Things That Matter

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

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old Democratic socialist and Queens native, unseated 10-term incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley on June 26 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

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AOC Is Teaming Up With Other Congresswomen To Give Domestic Workers Equal Employee Rights And We Are Here For This

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AOC Is Teaming Up With Other Congresswomen To Give Domestic Workers Equal Employee Rights And We Are Here For This

@domesticworkers / Twitter

After over a decade of lobbying, The National Domestic Workers Alliance’s (NDWA) work is on the verge of paying off. This week, Representative Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) introduced legislation that would establish the first-ever National Domestic Workers Bill of Rights. 

The bill would effectively include domestic workers as worthy of the same rights as other American workers–including “paid overtime, safe and healthy working conditions, meal and rest breaks, earned sick time, and freedom for workplace harassment,” according to NDWA.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal is leading the charge to ensure this bill is passed into law.

Credit: @RepJayapal / Twitter

“Did you know most domestic workers are not covered by federal anti-discrimination and sexual harassment laws? Well we’re pushing back to change that,” tweets Rep. Jayapal. “My #DomesticWorkersBillofRights will give domestic workers the protections they deserve!”

The bill would grant basic worker’s rights to 2.5 million people in the U.S.

Credit: @domesticworkers / Twitter

Of those 2.5 million people, 91 percent are women, mostly women of color. Given that domestic workers aren’t required to be paid even minimum wage, and that their work doesn’t include benefits like health insurance, it’s important to make sure every worker earns a living wage. According to NDWA, 70 percent of domestic workers are paid less than $13 an hour.

The workers who do the heavy lifting in the shadows of our economy may finally be recognized as worthy of rights.

Credit: @domesticworkers / Twitter

NDWA has worked hard over the years to make it easier for domestic workers (home care workers, nannies and house cleaners). They even created a web app that would allow clients to contribute to a PTO and benefit fund for domestic workers. This bill would ensure that the government is advocating for every worker, so that domestic workers don’t have to fight so hard to advocate for themselves.

Members of the group broke off to meet with their representative.

Credit: @domesticworkers / Twitter

“We had a powerful meeting with @timkaine where our members in Virginia shared stories about abuse and exploitation in the workplace,” the organization tweeted. “Every single worker deserves to work safely and with dignity. Onward to a National #DomesticWorkersBillOfRights!”

The group met with AOC, who opened up about how the bill would help “little girls like [her].”

Credit: @domesticworkers / Twitter

“My mom was a domestic worker,” she tells the group. “As a child I grew up reading books on the staircases of other people’s homes, and doing homework on other people’s dinner tables, because my mom was pursuing domestic work so that I could go on field trips and have a future.”

For AOC, this bill is about reparations for a group of people who often go unseen in this world.

Credit: @domesticworkers / Twitter

She praised the group for their advocacy, saying, “When you all are fighting for this, you’re fighting for little girls like me. You’re putting a shirt on a little girl like me’s back. I can’t tell you the reparations it has to see people who are used to being unseen and that’s what this bill does.”

The group also live-tweeted a conversation between several domestic workers and Rep. Jayapal.

Credit: @domesticworkers / Twitter

The stories were shocking. A nanny named Thaty shared her experience, saying that “being a nanny takes so much hard work. I don’t know many people who can handle caring for 5 kids under 5 years old! But our work is still considered unskilled. We need to bring our work out of the shadows — so everyone can know what we do and how hard we work.”

Jayapal touched on something deeper than granting legal rights–this issue is about overdue respect.

Credit: @domesticworkers / Twitter

So many families rely on domestic workers to come home to a clean home, safe and cared-for children, and more. They’re often not seen as employees but rather, “the help.”

But “The Help” encounter medical issues and injuries while on the job, without any legal protections.

Credit: @domesticworkers / Twitter

Domestic workers are not included in federal protections for workers injured while on the job. So when Sylvia shared that she never fully recovered from a bad fall on the job, and though it impedes her ability to continue to work, she just has to grimace through it.

That same Sylvia is an inspiration. She told Rep. Jayapal that her experience “meeting workers who felt too vulnerable at work to raise their own voices forced me to be brave enough to raise my own voice, for me and for them. That’s why I’m part of the National Domestic Workers Alliance.”

We’re rooting for you!

Credit: @domesticworkers / Twitter

As Latinos, so many of our own moms, tías or abuelas have driven this industry that, frankly, serves as the backbone to our economy. They offer support to middle and upper-class families who have money but don’t have time, and their work supports our families. Time to give some respect.

The Best Part Of Trump’s Tyranical Rant Over The Weekend Was AOC And The Squads Salvaje Clap Back

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The Best Part Of Trump’s Tyranical Rant Over The Weekend Was AOC And The Squads Salvaje Clap Back

Zach Gibson / Stringer / Getty Images

By now, you’ve probably already seen the racist temper tantrum that Donald Trump unleashed over the weekend through a series of tweets the morning of July 14th. Of course, and sadly, it’s no longer that much of a surprise when the commander-in-chief of our country strays away from the norm and goes on a Twitter ramble and attacks a person or says something racist. This time, however, he proved he messed with the wrong people.

Because, in his latest bigoted explosion, the president targeted Congressional women of color.

In a series of tweets, the commander-in-chief accused what he called “‘Progressive’ Democrat congresswomen” of being from foreign countries with governments full of corruption.

“Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came… you can’t leave fast enough.”

The level of xenophobia and incompetence in these tweets is really mind-boggling. Democrats and progressives were quick to denounce the bigoted words of the president but —  unsurprisingly — there was no such outrage from the far-right. 

The presidents tweets were aimed at Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as well as her fellow congresswomen Rep. Ilhan Omar, Rep. Ayanna Pressley and Rep. Rashida Tlaib — also known as “The Squad.” It’s from the strong women that we have seen the most powerful responses to the president’s words.

Representative Ocasio-Cortez didn’t hold back in her assessment of Trump and his racist agenda.

Twitter / @aoc

First, AOC pointed out that the country she is from and the country she serves is, in fact, America — the same country our president represents. She then went on to say that Trump was absolutely right, but not in the way he thinks. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez called out the inhuman corruption at our nation’s southern border — corruption that is government sanctioned. Her observation pinned responsibility of this tragedy on Trump and the American government; the government she and fellow congresswomen are trying to hold accountable. 

Representative Ocasio-Cortez went on to point out that she and The Squad were all elected by an America the Trump administration doesn’t want to recognize. 

Twitter / @aoc

Unlike the current American president, these women were elected by popular vote. As such, they pledged to represent ALL citizens in their districts. The Trump administration has shown time and time again that they only care about the wealthy elite and the white conservatives who’s numbers keep them in power. As the representative observed, the president relies on the America that can be manipulated by hate-mongering, not the America that is pushing for inclusion and representation. 

She summed up her clap back by exposing the president for the angry, insecure man he is. 

Twitter / @aoc

The president uses threats and intimidation to manipulate anyone who he sees as a problem. Yet, those techniques have proven ineffective against AOC and The Squad. Together, they have called out the Trump administration for their crimes and deceit. They aren’t afraid of the persona that the president tries to push. In conclusion, she said he can just stay mad about it. We can definitely see the imaginary shrug emoji at the end of this statement. 

AOC wasn’t the only one to reply to the president’s racist tweets; Representative Ilhan Omar had something to say as well. 

Twitter / @IlhanMn

The congresswoman from Minneapolis didn’t hold back when she called the president the “worst, most corrupt and inept president we have ever seen.” She also clearly linked his statements and actions to his approval of White Nationalism. The Trump administration has been notoriously lax about Neo-Nazi and White Nationalist actions in our country and his xenophobic rhetoric continues to be examples of this policy. In conclusion, Rep. Omar quoted Robert Kennedy in saying the only way to oppose the intolerant is with the freedom of diversity. 

Representative Ayanna Pressley kept her response short, vicious and accurate. 

Twitter / @AyannaPressley

The Massachusetts representative outright declared that the president’s words were “what racism looks like.” She responded that the defiance and change that she and The Squad represent are what democracy is made of. Representative Pressley ended her response by writing that the only place she and the fellow congresswomen are going is back to DC to fight for marginalized communities. 

Representative Rashida Tlaib took Trumps words as a challenge. 

Twitter / @RashidaTlaib

Michigan’s Rep. Rashida Tlaib wasn’t pulling any punches in her response. Right off the bat, the congresswoman called Trump a “lawless & complete failure of a President” and declared that he needed to be impeached for his crimes. She went on to tweet that she is proud of her Palestinian roots and her district. Representative Tlaib concluded that if the president continued on his attacks, it would only backfire and encourage the representative to work even harder.

In response to their diafiance, the president went on another Twitter rant full of the same old racism. We’ll be cheering The Squad on and watch to see how this ongoing conflict unfolds. These congresswomen are not backing down and we’re glad to have them in Washington DC to fight for us. When our representation looks like we do as a nation, legislation is passed for the greater good, not for the good of the select few. That’s how it should be. 

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