Elizabeth Warren finally made it official Saturday, announcing her candidacy for president in a speech in Lawrence that was fraught with symbolic significance.

Speaking to about 3,500 people at Everett Mills, where the Bread and Roses strike began in 1912, Warren began with a history lesson — describing a heavily immigrant workforce laboring for low wages in hazardous conditions until, one day, a group of women walked off the job to protest a pay cut.

The move sparked a backlash, Warren said. But it also inspired other workers to follow suit — and eventually led to wage increases for the strikers; a groundbreaking minimum-wage law in the state of Massachusetts; and the end of factory child labor.

“The story of Lawrence is a story about how real change happens in America,” Warren said. “It is a story about power — our power — when we fight together.”

It’s also a story that dovetails perfectly with the central theme of Warren’s nascent presidential bid. As she tells it, America’s political status quo is fundamentally broken, with Washington, D.C. working well for the rich and powerful but ignoring the pressing needs of everyone else.

“Now, when I talk about this, some rich guys scream, ‘Class warfare!’" Warren said in Lawrence. “Well, let me tell you something — these same rich guys have been waging class warfare against hard-working people for decades. I say it’s time to fight back.”

“If you don’t have money, and you don’t have connections, Washington doesn’t want to hear from you,” Warren added. “When government works only for the wealthy and well-connected, that is corruption, plain and simple, and we need to call it out. Corruption is a cancer on our democracy. And we will get rid of it only with strong medicine — with real, structural reform.”

Warren’s announcement Saturday was not unexpected. She revealed on Dec. 31, 2018 that she was forming a presidential exploratory committee, and has been in full-on campaign mode during recent trips to Iowa, South Carolina, New Hampshire, and Puerto Rico.

The event was, however, an opportunity for Warren to formalize her intentions in front of a friendly hometown crowd and to recapture some of the media attention that’s drifted to other candidates since she became the first big-name Democrat to enter the race, albeit unofficially.

Saturday’s speech also allowed Warren to show off the support of local elected officials, including Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu and Rep. Joe Kennedy — both of whom were students of Warren’s at Harvard Law School — and Sen. Edward Markey.

In addition, it gave Warren a chance to refocus the conversation around her candidacy on her preferred messages — including the aformentioned critique of Washington and her own ability to repeatedly prove naysayers wrong — at a moment when her past claims of Native American ancestry are once again making headlines.

The Washington Post recently reported that Warren identified herself as American Indian with the Texas Bar in 1986. Her previous identification as a minority and a Native American has led to jibes from Republicans, including President Donald Trump. It’s also generated unease from prospective supporters who like Warren’s message, but believe her release of a DNA test that showed a small amount of Native American ancestry was ill advised.

In her recent campaign travels, Warren has been publicly challenged on her handling of this topic during Q and A sessions with her audiences. But in Lawrence, where Warren didn’t take questions, no supporter cited it as a concern.

“We brought our 5-month-old son here because we wanted him to witness history,” said Heather McGhee of Dartmouth, Mass. and New York City, who was at the event with her husband, Cassim Shepard. “We think that Elizabeth Warren is the most powerful candidate that we’ve seen in a really long time, who’s very clear in her vision of fighting for the working and middle class, and taking on big special interests, and that’s the message that’s going to resonate across the country and win.”

Asked if her opinion of Warren has changed at all since her presidential-exploratory announcement late last year, McGhee said it hadn’t.

“I think she’s the real deal,” McGhee said. “There’s nobody in politics who has such a clear reason for why they’re in politics and who they’re fighting for.”

“She seems to be the only candidate so far that’s really being very specific about the kinds of changes she would make with regards to taxes and other things,” said Tim Duncan of Belmont. “I think that’s really important, that we have candidates this time that are willing to really make a stand, and be specific about what it is that they’re going to do.”

“To the surprise of everybody, it seems like most Americans support it,” Duncan added of Warren’s recent proposal to tax the very rich. “All it took was somebody to say it, put it out there, and all of a sudden we’re finding out that Americans really do want a significant change in how equality and wealth is distributed in this country.”

Warren followed up her official campaign kickoff with an organizing event in Dover, New Hampshire, which drew about 350 people to Dover’s city hall. There, attendees who mentioned the ancestry issue viewed it less as a source of legitimate concern about Warren’s acumen than an unfortunate distraction.

“It’s disgusting,” said Andrew Kun of Durham. “Enough of it.”

“You hear some news about the person, and they’re very focused on meaningless things — whereas you see her and you hear what she has to say, and it’s so much broader and so much more exciting and so much more positive.”

“There’s this game of gotcha going on with Elizabeth Warren because of her comments about her Native American roots,” said David Spiegel of Newmarket. “And I would say that I would hope we would get past that, because she’s more than demonstrated how much she’s fought for us as a senator. And I put her record up, fighting for us, against anybody who’s running for the presidency."

Meanwhile, one attendee who'd been concerned about the subject before Warren's Dover event said afterward that she's inclined to let it go.

“I thought she was great — full of energy,” Dottie Oliver, also of Durham, said of Warren. "She expounded more on policy than I've ever heard her on the radio or TV, so that was good.

“I was worried about the Texas application, where she said she was Native American. But she’s apologized to the Cherokees. I don’t know — that’s the only thing I can find possibly wrong. And considering everybody else’s history, it’s not much.”