Game-Changer: Girl Scout Alum Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Is Proud of Her Roots
Being a young Hispanic woman from the Bronx, it’s no surprise that someone like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has motivated me as I venture through my professional career. At just 31 years old, Alexandria, popularly known as AOC, has changed the game not just for women in politics, but for ordinary people who are often overlooked.
As the youngest woman ever to serve in the United States Congress (and was Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez a Girl Scout? You bet she was!), she has proven that it does not matter where you come from or what your economic status is: If you have a mission to make a difference in the world, you will do whatever it takes to make that happen, and AOC has done just that.
Much of her resilience stems from her roots as a former Girl Scout, where she learned lifelong skills. In 2018, she told the Girl Scouts, “I was a Girl Scout and learned so many life skills, from entrepreneurship to baking to survival skills. It’s amazing at encouraging confidence and curiosity from a young age. Many women of Congress started out as [Girl] Scouts, too!”
I remember in 2018 watching her moving campaign ad, “The Courage to Change,” and thinking to myself how proud I was to be from New York City. Before AOC’s rise to politics, society made me feel like where I came from was a bad place, and I was ashamed of my roots and the city that made me. AOC helped me realize that, without my city, the community that I grew up with, and the experience that comes out of growing up in a place so rich in culture, I would not have the dreams, hopes, and courage I have today.
Society tends to glamorize city life, but AOC brought awareness to the harsh realities that many underrepresented groups face. And instead of sitting back and watching, she decided to do something about it.
A Powerful Female Icon
Actively campaigning for LGBTQ rights, immigration, the environment, and many more social issues, AOC has been known to speak up for issues she is passionate about. Through the use of social media and finding new and authentic ways to connect with members of different communities, AOC has taken a different approach to politics that Congress had never seen before.
Her outspoken persona and ability to challenge the status quo throughout her time in Congress has empowered young women like me to stay true to myself — even if it makes others uncomfortable. And she has taught me not to be afraid to challenge issues I don’t agree with. AOC is someone who has been faced with verbal insults, harassment, and threats just for speaking her mind. As someone who is entering my professional career, it is important to see more women actively take charge and lead with confidence, and I have looked to AOC as an example for that path.
AOC is not only a female empowerment icon, but she is an inspiration for anyone who has to defy what statistics say to reach the top. More young women that come from underrepresented groups look to women like AOC for inspiration, to believe they can make it, too. With more than 8 million followers on Instagram, a name for herself in Congress, and the ability to create change, AOC is still not done yet. Although it’s not easy, she shows that it’s not impossible, and that just being yourself can take you much further than you can imagine.
This post is part of a month-long March CircleAround series, tied to Women's History Month — the first since the global pandemic that has disproportionately impacted women around the world — in which we asked writers to explore the topic of women's history in America, from the past to very much the present. To see all the posts in the series — including relevant news stories — visit here. And if you'd like to contribute to the series, send us your thoughts to email@example.com or post on our "2021 Inspiration Wall."