Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was born October 13, 1989 to working-class parents. “Her father was a small business owner from the South Bronx. Her mother was born in Puerto Rico— growing up around a large family near Arecibo. Her mother cleaned homes, and everyone pitched in on the family business.”*** Also known by her initials (AOC), she grew up in the Bronx, New York and went on to attend Boston University, where she double majored in International Relations and Economics and graduated cum laude in 2011.** Before running for Congress in 2018, she worked as a waitress, bartender, and activist.
During the 2016 election, she worked as an organizer for the Bernie Sander’s presidential campaign. Afterwards, she took it upon herself to visit several cities via car in America. She went to Flint, Michigan and spoke to people affected by the Flint water crisis. She also traveled to Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota to speak to people affected by the Dakota Access Pipeline. Ocasio-Cortez demonstrated that she was willing to listen to the people. This trip opened her eyes, and she quickly realized that even though she was from a working-class background, she could still run for Congress. After the trip, she quickly began her 100% grassroots campaign.**** Ocasio-Cortez was the first person to run against Joseph Crowley since 2004. Winning the election on June 26, 2018 was a historic time. At the time, AOC was 28 and had already earned a seat in Congress.
Although, she is a Congresswoman, it doesn’t mean that she gets treated fairly. Often times, AOC has been mistreated by other politicians. Recently, “Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez fired back at Vice President Mike Pence for not referring to her as “congresswoman” during Wednesday night’s vice presidential debate against Sen. Kamala D. Harris.”* Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez used her Twitter handle to tweet, “For the record @Mike_Pence, it’s Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez to you.” This is a clear example of how AOC, doesn’t let anyone get to her.
Credit: Google Images, 2020
More importantly, she stands up for herself and makes it known that she will not tolerate any disrespect from anyone. As a woman, I look up to her and admire her courage to stand up for herself. This is just one of several instances that AOC has come across. During other instances, they have judged her for getting a new hairstyle and even for her outfit choices. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is an inspiration to many young Latinx people.
Credit: David Pexton, 2019
I encourage you to learn more about AOC, if you haven’t heard of her before. She has quickly become the voice to many Latinx people and is dedicated to helping the people. There is so much more to learn about her journey and the work she is doing. A great way to start is by watching, “Knock Down the House” a 2019 documentary. It revolves on the primary campaign of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Amy Vilela, Cori Bush, and Paula Jean Swearengin, four progressive Democrats who ran for Congress in the 2018 midterm elections. You can also read “AOC: The Fearless Rise and Powerful Resonance of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez” by Lynda Lopez. Last, if you can and are able to, register to vote! Your voice matters, and it can be heard by voting.
*Chasmar, Jessica (October 8, 2020). AOC rips Mike Pence: 'It's Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez to you'. Retrieved October 13, 2020
**Evon, Dan (April 3, 2019). "Did U.S. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez Graduate Cum Laude from Boston University?". Snopes. Retrieved August 10, 2020.
***Ocasio-Cortez, A. (n.d.). Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for Congress. Retrieved October 13, 2020, from https://www.ocasiocortez.com/about
****Wang, Vivian (June 27, 2018). "Who Is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez? A Democratic Giant Slayer". The New York Times. Archived from the original on June 27, 2018. Retrieved June 27, 2018.
*****Watkins, Eli (November 6, 2018). "Ocasio-Cortez to be youngest woman ever elected to Congress". CNN. Retrieved November 6, 2018.