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

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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Says She Faced Close Encounter And Feared For Her Life

Things That Matter

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Says She Faced Close Encounter And Feared For Her Life

aoc / Instagram

We are getting a better look into what happened at the U.S. Capitol when Trump supporters stormed the building. There have been stories of politicians with military history saving lives and horrific revelations. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez recently let the world know that she had a moment when she feared for her life.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is speaking out after the violent day at the Capitol building.

In an hour-long Instagram Live video, Rep. AOC spoke frankly about what happened while far-right Trump supporters stormed the building. The unruly mob turned a usually ceremonious and boring function of Congress, certifying the electoral votes, into one of the darkest days for our democracy. For Rep. AOC, it was almost the end of her life.

“As for myself, I had a pretty traumatizing event happen to me. I do not know if I can even disclose the full details of that event due to security concerns,” she said in her Instagram Live while recounting the insurrection of Jan. 6. “I can tell you that I had a very close encounter where I thought I was going to die and you have all of those thoughts where, you know, at the end of your life, and all of these thoughts come rushing to you. That’s what happened to a lot of us on Wednesday. I did not think, I did not know if I was going to make it to the end of that day alive. Not just in a general sense but also in a very, very specific sense.”

Rep. AOC also used her Instagram Live to talk about the traitorous acts she witnessed.

At the beginning of the video, Rep. AOC highlights the Republicans who helped create the dangerous insurrection. She did not hold back on naming some of the people she holds responsible for inciting the mob through rhetoric and political ambition.

“Wednesday, as you know, the president, frankly assisted by members of Congress, incited an attack on the United States Capitol,” Rep. AOC says in the video. “This is known as an act of insurrection, an act of sedition. Frankly, he is a traitor to our country, a traitor to the United States and I don’t think there’s another way you can put it. I don’t think there’s another way to put, there’s no other way to put it.”

She continued adding: “If you are Senator Ted Cruz or Senator Josh Hawley, and frankly if you are many members of Congress, you cast that vote not out of genuine belief, but you cast it out of political ambition. That is what they did. They incited an attack on the Capitol and many many many members of Congress were almost murdered. Many Congressional staffers were almost killed. Many children, children of members of Congress, were there. Children.”

Rep. AOC is not the only member of Congress sounding the alarm about colleagues making this happen.

Rep. Mikie Sherrill, D-N.J., came forward to tell people about how she saw Republican members of Congress allegedly working with the rioters.

“We can’t have a democracy if members of Congress are actively helping the president overturn the elections results,” Rep. Sherrill said during a live webcast Tuesday. “And so not only do I intend to see that the president is removed and never runs for office again and doesn’t have access to classified material, I also intend to see that those members of Congress who abetted him; those members of Congress who had groups coming through the Capitol that I saw on Jan. 5 — a reconnaissance for the next day; those members of Congress that incited this violent crowd; those members of Congress that attempted to help our president undermine our democracy; I’m going to see they are held accountable, and if necessary, ensure that they don’t serve in Congress.”

Rep. Ayanna Pressley’s chief of staff reported her own terrifying moment.

Sarah Groh told Boston Globe that she and her husband were in Rep. Pressley’s office and barricaded the door with furniture. That was when she tried to use the panic buttons for help, which she had done before. Despite never changing offices, Groh said that all of the panic buttons were gone.

READ: Ted Cruz Among Senators Facing Backlash And Calls To Resign After Mob Breaches US Capitol

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12 Latinas Who Absolutely Crushed It In 2020

Fierce

12 Latinas Who Absolutely Crushed It In 2020

Photos via Getty Images

2020 has been a helluva year. Not only did the entire globe suffer through the coronavirus pandemic, but Americans had to deal with an endless campaign, a nail-biting election, and its exasperating aftermath.

But throughout this grueling year, women (as usual) stepped up to the plate. In 2020, we were once again reminded how strong and resilient Latinas are. Despite its challenges, 2020 was a year of that Latinas proved they are innovators, activists, and artists.

Because of this, FIERCE by mitú has compiled a list of 12 Latinas who absolutely crushed 2020. Take a look at our picks below!

1. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Credit: Getty Images

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez continued to crush the political game this year. Not only was she reelected to office, but she expertly fundraised for the Democratic party and started much-needed conversations. Ocasio-Cortez may be controversial, but she’s also powerful.

2. Vanessa Bryant

Credit: Getty Images

Vanessa Bryant went through a year that is many people’s worst nightmare. But throughout her personal tragedy, Bryant exhibited an endless amount of strength and grace. She truly is an inspiration to women everywhere.

3. Nanette Cocero

via LinkedIn

Nanette Cocero may not be a household name (yet), but she is shaping up to be one of the most powerful Latinas in the world. This Puerto-Rican-born jefa is the Global President of Pfizer Vaccines. That means she’s in charge of the development and delivery of vaccines throughout the world. Cocero had her work cut out for her in 2020, and sis delivered.

4. Jennifer Lopez

Credit: Getty Images

Jennifer Lopez is 51-years-old and she continues to turn everything she touches into gold. Not only did she perform at the Super Bowl’s halftime show this year (remember that?), but she also launched a much-anticipated skincare line.

5. Elizabeth Acevedo

Credit: acevedowrites/Instagram

Award-winning Dominicana author Elizabeth Acevedo published her first Young Adult novel, Clap When You Land, that tells the story of two half-sisters who discover they have the same father after he tragically dies in a plane crash. Recently, outlets reported that Clap When You Land will be adapted into a TV series. So it’s safe to say that Acevedo is having a good year.

6. Anya Taylor Joy

Credit: Getty Images

Even in the middle of a pandemic, when most movie stars have had a tough year, Argentinian actress Anya Taylor Joy managed to have a breakthrough year. Not only did she star in the streaming phenomenon of the year, The Queens Gambit, but she headlined a movie adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma in February.

7. Shakira

Credit: shakira/Instagram

2020 was a fantastic year for Shakira. The Colombian singer started off the year by headlining the Super Bowl with JLo and she ended it by being the most-Googled artist of the year. Oh, and she also took the time to slam the Trump Administration for its “unimaginably cruel immigration policies” of separating children from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border.

8. Cardi B

Credit: Getty Images

Love her or hate her, Cardi B undoubtedly had a good year. Not only did the Cardi released the multi-platinum hit single “W.A.P.”, but she used her platform to educate her fans about the 2020 presidential election. She was also voted Billboard’s Woman of the Year.

9. Annie Segarra

Credit: annieelainey/Instagram

For years accessibility activist Annie Segarra has used her large platform (20,000 YouTube subscribers and 25,000 Twitter followers) to advocate for rights for disabled people, and in 2020 she had her work cut out for her. This year, Segarra tirelessly spoke up on behalf of disabled people who are being disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

10. Victoria Volkova

Credit: vicovolkov/Instagram

Victoria Volkova made headlines this year when she became the first trans model on cover of Playboy Mexico. She is also an outspoken advocate for trans and queer rights. She wrote a lovely tribute on her Instagram page in which she expressed hope that her cover would spark a conversation about the “different ways of being a woman.”

11. Sara Mora

Credit: misssaramora/Instagram

Back in 2017, Sara Mora publicly shared that she was undocumented, and her life snowballed ever since. This year, the Costa-Rican born immigrants rights activist used her platform and her non-profit, Population Mic, to spotlight civil rights issues like voter suppression and the migrant crisis.

12. Julie Chávez Rodriguez

Photo: Public Domain

You may know Julie Chávez Rodriguez as the granddaughter of César Chávez, but she also has her own claim to fame. The Biden administration just named her director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. We can’t wait to see this powerful Latina in the White House.

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