“If they want to make an example out of me, I will gladly be one. Hopefully we can be an example of dedication, courage, and persistence under fire. I also hope to be an example of not tolerating nonsense, too.” -Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Politician Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was born in The Bronx, New York on October 13, 1989. Her mother was born and raised in Puerto Rico and worked as a domestic worker. Her father was a second-generation Bronxite who owned a small business and worked as an architect. Soon after her birth, her parents moved the family to a town about 30 minutes away called Yorktown Heights; this location had better educational opportunities for Ocasio-Cortez and her brother. During her childhood, she frequently visited family and friends in The Bronx and could see the drastic differences between school systems. From a young age, she saw that there was a problem.
Ocasio-Cortez graduated from high school in 2007 with many major academic achievements. She then attended Boston University. During her sophomore year, her father died unexpectedly, forcing her mother to take on another job to pay for his leftover medical bills and to keep the house from foreclosure. Ocasio-Cortez graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and International Relations. However, Ocasio-Cortez was now swimming in tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt. Soon after her graduation, she gained the opportunity to intern with late Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy. She often worked in communications with I.C.E (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) since she was the only Spanish speaker in the office. In 2011, Ocasio-Cortez returned to The Bronx and worked as the Educational Director for the National Hispanic Institute, “the founder of Brook Avenue Press, a now defunct publishing press created to share positive stories about the Bronx,” an organizer for Bernie Sanders’s 2016 campaign for U.S. President, and a waitress and bartender.
In 2018, Ocasio-Cortez felt inspired to campaign for a place in congress. Miraculously, she beat incumbent Joe Crowley with 10 times less of his campaign budget. She ran from donations, volunteers, and organizations that supported her. Ocasio-Cortez still does not accept contributions from large corporations.
After being sworn in in January 2019, AOC became the youngest woman and youngest latina to serve in Congress as a U.S. Representative for New York’s 14th District. She was also a part of the Democratic Socialists of America “which believes ‘in a moral, wealthy America, no person should be too poor to live.’” Her first piece of legislation was the Green New Deal which outlined a “10-year national economic plan that fights climate change, creates jobs to repair U.S. infrastructure, and fights social justice issues negatively impacting the country, such as economic inequality.” In her time as Congresswoman, Ocasio-Cortez has contributed to over 100 pieces of legislation through the House of Representatives, 15 of which were put into law. Despite being discriminated against in Congress for being a woman and being Latina, she continues to fight. Basically, she doesn’t take crap from the old white guys.
I personally look up to AOC as feminist icon. She has inspired me in many ways, and I strive to be more like her. Her accomplishments give me hope that women’s voices matter, and we do have a chance to change lives. Even if your political views do not align, no one can deny that she is not hard-working and compassionate.
"You don't have to be perfect, but you do have to be 100% committed." - Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
About Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez