Since taking office in 2019, unseating longtime incumbent Joseph Crowley, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, or AOC as many of us have affectionately come to call her, has been making changes wherever she can. She’s been talking up a New Green Deal since taking office – well, since her campaign – and she’s spoken out against misogyny and racism in the USA, just to a name couple of ways she’s impacted streams of thought.
There’s got to be more than talk, though, and AOC has been doing everything she can to fight for justice, the planet, and a better life for everyone.
The Green New Deal
Most likely, you’ve heard of AOC’s work on the environmental justice initiative, the Green New Deal. This policy put forth in early 2019, can be summed up as a plan to bring the U.S. greenhouse gas emissions down to net-zero while still meeting 100% of the power demand required by the country. This would be done through clean, renewable, zero-emission energy by 2030.
The GND, as it’s called, also calls for the creation of millions of new jobs that provide a job guarantee to all Americans, while providing access to clean air, water, healthy food, a sustainable environment, and community resilience.
Some of the proposed elements of the GND include:
- Investment in renewable energy sources
- Upgrading existing buildings to become energy-efficient buildings with access to clean energy
- Supporting family farms that are safer for the environment and better for the general economy than massive commercial farms
- Better public transit, high-speed rail, and zero-emission vehicle infrastructure and manufacturing
- Leveraging funding and providing investments for communities affected by climate change
- Stronger land preservation initiatives to restore dying or damaged ecosystems
- Cleaning up hazardous waste
Bigger, Faster Changes
In a recent interview with Vanity Fair, just before Election Day 2020, AOC told us that she’s tired of tiny, incremental changes that don’t make a big difference for life for people now. During the interview, she looked around at the folks working around her and the interviewer, and said, “[America] is still in a lot of trouble [even under Biden as president]…If these people’s lives don’t actually feel different…we’re done. You know how many Trumps there are in waiting?”
She’s had to dissent with the Democratic party, which hasn’t always made people happy, but she explained. “[I’m tired of incremental change, of] bullshit little 10 percent tax cuts. I think, honestly, a lot of my dissent within the Democratic party comes from my lived experience. It’s not just that we can be better, it’s that we have to be better.”
Some would argue that change has to be slow, but when you consider the worldwide pandemic that’s throwing the country back into mass lockdowns thanks to slow change under the Trump administration, it’s hard to argue with her. “We’re not good enough right now,” she says.
Ocasio-Cortez And Rest Of “The Squad”
Not only are these women making an impact at Congress, bringing bills and voting on initiatives to improve life for their constituents, but they’re inspiring other minority women to stand up for justice and making the world a better place, too. Jamaal Bowman, a middle school principal progressive from New York, for example, ran and won a Congressional seat this year, thanks to the encouragement he found from the Squad. “I wouldn’t have run for office if it weren’t for AOC and the Squad,” he told Vanity Fair.
Since the election, the Squad has more than doubled, with other progressives looking for a change for this country now, not sometime in the future.
Let’s keep watching as they keep Biden accountable to make those changes he’s promised – protecting our nation and the immigrants who’ve been running to this country for centuries to escape persecution and bad living situations. With AOC and the Squad, now “Squad-plus,” we might start seeing these changes for real.