It has been just over a year since Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez became the youngest woman ever elected to Congress in the United States. She was sworn in on January 3rd 2019. Over the last year I have been continually inspired by her courage, compassion, and integrity. If she is already this formidable at age 29, I can only imagine how much stronger she will become with more time and experience.
Her values align with my own. I think it’s refreshing to see someone in power who wants everyone to have the same opportunities. I admire how articulate and unwavering AOC is in each of the following videos, addressing issues which are important in America and beyond:
Campaign Finance Laws
Immigration and ICE
The fact that AOC’s campaign was a grassroots success story is another cause for celebration. In the second video she breaks down in simple terms how flawed the current campaign finance laws are. She also points out that the president is not held to the same ethical standards as everyone else on that committee.
In the videos on climate change and immigration, AOC is clearly emotional. So often women in power are discouraged from such displays and must keep their feelings in check. Personally I am inspired by leaders who are intelligent but also warmhearted (regardless of their gender).
Another reason I am inspired by AOC is because she came from a working class family and rose to power despite financial setbacks. Her mother was a domestic worker. AOC witnessed firsthand the struggles of a hard working woman who lacked benefits. Domestic workers don’t get minimum wage, overtime pay or compensations if injured on the job. Nor do they receive unemployment benefits if fired. Read more here. According to the Domestic Workers’ Twitter account, “Domestic workers were written out of landmark labor laws largely because they were Black women. Well, Black and Brown women created, organized, and introduced our own #DomesticWorkersBillofRights to protect all workers.” It is inspiring to see that the Domestic Worker Bill of Rights has been sponsored by WOC, and that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has advocated for this legislation with her fellow congresswomen.
She has fearlessly used her voice for the people, despite intense criticism from the right. Last summer AOC did not back down in the face of overt racism, when the president attacked four Democratic congresswomen of color, telling them to “leave the US” (and other insulting remarks). During her interview with Gayle King, AOC stated:
I think America has always been a story and America has always been about the triumph of people who fight for everyone versus those who want to preserve rights for just a select few, and there is no bottom to the barrel of vitriol that will be used and weaponized to stifle those who want to advance rights for all people in the United States.AOC quote from CBS This Morning interview.
This is the gift that AOC has given me: hope for the future. I have hope that the younger generations will turn things around. My second born son turns 18 before the next election. As a dual citizen he should be entitled to vote via absentee ballot like I do. I am proud to share AOC’s message with my children and show them that not all politicians are corrupt. I want them to engage in the democratic process rather than resign to cynicism and despair. In 2020 I intend to cast my vote for the most progressive candidate. Hope alone isn’t enough; action is required.
Today’s post was inspired by a #Manifest20 prompt. Who inspired you in 2019? Why? What gifts did they give you? How will you carry these forward in 2020
Further Reading: Meet Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Photo by Matteo Paganelli