It's been a long long time since I've seen an iconic woman in a position of power, teaching me that it's okay to be me and I can still be a powerful woman while embracing who I am.
1. She gets in touch with her roots.
"What can I possibly say except thank you? So many people sacrificed so much for this to happen - my mother most of all.
My mama was born + raised in Puerto Rico. She practically raised her siblings in poverty while her own mother worked nonstop to provide food and shelter. She met my father, a Bronx boy visiting Isla family, at a young age. They married + moved to NYC - she didn't even speak English. My parents started from scratch: new languages, new life, new everything. Then came me, and they moved to start over again so I could have an education. Mami mopped floors, drove school buses, + answered phones. She did whatever she needed to do, for me. When my father died, she was left a single mother of 2, and again she had to start over. After he passed we almost lost our home, so we sold it and started over. & over. & over.
It wasn't long ago that we felt our lives were over; that there were only so many do-overs until it was just too late, or too much to take, or we were too spiritually spent. I was scrubbing tables + scooping candle wax after restaurant shifts & falling asleep on the subway ride home. I once got pickpocketed, & everything I earned that day was stolen. That day I locked myself in a room and cried deep: I had nothing left to give, or to be. And that's when I started over. I honestly thought as a 28-year-old waitress I was too late; that the train of my fulfilled potential had left the station.
This week I was sworn in as the youngest woman in American history to serve in the United States Congress. I hope that record is broken again soon. As I raised my hand for the oath, my mother held the holy book & looked into @SpeakerPelosi's eyes. Afterward, the Speaker said to her "you must be so proud," and my mother began to cry.
It was not long ago that our family's hope was so dim it was barely an ember. Darkness taught me transformation cannot solely be an individual pursuit, but also a community of trust. We must learn on others to strive on our own.
Thank you all. Whether it was late nights, hard days, pocket change, emotional investment, hard & soft skills, door knocking in the heat or petitioning in the bitter cold - we did this together."
3. Participate in wearing white to the State of the Union
Not to mention the fact that it wasn't just white, but a white blazer cape.
4. Red lip & gold hoops, do I need to say any more?
Everyone will tell you red lips and gold hoops don't belong in Congress, but AOC will beg to differ.
5. Her representation of Jakelin Caal Maquin
AOC wore a button of Jakelin who was a seven-year-old Guatemalan child that died in Border Patrol custody last year.
6. She embraces the fiasco around her dancing video
You can find a video of AOC dancing to her old dancing video from her time in college.