It was late July when Democrat congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez met Florida Republican Representative Ted Yoho on the steps of the U.S. Capitol.
Mr. Yoho was enraged.
AOC may have delivered one of the most powerful recent speeches during which he addressed controversial issues such as crime and poverty.
As the two were standing on the steps of the U.S. Capitol, Mr. Yoho called her ‘disgusting’ and ‘crazy.’ Reports even indicated that he used profanity. Texas Republican Congressman Roger Williams stumbled in without batting an eye. She told Mr. Yoho he was being rude and proceeded to vote inside the Capitol. As the two parted their ways, Mr. Yoho offended her again.
It took one reporter witnessing the conversation for the world to acknowledge the amount of racism and hatred happening behind closed doors in politics.
The worst part?
It wasn’t even the first time Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) has been treated this way.
The early start of a bright future
In her biography ‘AOC: The Fearless Rise and Powerful Resonance of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’ written by Lynda Lopez, the now youngest woman in Congress recalls a rough start in childhood.
Born and raised in The Bronx, New York City, she has always felt that her zip code would determine her future – and so had her parents. With major efforts, part of her family managed to move to Yorktown where she noticed, for the very first time, the incredible difference in opportunities between the two zip codes. It was worth it.
The now-congresswoman attended Boston University and obtained several degrees in Economics and International Relations. During this time, she worked in office for late Senator Ted Kennedy – this was her first contact with the world of politics. It was also the first time she understood the deep impact of ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), the widely debated family separation policy adopted by the Trump administration.
This firsthand view of a heartbreaking situation was Alexandria’s fuel to organize Latinx youth in the Bronx, which later extended across the United States. Shortly afterwards, she started working as an Educational Director with the National Hispanic Institute where she helped Americans and undocumented youth in college readiness and community leadership.
Serving people, a lifetime passion
Alexandria had never reportedly dreamed of working in politics, yet she’s always loved ‘serving people.’ When her father tragically passed away in 2008, she worked extra shifts as a bartender and waitress to support fer family as they had to sell their Westchester home. This difficult time further deepened her commitment to helping the working-class population.
Later on, in 2016, Ocasio-Cortez started volunteering for Bernie Sanders in her home neighborhood of the Bronx. This opportunity allowed her to improve electoral organizing and activism skills, as she was going all across the country.
As soon as she returned to New York’s 14th Congressional District, she laid the foundation of her own campaign for Congress.
Ever since her swearing-in to Congress (Jan. 2019), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stayed equally committed to improving working-class people’s situation. She stands out by addressing many controversial issues and advocating for economic, environmental, social and racial justice.
What does her future have in store?
When Bernie Sanders recalls his campaign with Alexandria, the first thing that comes to mind is her powerful mix of optimism, knowledge and kindness.
“There are some politicians who are very good on policy, and there are some politicians who are good communicators, and there are some politicians that have a way about them that relates very well to ordinary people. Alexandria has all three of those characteristics.” – Bernie Sanders
Many political experts as well as the media compare her enthusiasm to Obama’s when he first got involved in politics.
But will her future have the same outcome as the former U.S. President’s?
For now, she doesn’t think so. In response to a potential candidacy in the 2028 Presidential elections (when she will be 35 years old), she replied that she’d rather be Bernie Sanders than ever running for president.
In fact, right now she doesn’t even know whether she will hold on to a spot in the White House at all. Alexandria is very cautious about aspiring for a higher position; for her, titles don’t make that much of a difference. What matters instead is whether she would be more effective in a certain position than she is at the moment.
The potential hero of a generation
Alexandria’s late-July public speech regarding the Mr. Yoho incident became a trademark of her career and aspirations. At one point, she even mentioned that Donald Trump once told her to ‘go home to another country’ – and that’s not the only remark considered rude by many. Over the past few years, AOC also received several life threats, yet nothing seems to stop her.
Many Americans claimed that this is the first time they’ve been represented by their Congress while others applauded her bravery for speaking out on how women are often treated in various environments.
You can watch the speech right here:
We still don’t know how Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s future will look like. For now, though, she seems to be the voice of a generation that could restore faith among the working-class American population.