any other reason. I believe that the United States needs a leader who will put aside politics. We need a leader who will be dedicated to treating all people with respect and kindness, even their opponents, because when a leader models this kind of behavior other people in our country will have a guidepost for our own interactions with one another.
Elizabeth Warren is this unifying leader.
Her policy positions are thoughtful and sound. Her vision is clear and her passion to serve the people of our country is palpable. It is for these reasons that I have made the decision to proudly support Elizabeth Warren as she seeks to be the Democratic party nominee and the next President of the United States.