Things That Matter

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Will Give A Spanish Keynote Speech on The West Coast In Support Of Bernie Sanders

There’s a lot going on right. Christmas is coming up, then New Year’s after that. The House Democrats voted to impeach the President of the United States, so, yes, we’re a bit stressed. But there’s still a presidential campaign going on and not the holidays or the impeachment will put that on hold. That means lawmakers will continue to hit the streets and campaign for the candidate they support. 

As you may know, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is supporting Sen. Bernie Sanders for president in 2020. On Sunday, she will be the keynote speaker at a town hall for Sen. Sanders, and she will be speaking in Spanish.

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This is a big deal, and not just because Rep. Ocasio-Cortez will be campaigning for Sen. Sanders trying to reach Latino voters, but also because she has admitted in the past that her Spanish isn’t very good. 

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez tweeted, “I’m nervous for this all-Spanish town hall, but I also know that the only way I’m going to improve my Spanish is by practicing it!” She also tweeted in Spanish, “Nevada: Únete a nosotros este Domingo para un… town hall(?) en Español, y probablemente con un poquito de “spanglish” también.”

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez has hit the campaign trail for Sen. Sanders before, and aside from her speech in Las Vegas, she will also be in Los Angeles. 

This weekend’s town hall events on the West Coast will be aimed at reaching Latino voters.

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According to NBC News, “the Democratic Party has been holding trainings in Spanish to increase Latino participation in the state’s Feb. 22 caucus. Latino voters in the state helped usher in a Democratic candidate and senator.”

“When we started last year, it was 12 weeks before the general election,” Cynthia Jasso-Rotunno, DNC Latino political director, told NBC News.  Jasso-Rotunno was speaking about a program called Mujeres Mobilize. “We’re starting now … so when one of the Democratic candidates becomes the nominee, they plop into a structure already there.”

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez has been very open about the fact that her Spanish isn’t very good, but that’s okay, girl!

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In September, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez appeared on the Spanish-language show, Univision Nueva York to explain her Green New Deal initiative, and had to speak in Spanish. So how did she do? She speaks Spanish very well. It’s not perfect, but most first-generation and second-generation Latinos don’t speak Spanish often, so we’re pretty impressed by her wordage. In that particular segment. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez didn’t use any Spanglish, which is tough to do. 

“I’m really proud of this interview!” Rep. Ocasio-Cortez said about her Spanish a couple of months ago. “Growing up, Spanish was my first language – but like many 1st generation Latinx Americans, I have to continuously work at it & improve. It’s not perfect, but the only way we improve our language skills is through public practice. #Palante

If that’s what her Spanish sounded like just a couple of months ago, we’re certain she’s been practicing and will sound even better this weekend.

Credit: @univisionnuevayork / Twitter

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez actually represents a lot of us, and we have proof. Pew Research released a study last year that showed that most Latino parents speak Spanish at home to their kids, but the longer they’ve been in the country, the less Spanish they end up speaking. 

“Overall, 85 percent of Latino parents say they speak Spanish to their children, according to the Center’s 2015 National Survey of Latinos. Among immigrant parents, nearly all (97 percent) say they do this. But the share drops to 71 percent among U.S.-born second-generation Latino parents (those with at least one immigrant parent). And the share falls to just 49 percent among third or higher generation Latino parents – those born in the U.S. to U.S.-born parents.”

If Rep. Ocasio-Cortez wants to reach older Latinos on the West Coast and encourage them to vote for Sen. Sanders, it’s very smart of her to do her keynote speech in Spanish.

Credit: @belensisaw / Twitter

Most young supporters of Rep. Ocasio-Cortez already know the power that she bestows on social media and in Washington, so she doesn’t have to prove much to them. But when it comes to the older Latino population, and there are millions of them on the West Coast ready to vote, they mostly speak Spanish. 

We’re rooting for you, AOC! Si se puede!

READ: A Police Department In South Carolina Is In Hot Water After Sending Out A Tweet About AOC

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