Fierce

A Children’s Alphabet Book About Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Talks About ‘A’ And ‘F’ Words

The appeal of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is undeniable, ever since she was elected to represent New  York’s 14th district last year she’s been making headlines. Her story is an inspiring rise to fame from being born and raised in the Bronx to repping her neighborhood as the youngest congresswoman in U.S. history.  Cementing her iconic status is her bold push against the status quo in government, promoting progressive plans and unapologetically being true to herself. These are just some of the reasons she’s come to represent the modern-day empowered, socially conscious politician that serves as an inspiration for women of all ages. 

So why not put her in a book?

A new book titled The ABCs of AOC: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from A to Z is due to debut this October. 

Feminist Press Executive Director & Publisher and author Jamia Wilson and illustrator Krystal Quiles teamed up to showcase AOC’s story and history-making career in the alphabet book.

Wilson is a feminist activist also striving for change and so she created this book to honor a woman whose views are in line with her own and clearly many other young women. 

 “AOC shows kids of all races and genders that they are never too young to speak up, take action, and make a change in their community,” she told Romper. “Her historic ascent illustrates the power of curiosity, courage, and using your voice to support and inspire others. Whether readers are interested in activism, education, civics, feminism, or science they’ll connect with the story of her heroic journey from the Bronx to the House.”

The book includes words like “Xenophobia,” “Grassroots,” and “Feminist,” and “Advocate” with art that has AOC in her famous white power suit, red lips, and gold hoops. 

The Boricua congresswoman has been working toward making big changes since she took office when she was 29, having previously been a bartender as well as worked for Sen. Ted Kennedy and presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders. 

Her main focus has been the Green New Deal which aims to convert the U.S. economy to renewable energy in the next 12 year, encouraging job creation and innovations in technology. She also supports Medicare for everyone, free public college, and abolishing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). All causes that are especially relevant for younger generations and popular issues among young voters. 

As an avid user of social media, she uses her various platforms to inform followers and call out politicians including the president, recently tweeting about Trump’s behavior regarding his alleged sexual assault. 

With more than five million followers on Twitter and almost four million on Instagram, she’s become one of – if not the – most popular House member on social.

But in addition to her government takedowns and fact-checking tweets, she’s also loud and proud when it comes to her Latinidad and her style. 

Lip+hoops were inspired by Sonia Sotomayor, who was advised to wear neutral-colored nail polish to her confirmation hearings to avoid scrutiny. She kept her red. Next time someone tells Bronx girls to take off their hoops, they can just say they’re dressing like a Congresswoman,” she tweeted earlier this year. 

No wonder one of the words in the book is “feminist.” After all, that feminist power was evident when she stood up against Trump earlier this month when he tweeted that she and three other female progressive Democrats should all “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came.”

AOC, along with congresswomen Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib then formed what’s now known as “The Squad” in response. Today they have become a fixture of the power of women of color in politics. All four were elected to the House last year, making Congress the most diverse it’s ever been in U.S. history. 

“AOC shows kids of all races and genders that they are never too young to speak up, take action, and make a change in their community,” Wilson told Romper. 

Wilson isn’t the first writer to want to share AOC’s story, in May Devil’s Due Comics released a special issue called Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the Freshman Forcefeaturing her taking on the Republicans in various scenarios. Volume II features “The Squad” and comes out in December of this year. 

“The ABCs of AOC” Illustrator Quiles, also from the Bronx, notes that wherever you land in the political spectrum, AOC’s fierce spirit and audacious goals are admirable either way. 

“Regardless of political stance, AOC has tenacity, grit, and pride — qualities that should be passed on to our children and are reminders for our adult selves,” she told Romper. “As a woman born in The Bronx of Puerto Rican heritage, I think about all the kids living off the last stops of the 1,2,4,5,6 and D lines that can look up and see someone like AOC fighting for everything she believes in. It gives me hope for a brighter future.”

In a political climate that’s marginalizing women, immigrants, and people of color, AOC’s anti-establishment stance is now going to inspire younger generations, especially children of color, to realize they too can make history and fight for their beliefs. 

The book is available October 1 but you can  preorder it now.

In A Time When POC Need Voices In Literature– Coronavirus Has Wrecked The Debut Of Promising Authors

Things That Matter

In A Time When POC Need Voices In Literature– Coronavirus Has Wrecked The Debut Of Promising Authors

As if marginalized authors didn’t already have their burdens within the publishing industry, the Coronavirus spread is threatening their debuts.

Those familiar with the world of publishing know that houses and agencies continue to struggle to improve diversity within its ranks. Unfortunately, the effects of the new coronavirus pandemic have already begun to take its toll on writers. For veteran authors who’ve been published before, the coronavirus pandemic has delivered real blows. But for emerging ones of color, the spread of the disease has been particularly devastating. Authors can spend years, even decades, pouring their all into writing a book. When it comes to convincing publishers that their stories are important enough to be in print and e-published it can just as long if not more.

With the spread of the virus keeping authors from going out to promote their books in stores and on tours, we wanted to wrangle up a list of POC authors to read while self-isolating. They’re particularly good stories we think you’ll love and they need your support!

The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna

Namina Forna is a Los Angeles-based screenwriter who paints a vivid story inspired by ancient West African-inspired fantasy. It currently has a 4.47 rating on Goodreads.

“Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in fear and anticipation of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she will become a member of her village. Already different from everyone else because of her unnatural intuition, Deka prays for red blood so she can finally feel like she belongs. But on the day of the ceremony, her blood runs gold, the color of impurity–and Deka knows she will face a consequence worse than death. Then a mysterious woman comes to her with a choice: stay in the village and submit to her fate, or leave to fight for the emperor in an army of girls just like her. They are called alaki–near-immortals with rare gifts. And they are the only ones who can stop the empire’s greatest threat. Knowing the dangers that lie ahead yet yearning for acceptance, Deka decides to leave the only life she’s ever known. But as she journeys to the capital to train for the biggest battle of her life, she will discover that the great walled city holds many surprises. Nothing and no one are quite what they seem to be–not even Deka herself.” Goodreads

The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall

Maggie Tokuda-Hall weaves a stunning swashbuckling adventure full of Asian folklore in this fantasy tale with a 4.05 rating. It debuts May 5, 2020.

“Aboard the pirate ship Dove, Flora the girl takes on the identity of Florian the man to earn the respect and protection of the crew. For Flora, former starving urchin, the brutal life of a pirate is about survival: don’t trust, don’t stick out, and don’t feel. But on this voyage, as the pirates prepare to sell their unsuspecting passengers into slavery, Flora is drawn to the Lady Evelyn Hasegawa, who is en route to a dreaded arranged marriage with her own casket in tow. Flora doesn’t expect to be taken under Evelyn’s wing, and Evelyn doesn’t expect to find such a deep bond with the pirate Florian.

Soon the unlikely pair set in motion a wild escape that will free a captured mermaid (coveted for her blood, which causes men to have visions and lose memories) and involve the mysterious Pirate Supreme, an opportunistic witch, and the all-encompassing Sea itself. ” – Goodreads

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

From queer, trans, and Latinx debut author Aiden Thomas comes a beautiful story about gender acceptance and family culture. It currently has a 4.58-star rating on Goodreads and is expected to be published on June 9, 2020

“When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself, and then sets out to find the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free. However, the ghost he summons is actually Julian Diaz, the school’s resident bad boy, and Julian is not about to go quietly into death. He’s determined to find out what happened and tie up some loose ends before he leaves. Left with no choice, Yadriel agrees to help Julian, so that they can both get what they want. But the longer Yadriel spends with Julian, the less he wants to let him leave.” – Goodreads

A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow

Bethany C. Morrow’s YA debut isn’t her first book but for fans of POC YA, this one is a first to read. Her book Song of Water has a 4.04 rating on Goodreads and is set for release on June , 2020.

“Tavia is already at odds with the world, forced to keep her siren identity under wraps in a society that wants to keep her kind under lock and key. Never mind she’s also stuck in Portland, Oregon, a city with only a handful of black folk and even fewer of those with magical powers. At least she has her bestie Effie by her side as they tackle high school drama, family secrets, and unrequited crushes.

But everything changes in the aftermath of a siren murder trial that rocks the nation; the girls’ favorite Internet fashion icon reveals she’s also a siren, and the news rips through their community. Tensions escalate when Effie starts being haunted by demons from her past, and Tavia accidentally lets out her magical voice during a police stop. No secret seems safe anymore—soon Portland won’t be either. (less)” Goodreads.

This Is My Americaby Kim Johnson

Kim Johnson’s upcoming YA debut examines racial injustice against innocent black men who are criminally sentenced and its effects on their families. Its xpected publication is July 1st 2020.

Dear Martin meets Just Mercy in this unflinching yet uplifting YA novel that explores the racist injustices in the American justice system. Every week, seventeen-year-old Tracy Beaumont writes letters to Innocence X, asking the organization to help her father, an innocent Black man on death row. After seven years, Tracy is running out of time—her dad has only 267 days left. Then the unthinkable happens. The police arrive in the night, and Tracy’s older brother, Jamal, goes from being a bright, promising track star to a “thug” on the run, accused of killing a white girl. Determined to save her brother, Tracy investigates what really happened between Jamal and Angela down at the Pike. But will Tracy and her family survive the uncovering of the skeletons of their Texas town’s racist history that still haunt the present?” – Goodreads.

AOC Wants Coronavirus ‘Reparations’ For Minority Communities

Fierce

AOC Wants Coronavirus ‘Reparations’ For Minority Communities

anandavaughan / Instagram

For minority groups, there’s no denying that COVID-19 has had extreme effects.

According to reports COVID-19 deaths have appeared at disproportionate amounts in African-American and immigrant communities. In New York, where COVID-19 deaths have reached all highs, nearly a third of New York City’s infections are in Queens- a city with one of the most diverse populations in the world. More alarming is the fact that the hardest-hit neighborhoods are ones populated by undocumented and working-class people. In a recent interview with Democracy Now! Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called out Trump’s response to the pandemic for its part in the many deaths occurring across the United States highlighting them “deaths of incompetence,” “deaths of science denial” and “deaths of inequality.”

In her recent interview, Ocasio-Cortez called for coronavirus reparations for minorities.

Speaking about the enormous racial and ethnic disparity in the Coronavirus cases appearing in hospitals across the country, particularly the deaths that are occurring, Ocasio-Cortez emphasized the need for government intervention. Particularly when it comes to Queens, New York. “This is one of the most working-class and, as you mentioned, blackest and brownest communities in New York City. It is extraordinarily dense. Even for New York City, it is a very dense and densely populated community,” Ocasio-Cortez explained. “It’s no surprise that, you know, in the wake of this pandemic, right after the Trump administration announced its public charge rule, which basically said, if you are undocumented and seek public services, public healthcare, SNAP, WIC, etc., then you will be essentially put on a fast track to either denial of citizenship or outright deportation — and so, now that we have this pandemic and it is hardest-hitting in communities that are heavily immigrant and also with strong historically black communities, as well, that people are either afraid to go to Elmhurst Hospital out of the cost or out of sheer fear that they will be put in the public charge list.”

Since the rise of the pandemic, Ocasio-Cortez has eagerly pointed out the higher numbers of COVID-19 fatalities in low-income communities and its roots in underlying inequality.

“COVID deaths are disproportionately spiking in Black + Brown communities,” Ocasio-Cortez expressed her outrage in a Tweet last Friday. “Why? Because the chronic toll of redlining, environmental racism, wealth gap, etc. ARE underlying health conditions,” the Bronx-born lawmaker added. Inequality is a comorbidity. COVID relief should be drafted with a lens of reparations.”