Culture

This New Collection of Essays Highlights the Impact of AOC’s Rise

Lead Photo: Art by Stephany Torres for Remezcla
Art by Stephany Torres for Remezcla

In “AOC: The Fearless Rise and Powerful Resonance of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez” edited by Emmy award-winning journalist Lynda Lopez, 17 contributors (in media, activism, politics and more) speak about the significance of the rise of AOC. Since becoming the youngest woman ever to serve in Congress at 29 years old, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s story has been told countless times, but this collection also focuses on how she is a reflection of their identities and beliefs in a space dominated by older white men.

Throughout the collection of essays, contributors such as “My Time Among the Whites” author Jennine Capó Crucet, Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo, and Keegan-Michael Key break down how her Latinidad, activism, authenticity and ability to connect with her community affected them.

“You are doing the Latina thing and staying true to yourself; you won the primary by being yourself, not by ‘toning it down’,” author Jennine Capó Crucet writes in her open letter to AOC. Capó Crucet is referring to AOC’s tweet in response to a Fox News host who mocked her accent when pronouncing her name.

AOC’s expert use of social media and Twitter, in particular, has helped her connect with her community to gain a collective following of more than 15 million. Journalist Mariana Atencio highlights her meteoric rise and how social media played a key role in turning her into the power player she is. “She uses her social platforms to stop us in our tracks as we scroll through our feeds,” she wrote, “forcing us to listen to the voices of those who are underrepresented and marginalized.”

But it’s not just her work that has garnered her a devoted and passionate following, it’s her ability to stand up against the vitriol of some conservatives including President Trump. Her famous clapbacks at the haters and how she stands proudly in her Latinidad (red lips and hoops included) pops up in several of the essays. Writer Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodriguez calls AOC an “indignant brown girl” writing, “She has to be bold to step into a modern-day version of one of Dante’s circles of hell, where the patriarchy of this country is bred: Washington D.C.”

This book is more than an ode to AOC, it’s a way for people of color who’ve been touched by her to have their voices heard and feel seen.

“I wanted to highlight voices that aren’t always elevated—especially in this arena,” Lopez tells Remezcla. “The writers are mostly women of color, mostly Latina, many of whom are speaking to the challenges they have faced in their own lives that have been roadblocks to them reaching their highest success, whether those were internal or external, and connecting that to what they see as meaningful, impactful, or resonant, in AOC’s rise.”