9 Inspiring Women Elected To The 116th Congress

9 Inspiring Women Elected To The 116th Congress

Beginning their congressional terms this January, a group of refined and educated women is inspiring the nation.

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The 2018 midterm election was unlike any other midterm election in history. A nation held its breath in anticipation after heading to the polls in droves, the likes of which had never been seen before, waiting for the first signs of change. Upon the votes being counted, victories swept the nation, turning the 116th Congress into the most diverse and representative congress in American history. Contributing to this record-breaking group of people are 127 women, nine of whom are newly sworn-in and ready to begin changing the world.

1. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is making history as the youngest woman to be elected to Congress. 

alexandria ocasio-cortex

Representing New York's 14th District, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been sworn in as the youngest woman in Congress at the age of 29. Ocasio-Cortez's platform is one that advocates for gun control, a peace economy, and criminal justice reform, as well as rights for the working class, such as universal healthcare and fair housing.

2. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib become the first Muslim women elected to Congress. 

Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar

Representing Minnesota's 5th District and Michigan's 16th District respectively, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib enter Washington, D.C as the nation's first Muslim women elected to Congress. Both Congresswomen advocate for human rights, environmental protection, and Medicare as a form of universal healthcare.

3. Ayanna Pressley becomes the first African-American woman to be elected to Congress from Massachusetts. 

Ayanna Pressley

Representing the 7th District of Massachusetts, Ayanna Pressley becomes her state's first African-American woman to be elected to Congress. Among Pressley's campaign promises are creating healthy communities via gun control and environmental protection, empowering women and small businesses to create a fair economy, and fighting for those communities under fire by hateful rhetoric.

4. Veronica Escobar joins Sylvia Garcia as the first Latina women elected to Congress from Texas. 

Veronica Escobar and Sylvia Garcia

Representing Texas' 16th and 29th congressional districts respectively, Veronica Escobar and Sylvia Garcia become the first Latina women to represent their state in Congress. Escobar is a passionate advocate for values such as immigration reform, environmental protection, and improving the quality of life for veterans, senior citizens, the disabled, and working families. Garcia is a strong supporter of these issues and more, such as healthcare and equal rights for women and the LGBT community.

5. Deb Haaland and Sharice Davids become the first Native American women elected to Congress. 

Deb Haaland and Sharice Davids

Representing New Mexico's 1st and Kansas's 3rd congressional districts, Deb Haaland and Sharice Davids join Congress as its first female Native American representatives. Haaland and Davids share similar platforms, including issues such as equality and equity for working families, women, and the LGBT communities.

6. Lauren Underwood is the youngest African-American woman to be elected to Congress. 

Lauren Underwood

Representing Illinois's 14th congressional district, Lauren Underwood became the youngest African-American women in Congress at 32 years old. Underwood is passionate about reducing gun violence, improving public education, protecting the environment, and defending immigrants.

These women, with their passion for change and love for humanity, have already begun to change the course of this nation with their election to Congress. Bolstered by their supporters and magnified by their talent, intelligence, and determination, the newly-elected women of the 116th Congress will remind their constituents and the rest of the United States of the power that fresh minds, diverse minds, represented minds can have on history and humanity as a whole.

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A Thank You Letter To My Best Friend

All the things I should thank you for more often than I do.
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To My Best Friend,

This thank you is long overdue. There are so many things I want to thank you for, and I’m sure I’m going to still be missing some by the end of this letter. But here is a small token of my gratitude for just being by my side in this life and making it all worthwhile.

Thank you first of all for accepting me and loving me for exactly who I am. This isn’t easy. I can be stubborn, difficult and confusing, but you love and accept me for me. There are days I wonder when you’ll finally come to your senses and move on and find a new BFF, one who isn’t so complicated, but to my amazement, you never do. You tell me you’ll take the good with the bad, and when I question whether I have any good left, you’re always there to reassure me and show me that I do. Thank you for loving me in my dorky and difficult moments, moments where if the rest of the world saw them, they’d probably walk away. Thank you for understanding me like no one else does; if we didn’t have the connection we did, I can’t imagine how lonely and big this world would feel. Because of you, this world seems like a little friendlier place, one I can see myself being a part of.

Thank you for being my biggest fan. Besides my family, you are my biggest supporter, and I know that when I win, you win, and when you win, I win. In this battle we call life, it doesn’t matter who’s in my opponents corner, because I know I am always going to have you in mine, and that’s the best asset I could ever ask for. You encourage me to chase my dreams like no one else does, and I can tell that you sincerely hurt when I hurt — not many people care about me in such a deep way. Whatever crazy dream I tell you I’m going to chase after next, you believe I can do it, even when the rest of the world thinks I’m crazy for even suggesting it. When something good happens, you’re the first person I want to tell, and when something bad happens, you’re the first one I go to for support.

Thank you for being you. You are incredible my dear, and I can’t wait to constantly remind your husband that he got crazy lucky and out kicked his coverage big time. You are beautiful inside and out. On the outside, you are so gorgeous; you’re very own unique and incredible definition of beauty, and I know I’m one of many who see it. You’re intimidating to stand next to in pictures because I know your light shines so bright, but I’ll gladly stand next to you and take a picture, because I’m so excited to show the world how breathtakingly beautiful my best friend is. On the inside you are even prettier, with a warm heart, a sharp mind and an unbelievable personality. You are hands down the funniest person I know, and I still can’t believe that someone as funny and hilarious as you chooses to spend her time with someone as dweeby and awkward as me. I mean, half the time we’re laughing at some fail I had or something stupid I did, so I guess I contribute a little bit to our constant laughing. You are so kind and so sweet, and have the biggest heart of anyone I know. God spent a little extra time when he made you, because you’re the total package: you’re beautiful, awesome and amazing, all wrapped in one, and I’m so lucky he put you in my life—he knows I’d be lost without you.

Thank you for being there for me whenever I need it. It was once said that “all that relationships are are being there for someone when they need you,” and you’re a pro at this. Whether it be because another boy is being stupid or I’m feeling alone, I know all I need to do is call you, and I’ll instantly feel better. You help my through the countless problems Lord knows I have trouble solving, and you reassure me that no matter what, you’re always going to be there for me. This is huge, and something very few people have been able to do for me, but you always have, and I know you always will be. And that is the most reassuring thing I know, knowing that if all hell breaks loose, the world falls apart and I have no one, I’ll have you. And that is all I need.

Thank you for being a spark, a light in my life that no matter how dark the world around us gets, is always there to light my way and show me the way home. Thank you for laughing with me when God blesses us with a funny moment, and crying with me when God is trying to tell me something. Thank you for standing beside me in the greatest of moments and the darkest of hours. Thank you for being the one I share my fondest memories with: all the nights we stayed up really late, all the exciting adventures we went on and all the inside jokes we still laugh about today. Thank you for growing up with me; for being there every step of the way and creating some of my happiest moments with me. Thank you for all the memories I've shared with you, and I can't wait for what crazy adventure we're going to go on next.

So thank you for accepting me, loving me, and supporting me. Thank you for being your wonderful self, and thank you for being there for me, through thick and thin, even when I'm at my lowest. Thank you for shining your brilliant light into my life and illuminating my world.

Oh, and thank you for being my maid of honor. I know I won’t need to ask you for a while, but you had to know it was coming, right?

Thank you for being the godmother to my future children, the sister to my family, and another daughter to my parents.

And finally, thank you for being the best to my friend.

Cover Image Credit: EnkiVillage

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Irish-American History Is Just As Important As Any Other Culture, You Can't Prove Me Wrong

I cherish being Irish and I will not let anyone let me feel bad for that.

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Depending on when you're reading this, Saint Patrick's day has either just passed or is around the corner. For me, Saint Patrick's day is tomorrow. I've been debating this article for some time now because I didn't know how it would be perceived. At this point, though, I feel it's important for me to get out. No, Irish people were never kept as slaves in America, and I will never be one to try and say they were. However, Irish people were treated tremendously awful in America. A lot of people tend to forget, or just try to erase entirely, the history of the Irish in America. So much so that I felt shameful for wanting to celebrate my heritage. Therefore, I want to bring to light the history that everyone brushes under the rug.

In 1845, a potato famine broke out across Ireland. This was a big deal because the Irish lived off, mainly, potatoes. They were cheap, easy to grow, and had tons of nutrients. So when the famine struck, many people either died of starvation or fled to America in seek of refuge. When the Irish arrived in America they were seen as a threat to the decency of America. People viewed them as drunk beasts, sinful savages, barbaric, violent, belligerent, stupid, and white apes. When the Irish would go to look for jobs, many times they found signs that read "Irish Need Not Apply," even when the job was hiring. Therefore, the Irish did the jobs no one wanted, and even jobs African slaves wouldn't do. The biggest example of this is when Irishmen built canals and drained swamps. They were sent to do these things because of the enormous amount of mosquitoes; in the swamp, they would get bit and ultimately die of malaria.

Also, during this time, Irish people were poor and therefore lived in the same neighborhoods as the free African Americans. A lot of the Irish people were friendly with their neighbors of color and even got into interracial relationships. Because the Irish lived in these neighborhoods they were seen as dirty and even a lot of people at this time put African Americans higher on the totem pole than Irish. One person during the time even said, "At least the black families keep their homes clean."

The main reason American's outlook on Irish people changed was that most Irishmen took up fighting for the Union in the Civil War. I make this argument, not because I think the Irish suffered more than African slaves. I don't say this in means of trying to erase the struggles of the African slaves. I do not think that any of our ancestors should have been treated the way they were. I mean to say that the Irish did in fact suffer. Irish people were treated wrongly on the basis of...nothing. Simply because my ancestors hailed from the shores of Eire, they were treated with malice. And I write this simply because I want people to remember. I want people to understand what happened.

On Saint Patrick's Day this year, next year, and for the many years to come, I want people to embrace the Irish culture. I want the folks of Irish heritage to not be ashamed of where they come from; to not be ashamed to share their culture the way I have for many years. I want everyone to have a beer, wear some green, eat a potato or two, and dance the Irish step; to celebrate the history of Irish people with a bit more understanding than before.

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