DeBerry, the activist, says Buttigieg shouldn't become president."That's like a mother having her own children and not taking care of them and then wants foster children", she said, expressing a feeling she says is shared by many who were left behind by the city's transformation.
About 4,500 people cheered as rain fell through the ceiling of the Studebaker Building 84, a retired manufacturing building revitalized as a technology hub representing South Bend's revival since Buttigieg took office in 2012.
"Our marriage exists by the grace of a single vote on the US Supreme Court".
Jack Beam, a Chicago lawyer who attended the kick-off event, said he's donated money to Buttigieg's campaign and considers him his favorite candidate in the crowded field.
"Simple enough to fit on a bumper sticker", he said. "The chance to live a life of your choosing, in keeping with your values, that is freedom in its richest sense".
"Take it from Chasten and me - you're not free if your county clerk gets to tell you who you ought to marry due to their political and religious beliefs", he said.
Also on Sunday, Democratic Representative Eric Swalwell formally launched his 2020 presidential run in his hometown of Dublin, California, promising to centre his campaign on gun control inspired by the Parkland shooting. Buttigieg braved the elements and thanked the crowd moments before making his official announcement indoors.
"The idea that security and patriotism belong to one political party needs to end today", he said.
The Vermont senator and Democratic presidential candidate says "health care is a human right, not a privilege". South Bend resident Willow Wetherall wore a yellow hat covered in mini campaign signs she made with her 13- and 9-year-old children.
"If me being gay was a choice, it was a choice that was made far, far above my pay grade", Buttigieg said at an event last weekend. Other Democrats remain somewhat muted about the mayor. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.
Buttigieg is the first serious presidential contender who is openly gay, and the atmosphere around his speech was infused with the exuberance and anguish that has characterized the recent history of the LGBTQ rights movement. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Kamala Harris of California and Elizabeth Warren of MA. "And now, I can confidently say that South Bend is back". A Rhodes Scholar and a Christian who speaks seven languages, his campaign is rooted in his fluency in a particular dialect: the language of the overlooked Midwestern voter.
For Buttigieg, Sunday's upbeat gathering on a dreary, snowy mid-April afternoon was an important political juncture: a reintroduction to a party that has only begun to pay attention to this mayor with an unfamiliar name, but is now certainly listening closely as it searches for a standard-bearer. That man was Obama.
"Change is coming, ready or not", Buttigieg told the crowd.
Buttigieg, 37, is a former Navy intelligence officer who has been mayor of South Bend for eight years.
He must still overcome the perception that his youth and thin resume as mayor of a town of just 100,000 people leaves him lacking the experience necessary for the presidency.
The two-term mayor and one-term governor have clashed on the campaign trail as well.
At 37 years old, Buttigieg is only a few years older than the age requirement to be commander in chief, which is 35.
"This time calls for a new generation of leadership in our country", he told the crowd.
The hulking, dilapidated factory loomed over the city for much of the past 60 years as what Buttigieg called a daily reminder of South Bend's city's past.
"The South Bend we all grew up in was very different".
Williams-Preston said she felt that working with Buttigieg as a mayor, part of the job was preparing him for the next step. "He's not just IN".
"It's nice to feel hope again", Cynthia Smith said.