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Woman Category: Politics & Leaders
Democratic Socialist politician, the youngest woman ever to serve in the United States Congress.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was born in the Bronx borough of NYC to a Puerto Rican family. Her political tendencies were recognized from a young age, and in high school, she participated in the National Hispanic Institute’s Lorenzo de Zavala Youth Legislative Session and later served as its Secretary of State. She attended Boston University, graduating cum laude with a BA degree in international relations and economics. While studying in college, she was an intern in Senator Ted Kennedy’s section of foreign affairs and immigration issues. As the only Spanish speaker in the office, she was the one to assist the families who were separated by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
After college, Ocasio-Cortez returned to the Bronx and worked at the nonprofit National Hispanic Institute, as well as a community organizer, a waitress, and a bartender, helping her mother with fighting a Foreclosure on their home. In 2016, she was a volunteered organizer at Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign. She became active with the Dakota Access Pipeline protests, traveling across the country speaking to the communities that have been affected by the change of drinking water in the area. The encounter with the local activists inspired her to work for her community. Not long after, she received a call from Brand New Congress, recruiting her as a progressive candidate for the congressional district election.
In April 2018, still working as a waitress, Ocasio-Cortez launched her primary campaign for NYC’s 14th congressional district election – the first person in 14 years to challenge Joe Crowley’s seat in US congress. Under the slogan “The Courage to Change,” she organized an all-volunteer grassroots campaign and did not take corporate donations. With a strong social media presence, she defeated her opponent by almost 15%, becoming the youngest woman ever to serve in the US Congress.t
Arriving at the House of Representatives with millions of followers on social media, Ocasio-Cortez was appointed by her colleagues to give them social media lessons. In congress, she runs on a progressive platform. She is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America and a loud advocate for social policies, such as abolishing ICE, universal healthcare, gun control, cancellation of student debt, tuition-free public college and trade school, criminal justice reform, and ending the privatization of prisons. She is also promoting climate policies, and together with Senator Ed Markey, she introduced the “Green New Deal” – a plan to switch to renewable energy sources for the entire country to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
“Change takes courage.”
“Change takes courage.”
More Interesting Anecdotes:
- She is descended from Sephardic Jews who fled Spain during the Spanish Inquisition.
- During high school and college, she went by the name of “Sandy” but now known to all AOC.
- When she was 18, the asteroid 23238 Ocasio-Cortez was named after her to recognize of her second-place win in the 2007 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.
- She established the Brook Avenue Press – a publishing firm for books that portrayed the Bronx positively.
- In the General election, she was endorsed by both Barack Obama and Bernie Sanders.
- According to Merriam-Webster, after she won the Primary election elections, the word “socialism” spiked by 1,500%.
- On the first day of congressional orientation, she participated in a climate change protest outside the office of Nancy Pelosi.
- A video of her first speech in Congress was C-SPAN’s most-watched Twitter video by a member of the House of Representatives.
- She was a guest judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race.
- She achieved a League of Legends rank of Silver III.
More About Her Legacy
* National Hispanic Institute Person of the Year by Ernesto Nieto (2017)
* Adelle Foley Award (2019)
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One of Her Landmarks
AOC official photo from 2018. Photo credit - Wikipedia