In support of Richard Cordray’s 2018 run for governor, Sen. Elizabeth Warren took to the Newport Music Hall Friday to enthusiastically address an intimate crowd of students and rally for an increased role of women in politics.
To introduce Cordray and Warren, the president of Ohio State’s College Democrats and the president of Advocates for Women of the World highlighted how important the student vote is in this election. Their voices were later affirmed by Warren, who spoke of the current state of America’s democracy and the bold measures of leadership, particularly leadership by women and allies of women, that are necessary to rebuild it.
Indeep Janda, president of AWOW, spoke candidly of the organization’s commitment to empower women, touching on initiatives in girl’s education, women’s health and sexual assault awareness.
“Currently, there are many political issues, both local and worldwide, that directly impact the ability of women and girls to have power over their own lives and futures,” Janda said. “Here on campus, AWOW has been working with other organizations to bring back our Sexual Civility and Empowerment Office, a resource that is vital to the survivors of sexual assault in the Ohio State community that has been discontinued with no replacement or even explanation from administrators.”
Ohio State’s statement regarding the SCE review has been one with little information and no insight into why the office is closed, citing the ongoing investigation as reason for why more cannot be disclosed. This lack of communication is angering many students, leading to a letter created in support of the office and calling on the university to reopen its resources and a call on Undergraduate Student Government to further support sexual assault and violence survivors.
Janda spoke to a visibly upset crowd, her words underpinning frustrations felt by the campus community. She went on to call her peers to action, urging them to heed the words of Warren, whom Janda called a champion of global health and empowerment, as well as a fierce combatant of the pay gap.
Introducing herself as a friend and supporter of Cordray’s, Warren began by discussing the state of political turmoil she said the country is experiencing, recalling the frustration she felt attending the inauguration of President Donald Trump. She went on to describe that inauguration, that “dark speech” of his, as an infamous event historians would one day write about.
She countered herself, however, with a sense of optimism.
“But you know what they’ll write about? They’ll write about the next day. They will write about the biggest protest rally in the history of the world,” Warren said. “They will write about the women who showed up. They will write about the friends of women who showed up. They will write about people of all backgrounds and beliefs who showed up. You know what they will write? They will write, ‘This is what democracy looks like.’”
She stressed the importance of rebuilding democracy with the help of people she sees as leaders, like Cordray, who is vying for the Democratic nomination in Ohio’s governor race and upping his public appearances with the May 8 primary around the corner.
“Let’s face it. Rich is not flashy. He’s a nerd. Just like me. He’s quiet. He’s unassuming. He’s humble. But deep down, there is a fighter. And not just any kind of fighter. Rich is the kind of fighter I love. He is a fearless fighter,” Warren said.
She went on to describe Cordray’s work for Ohio families after the 2008 recession, particularly within the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an agency Warren helped develop.
Warren said Cordray’s work on developing fair student loan practices while leading the CFPB illustrate his commitment to helping young people.
Cordray himself echoed these claims.
“When we were working for the consumer bureau, we were working for everybody in this room and everybody in the state and everybody across the country,” Cordray said. “And our job, as we understood it, was to stand on your side and see that you were treated fairly, and when people wronged you, to try and make it right, and when people took money from you, to go and try to get it back and put it back in your pockets and that’s what we did.”
Warren and Cordray rallied around shared values, using the CFPB as an opportunity to talk about the country’s need for strong leadership and progressive ideals.
“And now there’s another fight,” Cordray said. “It’s not just a fight about consumer finance. It’s a fight across all the issues that matter to us in the future of this state. And it’s a fight about the things that matter not just in Ohio, but again, all across the country. When we change Ohio in 2018, that’s the first step to changing America in 2020.”