The Democrat was seen on the ground, joining the Black Lives Matter movement alongside protestors - as a real leader should.
House of Representatives Squad member Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was spotted putting her words into action when she distributed masks to demonstrators at a Black Lives Matter protest in Queens, New York. The Democrat has been a vocal supporter of the movement and has initiated and backed legislative action to correct systemic inequalities ever since she assumed her position on Capitol Hill. While fellow elected officials may support the movement through lipservice, Ocasio-Cortex was on the ground and making sure everyone's voices were heard. The moment was captured in a photo and uploaded to Twitter by Rozina Ali, a former journalist with the New Yorker.
Ali, posting the photo of Ocasio-Cortez wearing a mask and distributing spares, captioned the image, "Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez handing out masks [at a] Queens protest. 'Wear your masks! Let’s go!'" While some of us may have become disillusioned about whether protests still matter in a country that seems to not care about voices of dissent, it was important and heartening to see a politician standing side by side with citizens to fight for their rights. Not only did it affirm that politicians were, in fact, listening to their demands, but it also validated the imperative process of demonstration and dissent in a democracy that seems to be crumbling.
Plenty of people can’t be in the streets: disability, family care, etc.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 30, 2020
But many are asking what we can do in this moment. We can ORGANIZE.
Join me right now@7 for a parent workshop on how to oppose a school-to-prison budget w/ @AQE_NY & @MaketheRoadNY:https://t.co/S15F4VxlzM pic.twitter.com/BLPXDZWxRD
According to Ali, a protestor yelled at the Representative, "I want to see your name on that ballot in four years!" In addition to this, a New York Police Department officer snapped a quick photo of her from their van. While she may have become a sort of celebrity in the city of New York, residents can also rest assured knowing that she is putting the work in to correct historical and institutional injustices. Most recently, Ocasio-Cortez called out companies releasing "bland statements" with regard to the ongoing protests. She stated in a tweet, "I see a lot of corporations releasing bland statements with a hashtag. No. This moment calls for transformation. Your statement should include your organization’s INTERNAL commitments to change, particularly if you’ve been called on it before. Give people change."
Happy Pride 🌈— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) June 1, 2020
Stonewall was started by Marsha P. Johnson, Black trans organizer rebelling against violent policing of LGBTQ+ people. She cofounded STAR w Sylvia Rivera for justice.
During COVID, discrimination against LGBTQ+ blood donors is especially cruel. Let’s end it ⬇️ https://t.co/Ko1vh2rHDi pic.twitter.com/SPEWn1LGwl
She followed the tweet up with another one putting Amazon - a longtime target in her fight for economic equity - on blast for absent-mindedly siding with Black Lives Matter protestors while simultaneously "integrating Ring cameras with police departments and selling facial recognition tech to ICE." In response to her tweet, she asked for Twitter users to add other companies to her list of firms using the movement as a means to market their brand. Among the names listed in response were Microsoft, Facebook, Walmart, and McDonald's. While real change may be a ways away, her commitment to the fight is a strong reminder that we need active leadership like her's to energize the movement.