Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) praised the purported political shift in the country, telling Vanity Fair that people are “discovering their own power” and calling it “profoundly exciting.”
Vanity Fair featured the New York lawmaker in a photo portfolio “celebrating the founders of Black Lives Matter, the Squad, John Boyega, Noname, Billy Porter, and more on the forefront of change.”
Jacqueline Woodson, who penned the portfolio’s essay, said she wants to “look into the face of a country built on the bodies of Black folks as more than 400 years of rage and a balance long overdue bites it on its ass, paints a yellow brick road into Black Lives Matter plazas, topples its long-held beliefs, monuments, and Confederate flags.”
When asked, “How does this moment feel different and why,” Ocasio-Cortez told the magazine that “people are really discovering their own power in a broader sense that we have not seen in a very long time” and mentioned the actions “in the street.”
“So, yes, we’re starting to see some of this emerging power at the ballot box and at the polls, but we’re also starting to see it in the streets, and people standing up for themselves in the workplace, in organizing themselves and their labor,” she said, calling it “profoundly exciting.”
“And it’s really incredible to see how people are really taking the reins for themselves in the direction of systemic change,” she continued.
Despite painting a rosy picture of peaceful social justice activists taking their calls for change to the streets, Ocasio-Cortez did not condemn the lawless activities that have dominated several of the protests nationwide in the interview. Portland, for instance, has experienced 88 nights of destruction as protesters continue to attack federal buildings and police officers. Police declared yet another riot downtown on Sunday night. According to the Portland Police Bureau, rioters lit two North Precinct awnings on fire and targeted officers with rocks, mortars, lasers, and “sharp chunks of ceramic.” Twenty-three people were arrested.
That same night, unrest erupted in Kenosha, Wisconsin, following a officer-involved shooting of a black man. Officials are asking the public to withhold judgment until the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation completes its investigation of the incident.
“Until that investigation is completed, we ask that you withhold prejudgment about the incident and please the let process take place,” Pete Deates, president of the Kenosha Professional Police Association, said in a statement following the night of civil unrest.
Ocasio-Cortez also told the magazine that “all these people in the streets that are educating others, that are engaging in this elevated and amplified way” have “really emboldened ” her.
“It’s given me a lot of courage and encouragement to try to match the energy of everyone else right now who’s really fighting for progressive change,” she added.