Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Upsets  Rep. Joseph Crowley In NY Primary
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5 Things To Know About Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Politics' New Aspirant

On Tuesday evening (June 26), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez took a giant step to become the youngest woman elected to Congress, CNN reports. 

On Tuesday evening (June 26), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez took another giant step to potentially become the youngest woman elected to Congress, CNN reports (she needs to win over Republican Anthony Pappa in November's elections to attain this feat). While running her first campaign, the Bronx native defeated Joe Crowley (D-NY) who's held his seat in New York's 14th district (formerly the 7th district) since 1999.

For Ocasio-Cortez, this moment has been a long time coming. According to Elite Daily, the 28-year-old's relationship with politics has been nurtured since she was a kid growing up in a Puerto Rican household.

"Politics were talked about at the table every single day," she said. "It's the culture. In Puerto Rico, you talk about politics all the time, even when people disagree." In a statement issued to The New York Times, her mother, Blanca Ocasio-Cortez said, “There was nobody who could shut her up. I saw the political tendencies since she was very, very young.”

After graduating from Boston University in 2011 with degrees in economics and international relations, Ocasio-Cortez became a teacher at the National Hispanic Institute, and worked as a bartender in Manhattan's Flats Fix Taco Y Tequila Bar to help support her family after her father's passing in 2008.

Now that she's fully elected, Ocasio-Cortez plans to spearhead initiatives that'll make the cost of college easily affordable, implement universal healthcare, and tackle the city's housing crisis while encouraging other young people to run for office: "We need an entire generation to start taking up these seats."

Before she confirms an oath of office, here's a little bit of background on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's beginnings and her plans for the future.

1. She Created A Book Publishing Company To Boost Literacy Among The Bronx's Youth

According to the New York Daily News, Ocasio-Cortez established Brook Avenue Press in 2012, an outlet that promotes "parent-child literacy education" and publishes positive stories of the Bronx in opposition of letting society's bleak views define the borough. Around that same time, Ocasio-Cortez was a part of an entrepreneur program, The Sunshine Bronx Business Incubator, which provided funding for a bevy of startups in the community.

2. Ocasio-Cortez Became Familiar With The Campaign Trail While Working With Bernie Sanders

In 2016, the New Yorker supported another native, Bernie Sanders, during his race for the Democratic presidential nomination. Prior to that, she worked on Sen. Ted Kennedy's (D-Mass.) team. Ocasio-Cortez is also a part of the Democratic Socialists of America, an organization that attempts to "decrease the influence of money in politics." Through her previous work, Ocasio-Cortez believes running a grassroots campaign aided in her win.

"It was an advantage, actually, because our community here really wanted to do something and they didn't want to feel like they were choosing to organize the campaign over choosing to comment and organize around this moment," she said.

3. Ocasio-Cortez Has Marched For Clean Water In Flint And Against The Dakota Access Pipeline

The Bronxite has remained steadfast in fighting for the people when it comes to the basic necessities. She's visited the places most affected by tainted water in Flint, Mich., and at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North and South Dakota to place a halt on the Dakota Access Pipeline. In an interview with Jezebel's "The Slot," Ocasio-Cortez shared that visiting Standing Rock partly influenced her desire to run for office.

"I saw a fossil fuel corporation that had literally militarized itself against American people, and I saw that our incumbents in both parties were defending them and were silent," she said. "And I just felt like we’re at a point where we can’t afford to be silent anymore, and we can’t afford to sit out a political process that we may have grown very cynical over. And in order for us to change course, and change the future, it’s going to take people who haven’t typically been seen or thought of as a typical candidate."

4: She Was Influenced By Other Fearless Women In Politics

In the same interview with The Slot, Ocasio-Cortez said women politicians and organizers like Paula Jean Swearengin, Cori Bush, Linsey Fagan, Lucy Flores, and Ayanna Pressley - who became the first black woman to be elected to the Boston City Council - all paved the way for this moment to happen.

5. She Wants The Immigration And Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) To Become Extinct

Part of her policies will concern the end of ICE, a government-funded company that's received an increase in a wave of criticism for its enforced regulations on immigration. Ocasio-Cortez's platform was partly influenced by the community members she's encountered of different backgrounds from Ecuador to Pakistan. "...many of them are very scared about what's going on. With my campaign, in terms of immigration, we're trying to say, 'Hey, we've got your back.'" She recently visited one of ICE's detention center's in Texas earlier this month.

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Mel D. Cole

Photographer Mel D. Cole Captures The Madness of The Capitol Hill Raid

Celebrated photographer Mel D. Cole is known throughout the music and entertainment industry as one of the standout lensmen of our time, capturing the stunning images of rap stars and famous folks alike. While that lane is usually his circle, he also documents the real-life, outside of the glitz and glamour and yesterday (Jan. 6), Cole caught the wild times of the unlawful raid of our country's Capitol building.

Occupied by a majority of Trump supporters, the judicial chambers were breeched and the halls of the highest state of America were trolled by those calling themselves "The Proud Boys" and other non-essential and unofficial individuals. They were met with little security resistance once inside, but as Cole has depicted in these images and video, the raucous scene outside was one of historic proportions, where the mob clashed with police.

Watch the commentary of those who spoke to Cole about Trump's America, being patriots while assaulting the police, and how they were right in storming the authority of Congress, who were in session at the time. There were a group of people in the "Blacks For Trump" crowd as well. These insurgents sent our countries leaders into hiding in their own offices and chambers. Such a sad day in America.

View Cole's Instagram Stories and IGTV channel for more images and videos.

You can find more of Mel D. Cole's work in his latest book, GREAT: Photographs of Hip Hop.



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Barack Obama Says He Doesn't Like The Term “Defund The Police”

Barack Obama's advice about the using the term “defund the police” is receiving mixed reviews. The former commander in chief explained his issue with the “slogan” in an interview on the Snapchat show Good Luck America.

Obama cautioned against using the term as he feels it to be exclusionary. “If you want people to buy your sneakers you’re going to market it to your audience. It’s no difference in terms of ideas,” he explained. “If you believe, as I do, that we should be able to reform the criminal justice system so that it's not biased and treats everybody fairly, I guess you can use a snappy slogan, like ‘defund the police.’ But you know, you lost a big audience the minute you say it, which makes it a lot less likely that you're actually going to get the changes you want done.”

He also suggested that instead of “defund the police” people should say: “Let’s reform the police department so that everybody’s treated fairly.”

The 59-year-old politician seemingly theorized that the use of “defund the police” may have cost Democrats House seats in the recent election. “The key is deciding do you want to actually get something done, or do you want to feel good among the people you already agree with? If you want to get something done in a democracy, in a country as big and diverse as ours, than you got to be able to meet people where they are and play a game of addition and not subtraction.”

Read some of the reactions to his comments below.

With all due respect, Mr. President—let’s talk about losing people. We lost Michael Brown Jr. We lost Breonna Taylor. We’re losing our loved ones to police violence.

It’s not a slogan. It’s a mandate for keeping our people alive. Defund the police.

— Cori Bush (@CoriBush) December 2, 2020

Imagine if Obama came out and gave a quick speech about how Defund the Police means reallocating resources to organizations that can help, instead of using cops to deal with things like mental health situations.

Says a lot about the man that he instead criticizes slogans.

— Dave Anthony PHD, MD, Esquire. (@daveanthony) December 2, 2020

obama doesn't like "defund the police" as a slogan because it is a specific actionable thing with a clear goal in mind. hope, change, yes we can & all that are better because they don't require you to actually do anything after saying them

— Shaun (@shaun_vids) December 2, 2020

What if activists aren’t PR firms for politicians & their demands are bc police budgets are exploding, community resources are shrinking to bankroll it, & ppl brought this up for ages but it wasn’t until they said “defund” that comfortable people started paying attn to brutality

— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) December 2, 2020

The phrase 'defund the police' is awkward and misleading. It doesn't accurately convey the need to reallocate funding so that social services and policing are properly weighted.

The phrase mangles the meaning in a way that guarantees that many won't ever even hear it.

— Floss Obama🎅🏾 (@FlossObama) December 3, 2020

Obama is right. Defund the Police is a bad slogan. Reform the Police is better.

— PoliticsVideoChannel (@politvidchannel) December 2, 2020

obama is right. y’all need to stop saying defund the police when we mean abolish the police

— anti-lawn aktion (@antihoa) December 2, 2020

No one can push neoliberal thought like Obama. Suddenly, EVERYONE has decided that "defund the police" is just a slogan, and that it is responsible for Dems losing even tho none of them supported it.

The aim is to undermine activists just like he did w/ the potential NBA strike.

— Honeyves (@AdamantxYves) December 2, 2020

I need Barack Obama to leave the sloganeering to the movement.

Defund. The. Police.

We are keeping it. We are demanding it.

— Linda Sarsour (@lsarsour) December 2, 2020

We lose people in the hands of police. It’s not a slogan but a policy demand. And centering the demand for equitable investments and budgets for communities across the country gets us progress and safety.

— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) December 2, 2020

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Activist Cori Bush Becomes Missouri’s First Black Congresswoman

Ferguson activist Cori Bush is making history as the first Black woman to represent Missouri in Congress. Bush, a Democrat, beat out Republican Anthony Rogers and Libertarian Alex Furman in Tuesday’s (Nov. 3) election.

“Mike Brown was murdered 2,278 days ago. We took to the streets for more than 400 days in protest,” Bush tweeted on election night. “Today, we take this fight for Black Lives from the streets of Ferguson to the halls of Congress. We will get justice.”

The historic victory came 52 years after Shirley Chisholm became the first Black woman elected to Congress. “I shouldn’t be the first,” noted Bush in another tweet. “But I am honored to carry this responsibility.”

The First.

— Cori Bush (@CoriBush) November 4, 2020

A nurse, pastor, single mother and “lifelong St. Louisan,” 44-year-old Bush, who will be sworn in at the top of the year, previously ran for a Senate seat in 2016 and 2018. Her Congressional journey was chronicled in the Netflix documentary Knock Down the House.

And she's not alone in making political history during this year's election. Aside from Baltimore electing its youngest mayor ever, a record 298 women ran for seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. Of the nearly 300 candidates, 115 identified as Black, Latina, or Native American.

Other pioneering political wins included Ritchie Torres and Mondaire Jones becoming the first openly gay and openly gay Afro-Latino members of Congress, and Sarah McBride, who became the first trans U.S. Senator.

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