GRAND BOULEVARD — Days after a debate performance that led to a brief surge in the polls, Elizabeth Warren’s campaign is setting up shop on the South Side.
Staff and volunteers at the presidential candidate’s new outpost in Grand Boulevard Plaza, 5401 S. Wentworth Ave., were well-received at Thursday night’s grand opening, with supporters pouring in from Hyde Park, Englewood and Chatham to check out the digs.
Warren is one of several Democratic presidential candidates to open campaign offices in Chicago neighborhoods in advance of the March 17 Illinois primary. Mike Bloomberg previously opened offices in Edgewater, Austin and Chatham. Bernie Sanders is opening an outpost in Joliet Friday night, with promises of a Chicago office coming soon.
After a brief speech from several campaign organizers and delegate candidates, guests were treated to Caribbean-style dinner as the Curtis Black Trio played ambient jazz and two enterprising Girl Scouts peddled their wares in the office’s Kiddie Korner.
“We want this to be a space where we can provide what is needed,” organizer Jason Lee told the crowd of 60. “We want to leave this place better than we found it.”
Part of that, added Lee, is creating a resource corner so that anyone can stop by and look for jobs and apply for programs. A U.S. Census 2020 table will be stationed at office as well, inviting people to join a canvassing team.
Menjiwei Latham, a Warren supporter from Englewood handing out “African Americans For Warren” posters with unabashed enthusiasm, said the candidate won her over with honesty and progressive politics.
“I like her heart, I like her spirit,” said Latham. “And I believe she’s electable. I’m here to volunteer. I’ve been donating a little bit, and active in other local campaigns.”
Latham and her sisters, who accompanied her Thursday night, recently organized a voter registration drives at her grandchildren’s high schools.
“Our parents were politically involved, so we inherited it,” said Latham. “My mom really steered us into it.”
Latham said she was surprised to learn that the campaign would be moving into the strip mall off the Dan Ryan Expressway, but it makes sense, she said.
“With it being here, hopefully our community will see she’s invested in our community. I haven’t heard anyone talk specifics except her.”
Charles Kyle, who joined the campaign as a volunteer in December, said he admired her affordable housing policies that are “directly tied to Black people, and how we were redlined.”
This is Kyle’s first time volunteering on a political campaign. The South Shore native said he felt compelled to act after seeing his high school classmates struggle to get out of poverty.
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