More than 3,700 people gathered in Philadelphia July 11-13 for the Netroots Nation Conference, the largest annual conference focused on progressive politics. This year’s event drew the largest crowd yet, with people energized and focused on defeating Donald Trump in the 2020 Presidential election. Here’s what you need to know about what took place at Netroots.


1. The treatment of immigrants was at the forefront of the conversation.


Activists and politicians repeatedly urged attendees to understand what is happening with the caging of asylum seekers and the separation of families at the Southern border. At the opening keynote, Jess Morales Rocketto of the National Domestic Workers Alliance read the names of the seven children who have died in, or shortly after being released from, custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. As Rocketto spoke and urged action, a group of attendees formed a symbolic cage on the floor of the ballroom.

The next day, conference attendees took part in a nationwide protest against immigrant detention centers and Trump’s attacks directed at immigrant communities. 



2. The crowd showed love and appreciation for The Squad.


Four of the newly elected women of color in Congress, Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Deb Haaland (D-NM), took the stage for a panel outlining what a bold, progressive and inclusive platform looks like in 2020. They were met with a standing ovation and a sign held by supporters, which read “Women of Color Lead, Thanks for Being #BOLDAF.” Recently, The Squad (aka Omar, Pressley, Tlaib and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) have been under attack by both Republicans and members of the Democratic Party, including Nancy Pelosi. While the members of The Squad in attendance didn’t address it, moderator and She the People founder Aimee Allison did at the beginning of the panel. Allison specifically responded to Pelosi’s recent comments that The Squad only represents four votes in the House.


“For millions of us, [they] represent blood, sweat and tears for us to have representation. They represent the best of American democracy,” Allison said.



3. Elizabeth Warren emerged as the preferred presidential candidate.


The conference ended with a candidate forum, where four of the Democratic hopefuls for president were asked about their policy stances on issues, like racial justice, climate change, immigration and health care. Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Governor Jay Inslee (D-WA) and former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro (D-TX) were in attendance. Warren was the crowd favorite and was met with chants of her name as she took to the stage. She also came in first at a straw poll, with Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Kamala Harris (D-CA) coming in second and third place. 
Next year’s Netroots Nation Conference will take place August 13-15 in Denver, Colorado.