Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, daughter of a Puerto Rican mother and a South Bronx father, has a question for New Yorkers: who has New York been changing for? A newly released ad in support of her bid for Congress doesn’t think that’s a rhetorical question. With images of the Bronx native’s daily routine intercut with footage of the New York City she knows and wants to represent, the two-minute spot stresses again and again how the city’s working class has been slowly left behind.
Structured as a day in the life of the would-be congresswoman, this passionate plea puts Ocasio-Cortez’s credentials front and center. “I’m an educator, an organizer, a working class New Yorker,” she says as we see her getting ready for work, waiting for the subway, walking and talking with children and neighbors alike. The sights of the expensive skyscrapers being built that have become synonymous with the gentrifying forces that keep displacing communities all over the five boroughs butt up against the candid shots of mothers walking their kids from school, children manning bake sale tables, and service workers getting by.
Hoping to be an advocate for the people, the ad makes one thing clear: this Latina wants to make progressive ideals a reality. “What the Bronx and Queens needs,” she says, “is Medicare-for-all, tuition-free public college, a federal jobs guarantee, and criminal justice reform.” Scored with an uplifting piano tune you’d hear at a climactic scene in a feel-good movie, it’s clear the video wants you to cheer for the inclusive vision of New York City being presented. “A New York for the many is possible,” Ocasio-Cortez tells us. And given that you’ve seen her speak out at a church, change her heels in an above-ground subway station, and end her day surrounded by family in her cozy apartment, you’re emboldened to believe that all we need, as the video’s title suggests, is the courage to change.