WATCH: Warren Campaign Speech in Atlanta Disrupted By School Choice Protestors


An Atlanta campaign event for Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren that focused on the historical contributions of African-American working women was loudly derailed by protestors from pro-charter school groups.

Speaking to a mostly black audience of hundreds of people on Thursday evening, Warren’s speech was interrupted when dozens of protestors clustered in one corner of the arena began to repeatedly stomp in time and cry out, per Washington Post reporter Annie Linskey: “Our voice! Our choice!” and “We want to be heard!” The protestors, who were all wearing black T-shirts that read “Powerful Parent Network,” told reporters that they had assembled at the rally from all over the country.

When the protestors refused to relent, Rep. Ayanna Pressley approached the lectern. Warren turned to her and could be overheard saying “What do we do with this?'” Pressley then stepped up to the microphone to gently plead with the protestors to stop, inviting them to speak with her and Warren after the rally. According to The Intercept reporter Ryan Grim, that meeting did take place.

“No one is here to quiet you,” Pressley said. “The senator is here to talk about the contributions fighters like you have made to history.”

“We are grateful for your activism and your voice and you are welcome here,” Pressley added. “we would love to convene after this about the issue that you are here to stoke our consciousness about.” The rally then resumed (see video below).

Warren has drawn intense criticism from so-called school choice advocates for staking out the most aggressive, hardline stance against charter schools among the 2020 Democratic candidates, promising to ban for-profit charters and eliminate a federal grant program encouraging new charter schools. She also strongly opposed a 2016 charter school initiative in her home state of Massachusetts to “fight back against the privatization, corporatization, and profiteering in our nation’s schools.”

Afterward, Grim spoke with some of the protestors at the event, where he uncovered numerous links between them and wealthy funders like the billionaire Walton family.

The juxtaposition of the well-heeled funders of the protestors and the topic of the speech from Warren, who has repeatedly called out billionaires for their out-sized influence on American politics, prompted a cutting aside from Grim: “Can’t make this stuff up.”

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