Things That Matter

Here’s What You Need To Know About Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 30-year-old Democratic socialist and Queens native, unseated 10-term incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley on June 26, 2018 in the Democratic primary in New York’s 14th congressional district.

This young Latinx activist and first-time politician had what is being called the biggest upset of the political season so far, shaking up her party to represent a district that is 49.80 percent Hispanic and includes parts of eastern Bronx and north-central Queens.

Here are some fast facts you need to know about Ocasio-Cortez.

1. She might become the youngest person elected in Congress.

Instagram @ocasio2018

At 28-years-old, Ocasio-Cortez could become the youngest politician in Congress. She is younger than the current youngest U.S. Representative, Elise Stefanik, who is 33-years-old.

2. Ocasio-Cortez proved that strong grassroots campaigns have power.

Instagram @ocasio2018

After her surprising win, Ocasio-Cortez told CBS News the average contribution to her campaign was $17. “We have blown through well past $200,000 for this race, all in small-dollar working-class kind of contributions,” she told CBSN in May.

She also refused to take any big-name donations from corporations. Her campaign was also all volunteer-led.

3. She has a major love for the Bronx because that’s her home.

Instagram @ocasio2018

Ocasio-Cortez was born in Queens and moved back to the Bronx after receiving a degree in economic and international relations from Boston University. During her time living in the Bronx, she worked for the National Hispanic Institute and helped high school and middle school students expand their community leadership and literacy skills as an educational director.

4. Her campaign video is simple yet powerful.

Instagram @ocasio2018

Ocasio-Cortez’s two minute-long campaign video has been viewed more than 330,000 times and starts out with “Women like me aren’t supposed to run for office.” With a statement like that, you know she is ready to be the change for her congressional district. In fact, the video is titled “The Courage to Change.”

5. She’s a Democratic Socialist.

Instagram @ocasio2018

Ocasio-Cortez says in her campaign video, “It’s time to fight for a New York that working families can afford,” alluding to her Democratic socialist roots. She honed that part while campaigning for Senator Bernie Sanders in New York back in 2016. An article by The Daily Beast said membership for the Democratic Socialists of America trended upwards after her victory.

6. Bernie Sanders congratulated her victory because it was truly a surprise victory.

Twitter @BernieSanders

Speaking of Bernie Sanders, he gave her a congrats post on Tuesday night, getting more ‘likes’ and RTs than his other congratulatory posts to another political candidate that night.

7. She flew under the radar in the campaign.

Instagram @ocasio2018

Ocasio-Cortez was seen as an outsider for her political views as much as her freshman status as a first-time political candidate. The New York Times didn’t even profile her before the race, but outlets including Refinery 29, El Nuevo Dia and NY1 did.

8. She worked for late Senator Ted Kennedy.

Instagram @ocasio2018

During college, she worked for the late Senator Ted Kennedy where she handled immigration casework for constituent families, as well as handling foreign affairs. She still values the lessons she learned under his guidance.

9. The issues she fights for are close to her heart.

Instagram @ocasio2018

Ocasio-Cortez ran on a platform of abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and fighting for universal health care, tuition-free college and federal jobs guarantee. According to her campaign website, she says she knows what it is like to meet issues regarding immigration, financial distress and healthcare head-on because she lived through them with her own family.

10. She used to work as a waitress.

Instagram @ocasio2018

In order to help her family make ends meet during the middle of the recession, Ocasio-Cortez took 18-hour shifts working as a waitress and at two other jobs.

11. She is close to her family.

Instagram @ocasio2018

Her father was a Bronx-born small businessman who died from cancer at the age of 48. She is close with her Puerto Rican mother and took a sweet video with her that she posted on her Instagram story after her monumental victory, saying she was catching up after having an intense day of media interviews.

12. She was part of the Standing Rock protest.

Instagram @ocasio2018

Ocasio-Cortez has been a part of rallies and protests including Standing Rock pipeline protests in South Dakota, visits to Flint, Michigan to meet with local community members and headed to the border recently to protest the Trump administration’s family separation policy.

13. Next chapter—the White House?

Instagram @ocasio2018

Will Ocasio-Cortez be setting her sights on the Oval Office eventually? Her mother, Blanca Ocasio-Cortez, told the New York Post her daughter’s “aspiration is to be president.”

14. She refuses to entertain bad-faith debate proposals

Instagram @ocasio2018

Alexandria’s time is not for people who are just going to waste it. Case in point: conservative pundit and provocateur Ben Shapiro. Shapiro publicly offered Ocasio $10,000 to sit down and have a political debate with him. Recognizing the publicity stunt for what it was, she ignored his request. But Shapiro and his followers didn’t like this answer and made their disapproval clear on social media. Alexandria responded with this incredible comeback: “Just like catcalling, I don’t owe a response to unsolicited requests from men with bad intentions. And also like catcalling, for some reason they feel entitled to one.” Burn.

15. She’s had to set the record straight on her upbringing on more than one occasion.

Instagram @ocasio2018

Alexandria has been vocal about her love for the Bronx, where her family’s root go deep and where she’s lived for years. Unfortunately, some people are unhappy with that story. Conservative critic John Cardillo attempted to call her a fraud, stating that she lied about her “hood” upbringing. In addition, he claimed that she attended Brown University (an Ivy League) implying that she was part of the establishment she’s campaigned so hard against. Her response? “I didn’t go to Brown…I went to BU. [That neighborhood] was a good town for working people. My mom scrubbed toilets so I could live here…Your attempt to strip me of my family, my story, my home, and my identity is exemplary of how scared you are of the power of all four of those things.”

16. She’s not gonna let you get away with calling her a “Girl…or whatever”

Instagram @ocasio2018

When talking to a crowd of his supporters in Florida, GOP Congressman Ron DeSantis brought up Ocasio Cortez’s name as a talking point, saying “You look at this girl Ocasio-Cortez or whatever she is, she’s in a totally different universe…”. After his sexist remarks made headlines, Alexandria fired back on Twitter: “Rep DeSantis, it seems you‘re confused as to ‘whatever I am.’ I am a Puerto Rican woman. It‘s strange you don’t know what that is, given that ~75,000 Puerto Ricans have relocated to Florida in the 10 mos since María.” This “girl” knows how to write a clap-back.

17. She’s not going to let you get away with being a sore loser.

Instagram @ocasio2018

When the primary election results for District 14 came in, Rep. Joe Crowley was understandable, upset about the outcome. However, when Crowley didn’t concede, Alexandria decided to take to Twitter. She called out Rep Crowley for initially saying he would “absolutely support [her] candidacy”, but when he lost he “stood [her] up for all 3 scheduled concession calls.” It’s clear that Ocasio-Cortez expects the same respect from her peers as they would give to a more conventional candidate.

18. She’s a defender and will clap back at anyone who tries to disparage the accomplishments of minorities.

Instagram @ocasio2018

In trying to refute Ocasio’s claim that Puerto Rico is treated like a colony, conservative commentator Dinesh D’Souza stated that normally, colonies “provide resources for the nation that rules them”. He then went on to ask Ocasio-Cortez what Puerto Rico “provides” to the US. Ocasio shut down that question really quick, rattling off a list of things PR “provides”, and then explaining to him that his question “comes from quite the colonial mindset of ‘what value is this territory providing us anyway?’”. And that’s how you handle ignorance with strength and grace.

19. Conservatives have compared her to a dictator.

Instagram @ocasio2018

After the people of Queens and The Bronx nominated her, the Republican party compared Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to the current leader of Venezuela, President Madura. Specifically, they called her a “mini Maduro”, implying she supports anti-democratic policies. No one missed the fact that the GOP compared her to a negative Latinx figure, as opposed to a positive Socialist one. Alexandria responded saying that her policies are “more reminiscent of Norway than of Caracas”. She then blasted the Republican party for showing “comfort with and weakness towards the racism of this [administration]”.

20. She’s out to shut down blatant double standards in politics.

Instagram @ocasio2018

After appearing on The Daily Show, Ocasio-Cortez faced a barrage of criticism for erroneously stating that the military’s budget increased by $700 billion in 2017. In fact, it only rose by $61 billion. In true form, Ocasio-Cortez deftly and swiftly highlighted this double-standard. She brought up the time Senator James Inhofe pulled a snowball out of his pocket to prove that climate change was a hoax. How did the media react? The media hardly covered the incident and the public quickly forgot it. Coincidence? Probably not. Double standard? Definitely.


READ: Here’s Why People In Los Angeles Came Out In Support Of Reuniting Families

Share this story with all of your friends by tapping that little share button below!

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

AOC Gets Under Ted Cruz’s Skin With Crack About His Mexican Getaway After He Accuses Her Of Pushing For ‘open borders’

Fierce

AOC Gets Under Ted Cruz’s Skin With Crack About His Mexican Getaway After He Accuses Her Of Pushing For ‘open borders’

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ted Cruz are at it again on Twitter. This time it’s about immigration policy. After recently traveling to the US-Mexican border to underline the recent rise in immigration, Cruz accused AOC of pushing for a “full open borders” policy.

And of course, AOC got him with some solid zingers.

AOC in turn hit back at Cruz for recently fleeing his home state of Texas during its power grid collapse to vacation in Cancún.

In response to Cruz’s attack, AOC suggested Mexico avoid allowing Cruz in the next time he attempts to vacation there. She also called on him to resign from office for his attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

“Ted, this is pretty rich coming from someone who fled their own home (and responsibilities) during an environmental crisis to cross the border and seek refuge in Mexico,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “Also you funded cages, expanded cages, and yet you’re complaining about cages. You have no policy, just puff.”

Ocasio-Cortez accused Republicans of hypocritically attacking the current administration’s detention of migrant children at the border after they supported President Donald Trump’s policy of separating migrant parents from their children.

Currently, Democrats like AOC are calling on Biden to impliment more liberal immigration policies.

Republicans have strongly expressed their dislike for the recent rise in migrants which has come as a result of Biden’s reversal of Trump’s most rigid border policies.

AOC is currently a co-sponsor of the Roadmap to Freedom resolution. The resolution calls on the Federal Government to develop and implement a Roadmap to Freedom “in order to overhaul the outdated immigration system in the United States that has gone without significant reform for decades, and to relieve the great human impact an unjust system bears on communities around the country.”

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

9 Films, Docs and Series About Latinas to Watch Before Women’s History Month Comes to an End

Fierce

9 Films, Docs and Series About Latinas to Watch Before Women’s History Month Comes to an End

Whether you want to celebrate Women’s History Month with a movie night or appreciate media about powerful mujeres year-round, you’re probably looking for a few films, documentaries or TV series to add to your streaming queue right now. Regrettably (and shamefully), most of the lists cropping on entertainment news sites don’t feature projects made for, by or about Latinas. With that in mind, we’ve put together some titles centering narratives about Latina trailblazers and heroines from Latin American and U.S. history. So clear your weekend cal and purchase all of your fave movie theater snacks, because you can watch (most of) these films, documentaries and series right from your computer screen.

1. Dolores

If you’re looking for documentaries about Latina heroines, start with Dolores, the 2017 film about the life and activism of Chicana labor union activist Dolores Huerta. The doc, executive produced by Carlos Santana and Benjamin Bratt, and directed by Bratt’s brother, Peter, delves into how the 90-year-old co-founded the National Farm Workers Association (later named the United Farm Workers), her famous “Sí se puede” rallying cry and her role in the women’s rights movement. Including interviews with Angela Davis, Gloria Steinem, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and more, Dolores celebrates the history and ongoing activism of one of the country’s most critical civil rights leaders. Watch Dolores on Amazon Prime.

2. Isabel: The Intimate Story Of Isabel Allende

Isabel: The Intimate Story Of Isabel Allende, a three-part docuseries about the famed Chilean author and feminist, is one of the most exciting new drops. The HBO Max series, directed by Rodrigo Bazaes, premiered on March 12, just in time for Women’s History Month. Like all good biopics, Isabel reveals the person behind the icon, portraying Allende’s path from a young woman fighting her way into a male-dominated industry to the most-read Spanish-language author of all time. As the niece of assassinated Chilean President Salvador Allende, the series also gets political, bringing light to her life under the regime of General Augusto Pinochet as well as her own feminist activism. Watch Isabel on HBO Max.

3. Knock Down the House

Knock Down the House portrays the political rise of a Latina icon in the making: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. While the 2019 documentary by Rachel Lears revolves around the 2018 congressional primary campaigns of four progressive women, Ocasio-Cortez, Amy Vilela, Cori Bush and Paula Jean Swearengin, the Puerto Rican now-congresswoman is the only one who wins her race (though Bush won in the next election cycle) and thus much of the film focuses on her story. A first-time candidate with a passion for social justice, a degree in international relations and economics, and a job in bartending, the doc shows how a regular, degular, shmegular girl from the Bronx unseated one of the most powerful Democrats in Congress with a progressive platform and a focus on community. Watch Knock Down the House on Netflix.

4. Lorena: Light-Footed Woman

In 2017, María Lorena Ramírez’s name made international headlines when the young woman defeated 500 other runners from 12 different countries at the Ultra Trail Cerro Rojo in Puebla, Mexico. Ramírez didn’t just stand out because of her speed but also because she ran without professional gear. Instead, she donned the traditional clothes of the Tarahumara, Indigenous people in Chihuahua, Mexico, including a floral skirt and a pair of huaraches. Capturing the world’s attention, Ramírez became the focus of the 2019 documentary Lorena: Light-Footed Woman, which was directed by Juan Carlos Rulfo. The short doc beautifully tells the tale of a young woman’s athletic training in the mountains where she grew up to become a celebrated long-distance runner while staying true to her culture and traditions. Lorena: Light-Footed Woman is streaming on Netflix.

5. Berta Didn’t Die, She Multiplied!

In Honduras, the most dangerous country in the world for land defenders, Berta Cáceres’ life was taken because of her commitment to the environmental justice struggle. Back in the Central American country, Berta’s assassination hasn’t been forgotten and neither has her fight. The 2017 short doc Berta Didn’t Die, She Multiplied!, directed by Sam Vinal, shows how her work lives on among Indigenous Lenca and Afro-Indigenous Garifuna people of Honduras, who continue to struggle against capitalism, patriarchy, racism and homophobia, for our land and our water. Watch Berta Didn’t Die, She Multiplied! on Vimeo.

6. Celia

Celia reveals the story of one of the most powerful voices and greatest icons of Latin music, Afro-Cubana salsera Celia Cruz. The Spanish-language novela, produced by Fox Telecolombia for RCN Televisión and Telemundo, starts at the beginning, when Cruz was an aspiring singer in Havana, and takes viewers through to her time joining La Sonora Matancera, leaving her homeland with her would-be husband Pedro Knight and gaining massive superstardom as the “Queen of Salsa.” Watch Celia on AppleTV+.

7. Beauties of the Night

In the first half of the 20th century, showgirls dominated the entertainment scene in Latin America. Their glamorous looks and luxe performances were enjoyed by audiences of all ages and genders. But around the 1970s, as VHS pornos took off, these scantily clad talents started to lose work and, as a result, their lucrative incomes. Oftentimes, these women came from low-income backgrounds and didn’t have a formal education, forcing many of the vedettes to also feel like they’ve lost their sense of purpose and impelling some to take on work they didn’t feel good about in order to stay afloat in the industry. In Beauties of the Night, directed by María José Cuevas, we see some of Mexico and South America’s leading showgirls, Olga Breeskin, Lyn May, Rossy Mendoza, Wanda Seux and Princesa Yamal, and how their lives transformed as the work they were once famous for lost its reverence. Watch Beauties of the Night on Netflix.

8. Frida

The 2002 biographical drama film Frida shares the professional and private life of one of the most famous woman artists of all time, Frida Kahlo. Directed by Julie Taymor and starring Salma Hayek, the Academy Award-nominated film touches on many aspects of the late Mexican artist and feminist’s life, from her life-altering accident in 1922 and her tumultuous relationship with muralist Diego Rivera to her bisexual identity, political affiliations and, of course, her time-defying art and self portraits. Watch Frida on Amazon Prime.

9. Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It


With a career spanning 70 years, Rita Moreno is one of the most famous and beloved actresses of all time. The only Latina to have won all four major annual U.S. entertainment awards, an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony, her own life is certainly worthy of a film; and in 2021, director Mariem Pérez Riera gave the Puerto Rican star what she deserves with Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It. The documentary, which premiered at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival on January 29, 2021, features interviews with Moreno, Eva Longoria, Gloria Estefan, Normal Lear, Whoopi Goldberg and more. More than just a celebration of all the barriers Moreno broke, the film also delves into her personal life, including the racism she endured on her road to stardom, the sexual violence she experienced in Hollywood, her struggle with mental health and suicidal ideation and her fight for multidimensional roles for people of color. While Rita Moreno: Just A Girl Who Decided To Go For It isn’t streaming yet, it is set to air on PBS’ American Masters later this year.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com