Things That Matter

Minor League Baseball Team Calls Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez An ‘Enemy Of Freedom’

josealvarado / ocasio2018 / Instagram

A minor league baseball team got in trouble after it aired a Memorial Day video in where Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was depicted among “enemies of freedom.” California’s Class AAA Fresno Grizzlies, a minor-league affiliate of the Washington Nationals, showed a 3-minute video that was supposed to be a “moving tribute” to the armed forces. Instead, it showed Ocasio-Cortez with the likes of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and former Cuban President Fidel Castro.

The baseball team released a statement saying that they are “embarrassed” by the video and have called it situation a complete “mistake.”

Credit: @FresnoeGrizzlies / Twitter

As the voice of President Ronald Reagan warned of “enemies of freedom,” a photo of Ocasio-Cortez appeared with Kim and Castro. The Grizzlies issued a statement on Monday that said the video was “misleading and offensive.” The team said the clip was a “pre-produced video from outside our front office.”

“We’re embarrassed we allowed this video to play without seeing it in its entirety first,” the Grizzlies posted on Twitter Tuesday. “We unconditionally apologize to Rep. Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) in addition to our fans, community and those we hurt. It was a mistake and we will ensure that nothing like it ever happens again.”

Ocasio-Cortez responded to the video in a series of tweets Tuesday, writing that “words matter.”

The New York Democrat voiced her anger and disappointment about the whole situation. Ocasio-Cortez stressed that “words matter” and these incidents have a great effect on her personal life.

“What people don’t (maybe do) realize is when orgs air these hateful messages, my life changes bc of the flood of death threats they inspire,” she wrote Tuesday on Twitter. “I‘ve had mornings where I wake up & the 1st thing I do w/ my coffee is review photos of the men (it’s always men) who want to kill me.”

The baseball team has identified the employee behind the incident.

Credit: Fresno Grizzlies

In a press release on Wednesday, the team is said they are remorseful and the club will likely not broadcast videos from the internet at its games moving forward “in an abundance of caution.”

The employee responsible for the video was identified and “has been reprimanded by the organization.” The team also acknowledged the backlash they have received over the video and say criticism they’ve “received is deserved.”

Ocasio-Cortez has become one of the most prominent politicians in the U.S. and a regular target of criticism by the right-wing.

The freshman congresswoman has been the subject of multiple attacks across social media and on right-wing networks since she rose to prominence last year. She said online that this type of behavior has become too regular and questioned the way some people are using “free speech.”

“It happens whenever Fox gets particularly aggressive + hateful, too. Young interns have to constantly hear hateful messages (far beyond disagreement) from ppl we don’t even rep,” Ocasio-Cortex said on Twitter. “For those who believe in ‘free speech’: whose free speech do you believe in?”

READ: AOC Just Clapped Back At Republicans Using The Power Of The Holy Bible

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Made A Student Loan Payment During Meeting To Prove A Point About Corruption

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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Made A Student Loan Payment During Meeting To Prove A Point About Corruption

One of the least talked about topics on the realm of American politics has to be the corruption of financial student loan institutions. The immigration crisis, climate change, and even healthcare are discussed more extensively, but when it comes to education and the high cost of college, the voices aren’t enough. However, it should be known that in the United States, the student loan debt is currently at $1.5 trillion. More than 44 million people are drowning in student loan debt, and one of them is a United States representative. 

During a committee meeting, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stated that she made a student loan payment, but she wasn’t slacking off.

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez was in the middle of a House Financial Services Committee hearing and said — to make a very valid point — that she had made a roughly $200 payment on the remainder of her student loan, which is now more than $19,000.

“I literally made a student loan payment while I was sitting here at this chair, and I looked at my balance, and it was $20,237.16,” Rep. Ocasio-Cortez said during the hearing. “I just made a payment that took me down to $19,000 so I feel really accomplished right now.”

The youngest lawmaker in the House of Congress wanted to show the corruption by student loan institutions and how several of those companies have ties to United States Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. She added that she feels strongly against the Republicans view on this topic, saying, “I’m hearing people on this committee say it’s not our job. This is our job.” 

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez isn’t the only lawmaker making student loan payments. There are 70 other members of congress that are still paying off their student loans.

The New York Post is reporting that “70 members of Congress who are still paying off student loans for themselves or a dependent — with an average debt burden of $37,000. Eight lawmakers are said to have more than $100,000 in debt.”

This is not the first time, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez has spoken out about the student loans that paid for her college education at Boston University. Back in June, on the steps of Capitol Hill, she said this fight is personal for her“It was literally easier for me to become the youngest woman elected to Congress than it is to pay off my student loan debt.”

People who are making monthly payments to their student loans, on average, contribute about $300 a month, which is not enough if they owe at least $35,000. According to a report by CNBC, “About one in four Americans has student loan debt, with the average balance just over $37,000. The average student loan payment is $393 a month, which is almost 20 percent of the typical American’s monthly household income.”

Student loan debt is one of the contributing factors as to why people are postponing getting married, starting a family, and purchasing a home. They simply cannot afford to get into the next chapter in their life because they’re drowning in debt.

That is why Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and other politicians are fighting to forgive student loan debt and make college tuition-free.

Some may say people should have to pay their own debt, but others such as presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Like Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders said that millennials shouldn’t have to suffer at the hands of corrupt student loan institutions.

“It is time to end the absurdity of sentencing an entire generation—the millennial generation—to a lifetime of debt for the ‘crime’ of doing the right thing: getting a college education,” Sanders wrote in Fortune

Furthermore, Sanders and the rest of the Democratic presidential candidates are also running on a promise to make college tuition-free, mainly state schools. New Mexico just announced they are offering free college education for state universities. Other states that are now offering a free college education includes Oregon, Nevada, Arkansas, New Jersey, Maryland, Tennessee, New York, Rhode Island, Delaware, Kentucky, and Indiana.

“This program is an absolute game-changer for New Mexico,” Governor Lujan Grisham said in a statement, according to the New York Times. “In the long run, we’ll see improved economic growth, improved outcomes for New Mexican workers and families and parents.”

READ: It Is So Hard To Pay Back Student Loan Debts In The US That American Borrows Are Fleeing To Live Abroad To Avoid Paying

Could This Young Woman Of Color Be The Next AOC? This Progressive Political Group Hopes So

Things That Matter

Could This Young Woman Of Color Be The Next AOC? This Progressive Political Group Hopes So

MeetMcKayla / Instagram

Inspired by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Mckayla Wilkes of Maryland has got her sights set on 2020, challenging House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer for his seat. In fact, Wilkes has been influenced so much by AOC’s run for Congress in 2018, she’s now secured backing from Brand New Congress – the same progressive group that supported Ocasion-Cortez’s campaign way back when.

That’s swell and all, but why do we care?

Instagram / @meetmckayla

There’s plenty of reasons to care about Wilkes and who she is: she’s a black, working-class, 29 year-old mother-of-two studying political science in Waldorf, Maryland. When you compare her to Steny Hoyer and his background – essentially an old, white man serving his 20th term in office – you can definitely imagine that Wilkes would be more familiar with the everyday struggles that most of us face, than Hoyer. “He’s not for people that are my family, my friends, my coworkers,” Wilkes said in an interview with Buzzfeed. “It shows in the policies that he sponsors and that he endorses, and it shows in the donors that he gets his contributions from.”

Wilkes has been extremely candid and open about her past and her struggles.

Twitter / @MeetMckayla

It’s easy to see that Wilkes is as genuine as it gets, as she’s also been upfront about her past. “I just don’t want any secrets … I want everything to be out there. It’s not like I’m the only person who goes through these things,” she said, having publicly spoke about her time in jail as a teen and young adult. Wilkes has admitted to going through a rough patch, and also spoke about the abortion she had when she was 19: “It’s not like it’s something easy to do,” she told BuzzFeed recently. “It’s not an easy decision to make. But I feel like women should have that right. … My body is not a political playground. There’s no room for [politicians] in the room with me and my doctor.”

Sure, she’s more representative of the population, but what does Wilkes stand for?

Instagram / @meetmckayla

In short, it seems as if Mckayla Wilkes is running on a platform that’s kinda similar to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Things like Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, affordable housing, overhauling the criminal justice system and even initiating impeachment proceedings against Trump are all on her to-do list, should she be elected. And yeah: none of these policies are gonna be easy to institute, especially as the Democrat’s current position doesn’t support impeachment. But, whoever said that running for office – and getting things done – would be easy?

She is committed to raising money for her campaign directly from her constituents.

Instagram / @meetmckayla

However, Wilkes is clearly driven by her morals, and isn’t afraid of a challenge. She’s also committed to staying away from PAC money and is seeking funding through other means. It’s meant that, since launching her campaign in June, she’s raised $70,000 from door knocking. To put it in perspective, Hoyer raised just $185 in the first quarter of 2019 from grassroots donations … and over $650,000 from other sources. What this means for Wilkes is that, having fundraised exclusively through donations from the community, her decisions and policies are tied directly to her constituents – and not other interests. More power to her, right?

It sounds like Wilkes is definitely for the people – but what is she up against?

Instagram / @leaderhoyer

Well, there is the obvious: Wilkes is running against an incumbent, and one who’s got plenty of funding and connections to boot. It’s not easy to run against someone who’s in that position. Especially when the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) made an announcement earlier this year that if an organization supports candidates challenging an incumbent House Democrat, the party would cut them off from business. It means that even simple things like securing advertisers becomes that much harder for someone in Wilkes’ position.

Wilke’s campaign will be a challenging one to win but she’s got her eyes on the prize.

Instagram / @meetmckayla

Chances are that Wilkes’ campaign will face more challenges than what Ocasio-Cortez saw, too. The population of Maryland’s 5th District is 60 percent white. However, New York’s 14th District, where AOC ran for her seat, is 18 percent white. Political pundits speculate that because 2020 is a presidential election year, it’s highly likely that younger and more diverse voters will show up to have their say – which in turn should help Wilkes.

Mckayla Wilkes is no fool, and she knows that she needs to lean into the fact that she not only represents a more diverse face in the race for Congress, but also a deeper, more tangible connection to the average Joe. “That’s … what sets me apart from Hoyer and also the majority of people in Congress,” Wilkes said to the media, “because I would not be able to sleep at night knowing that I’m denying my sister health care or that I’m denying my friend a place to live or that I’m denying my classmate a place to live. So, for me, it’s personal.”