Skip to content Skip to footer

AOC on Immigration: How the Rep. looks to change the convo and lift people up

In a recent town hall meeting in Corona, NYC Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez set out to forge new rhetoric around immigration. She distinctly stated that it was in order to truly convince swing states and less progressive states to embrace the topic of immigration and migration without fear.

This approach is intent on redefining the immigration conversation and inviting middle Americans to reconsider their ‘out of sight out of mind’ mentality.

The town hall began at about 2 pm, with about 200 guests in attendance despite the heatwave and record high temperatures in NYC that day. The agenda included the introduction of a set of seven translators for various languages including several for Spanish, American Sign Language, Bengali, and Tibetan.

The multicultural theme of inclusion set the tone for the afternoon.

Immigration has always been a complex issue

The representative of New York’s 14th district shared that immigration is not a political binary:

“Immigration seems like a very polarizing political issue. It has always been very complicated, but it has never been this very simple issue of Democrats are pro-immigration and Republicans are anti-immigration. It has not always been that way. In fact, immigration has a very complex history.”

AOC continued:

“Ronald Reagan passed the Immigration Amnesty Program, we ourselves have had complicated immigration policies even under our previous president. This is not an easy simple clear-cut black and white issue.”

Ocasio-Cortez shared that 50 percent of all the casework that is submitted to her offices is on immigration. Cortez later, in response to a question from one of her constituents, said that there has been no response to her office’s requests to the administration to share documents on the separated families at the border.

She explained that they have no knowledge that such documentation was registered or gathered at the time of separation, and that in order to reunite children with their parents and guardians that such a feat would be extraordinarily difficult.

She did, however, share a plan for executing it as well as preventing such a thing from happening again.

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez proposed a special commission to deal with the abhorrent separation of families, kids in cages and overall illegal and immoral ICE raids. Such a commission would also support her call to place the U.S. government responsible for the mental health services that those affected would need access to for the rest of their lives.

The congresswoman has co-sponsored 18 pieces of legislation to deal with the humanitarian crisis at the border.

The hypocrisy of ‘do it the right way’ rhetoric

The BX-native expressed the hypocrisy of those in the political realm (and beyond) that subscribe to the idea that immigration is not bad as long as immigrants go about it “the right way.”

Ocasio-Cortez rejected this seemingly surface-level reasonable stance, siting the continuous war against legal immigration routes, and the removal of paths to citizenship.

One of the blocks on legal immigration includes unreasonable obstacles like postponing the swearing-in ceremony for over a year for individuals who have otherwise completed all of the paperwork and vetting for citizenship.

Another is the closing of TPS, or Temporary Protected Status for several countries that have an ongoing armed conflict (such as civil war), an environmental disaster or epidemic and other extraordinary and temporary conditions.

“They are ending it [TPS] prematurely. They are leaving people that have been here documented in this country for decades. And they are forcing people to become undocumented.”

This administration is ending DACA as well as inconsistently sending ICE raids that instill never-ending fear in the communities that are targeted. Ocasio-Cortez also addressed her vote against “Humanitarian Aid for Border Children.”

The congresswoman explained that a grossly unsupervised and horrific organization already responsible for the mistreatment and death of children should not be awarded more funds.

The congresswoman asked what specific plans and strategies that are indeed humanitarian will be instated and that such plans were not available. This lead to her vote of ‘no’ for the not really ‘Humanitarian Aid for Border Children’ Act.

“CBP does not employ doctors. They do not employ psychologists. They do not employ caseworkers. They do not employ people who will process visas.”

It’s not immigration, it is racism

“Men like him have been telling women like me to go back to my own country for a long time.”

AOC also pointed out that this is not really a question of immigration status but rather a racial issue. With Trump telling four American citizens to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came,” it’s important to state that all four congresswomen at whom the comment was directed, are women of color.

“This president’s policies are not about immigration. It’s about ethnicity and racism.”

On a more positive note, the congresswoman pointed to Jackson Heights as the community model for accepting immigration as an asset instead of an issue. Jackson Heights is the most diverse community in the world. There are over 200 languages spoken in the area and AOC refers to this as an “elite global asset.”

“The America that we’re fighting for is in Jackson Heights. The America that we’re fighting for is in the Bronx. The America that we’re fighting for is in New York City.”

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez described the future of America as one that does not see immigrants as deficits but as assets and opportunities.

“This administration is choosing to apprehend people and they do not have to. You do not have to put a kid in a cage.”

The grassroots operation

Without putting NYC on too much of a pedestal of utopian immigration integration, the congresswoman passed the mic to the grassroots organizations that make immigration rhetoric and political reform possible.

The groups were adamant about protecting the community and using the resources available to empower the people.

Amaha Kassa, ED of African Communities Together talked about the number of refugees admitted to the U.S. potentially dropping from 100,000 to 0. This number is a direct assault on refugees who seek asylum “the right way” but are rejected and therefore forced into finding safety and opportunity for life in other ways.

Jennifer Sun, the co-executive director of Asian-Americans for Equality, relayed important issues of tenant discrimination based on immigration status as well as the fear of renewing social programs like food stamps.

The tenant discrimination issue is one where tenants are forced to put down larger deposits as well as higher rent when their landlords learn that they are not citizens.

Such a practice is illegal under the current tenant and landlord laws, but out of fear, immigrant tenants are afraid to challenge their landlords who often threaten to report them to ICE.

As for social programs like food stamps, immigrants who previously qualified and still qualify for the services, are reluctant and even refusing to renew their access due to the rising calls to bar immigrants from social services.

Sun reassured the attendees of the town hall that such a law is not currently in effect and that if those in need previously qualified for such services they should renew them as soon as possible.

Roksana Mun, DRUM’s Director of Strategy and Training spoke about the importance of organizing. Often immigrant communities, especially those that have only recently started immigrating to the U.S. in large numbers, are afraid of getting involved in politics.

They often isolate themselves and according to Mun, this is gravely hindering their potential for creating lasting change.

Media Specialist for Make the Road New York, Yatziri Tovar also explicitly called for organizing as well as reinstating rhetoric of positivity for immigrants. Immigrants pay taxes, contribute to our economy and culture, and seek a better life.

Their humanity, however, is the sole reason why we should view them in a default positive light rather than negative and criminal.

Real people, real stories

Lupita Romero spoke during the town hall with a story that is too common but not faced head-on enough. She and her little brother came to the U.S. in 2009. Romero emotionally pointed out the harsh reality that if she and her brother had come just 10 years later they would be in cages.

She shared the story of her brother being wrongfully arrested five times in one summer because of the illegal law “stop and frisk.” A summer that would define his future as an immigrant deemed “bad” and deported shortly after because he no longer qualified for legal status.

She, on the other hand, was deemed a “good immigrant” because she was too scared to lash out against a society that continues to show that it does not want her there.

New York Councilwoman Catalina Cruz also shared her story as the first DREAMer elected to NY assembly. After witnessing a murder in front of her house, nine-year-old Catalina Cruz left Colombia at the height of the drug war.

Her speech also included the White Supremacists that were protesting outside the town hall, across the street from the school. They were passing out papers one of which they gave to a child.

The paper read, “You do not belong here.” A heartbreaking incident of racism and hate that reminds us that New York City, despite having such a large immigrant population and progressive political sphere, still has a white supremacy problem.

A problem surely emboldened by Trump’s rhetoric. The rhetoric that puts that child and every child in danger.

“I spent 13 years of my life an undocumented immigrant living in Queens. Those experiences brought me to the idea that those who go through the pain are closest to the answer.” said Cruz.

What to look out for in the 2020 Census

AOC also discussed the Supreme Court decision to reject the citizenship question on the 2020 U.S. census. The decision was a win, considering the citizenship question would intimidate immigrants regardless of legal status in participating in the census.

The census is important because it counts EVERYONE in order to better allocate resources as well as accurately represent communities with the right number of representatives in government.

“We need everybody counted.”

The congresswoman also expressed that this win is not the end for the census issue. The census must be justly and equally executed in order to truly benefit the people.

A future for the people

Before the conclusion of the town hall meeting, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made sure to reiterate to the presence of caseworkers and people from her office should assist in any questions or help regarding federal services, immigration, social security, Medicare, military academy nominations, veterans’ affairs, and more.

Overall, the town hall provided a space to discuss the current status of immigration in our nation, what actions are being taken in order to further the cause as well as what those attending can do to push for change.

The gathering was essential to drum up support, energy, and a fighting heart amongst the community, as well as offer resources and help for those in need.

AOC is slowly changing the rhetoric of immigration starting in her home state, with the backing of grassroots organizations and the love of the people.

Peep ‘Knock Down the House’ on Netflix to see how AOC became a boss

On May 1, Netflix released Knock Down the House, a documentary from Rachel Lears that follows the congressional campaigns of four democratic female candidates.

They include West Virginia’s Paula Jean Swearengin, Amy Vilela of Las Vegas, Cori Bush of St. Louis, Missouri, and– at the time a political unknown — Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

These women were all longshots and political outsiders. Yet the film makes the argument that just being a women makes you a political outsider. There are infinitely stricter rules that apply to women, from the amount you smile to the makeup and clothes you wear.

The film shows AOC preparing for her bartending shift. Bush tells us she is a nurse and ordained pastor who did not expect to find herself in activism until the Black Lives Matter showed up at her doorstep. Vilela a single mother, tells a constituent she is “not a career politician.” And Swearengin describes herself to a crowd as a “coal miner’s daughter.”

Another thing the women have in common? They all mounted grassroots campaigns against entrenched Democrats. Bush’s opponent, Lacy Clay, along with his father, had represented the St. Louis district since 1969.

The film devotes the lion’s share to AOC’s race against her opponent, Joe Crowley, who had not been challenged in a primary for 14 years. Additionally, he was known as “The Boss” in Queens. He was also the fourth most-powerful Democrat in Congress.


View this post on Instagram


(Pt 2) Vulnerability is something I am proud of. In many ways, I see vulnerability as a coat of arms. A shield. After all, if we are unafraid to cry, to acknowledge our mistakes, to fall down and get back up, to offer a vision so ambitious that it makes the short-sighted laugh… if we are brave enough to be human in front of the whole world, then what can our detractors really do? What do we have to be afraid of when we lift our own veil? The answer is nothing. Nothing at all. . I am immensely proud of the women who made this film. It’s incredibly raw and explosively powerful – not because we are special, but because we aren’t. Because if we can do it, so can you.

A post shared by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@ocasio2018) on

At the beginning of the film, AOC says with a laugh,

“If I were a rational person, I would’ve dropped out of this race a long time ago.”

The film demonstrates how, at first, Crowley did not take AOC seriously. At a forum where the two were meant to debate, Crowley did not even bother to show up.

Instead, he sent an ill-prepared surrogate in his place. By the time they debated in person as the election neared, Lears showed Crowley nervously rolling up his sleeves as AOC delivered a rousing response. This is a woman — a person– to reckon with.

The women also share their heart-breaking backstories. AOC describes how her dad, who “knew [her] soul better than anybody in this world,” passed away while she was in college.

Vilela’s story especially struck a chord. She describes how she lost her daughter because the hospital would not provide her with potentially life-saving tests as she could not show proof of insurance.


View this post on Instagram


A year ago I was waitressing in a restaurant while organizing my community. In a time and place where we had been burned by so many politicians, and had grown deservedly cynical of the sad, familiar cycle of campaign promises and governance excuses, I was asking them, just once, to believe. . It was really hard, because how do you make that case? How to ask someone whose trust has been violated over and over to believe you? To believe in the movement for justice and economic dignity? . You show up. You give unconditionally. You show up when no one is looking and the cameras are off. You offer support when it’s risky, but necessary. You do it over and over again, without a need for recognition or expectation that you are “owed” something for doing the right thing. You just… engage in the act of loving your community. . Never in my wildest dreams did I think that those late nights on the 6 & 7 trains would lead to this. All this attention gives me a lot of anxiety (my staff fought to get me to agree to this cover, as I was arguing against it), and still doesn’t feel quite real, which maybe is why I remain comfortable taking risks, which maybe is a good thing. . I believe in an America where all things are possible. Where a basic, dignified life isn’t a dream, but a norm. . That’s why I got up then, and it’s why I get up now. Because my story shouldn’t be a rare one. Because our collective potential as a nation can be unlocked when we’re not so consumed with worry about how we’re going to secure our most basic needs, like a doctor’s visit or an affordable place to live.

A post shared by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@ocasio2018) on

Sitting with her other daughter, Vilela says, as her voice breaks,

“It’s not just us. It’s thirty thousand families a year.”

Vilela, a champion of Medicare for all, says she will never stop fighting. She also vows that her daughter’s death wasn’t in vain.

Out of the four women, only AOC is successful in her quest to unseat her opponent. Still, the film shows that amidst of the heart-breaking losses — we can hear Vilela’s sobs as the results roll in — change can happen. As AOC states, in an undeniably shocking moment after winning, we can meet the machine with a movement.

And even though I already knew how AOC’s primary election went, I shed a few tears, too.

It’s a dub: Like most American teens, AOC has quit using Facebook

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the 29-year-old Representative for New York’s 14th Congressional District and Democratic breakout star, announced Sunday that she had stopped using her Facebook account.

This departure from the social network by the Green New Deal champion mirrors social media trends among teen.

According to a study conducted in 2018, “roughly half of the nation’s teenagers say they use Facebook, compared to 71 percent in 2015.” Does this make the idea that Facebook is now just for old people and your crazy neighbor an actually fact?

Speaking on the Yahoo News podcast “Skullduggery,” AOC explained that she is scaling back her activity on all social media platforms, calling them a “public health risk.” AOC said that they affect users of all ages, and create “increased isolation, depression, anxiety, addiction [and] escapism.”

But Facebook specifically has been mired in scandal, especially as of late.

In Dec. 2018, it was revealed that the platform had been sharing millions of users private photos without their permission. Another report concluded that the platform had also been “offering more of its users’ data to companies including Microsoft and Amazon than it has admitted.”

Facebook is also deeply tied to the Trump campaign.

New York Times report detailed how Cambridge Analytica, a political data firm Trump hired for the 2016 election, “gained access to 50 million Facebook users as a way to identify the personalities of American voters and influence their behavior.”

Additionally, the report showed that the data firm received lots of funding from Breitbart nutcase and former Trump strategist Steve Bannon, who was eventually ousted for being too unhinged even for Trump. That’s when you know.

As a result of the scandal, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had to face the music, and endure 10 hours of questioning from Congressmen who were wildly out of touch with how Facebook works.


How Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is already shaking sh*t up in Congress

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, better known as AOC, is perhaps the most high-profile new member of Congress.

Many have followed her story since the 29-year-old child of Puerto Rican migrants and former waitress and bartender unseated a 10-term Congressman to win New York’s 14th congressional district. Indeed, three weeks before the Democratic primary election, the polls showed Cortez to be 36 points behind the incumbent.

Cortez, however, ended up defeating Joseph Crowley by 15 points and was a result that sent shock waves through the Democratic party. Her achievement does not simply demonstrate that polls are an unreliable indicator of election results — the election in 2016 already proved that.

Her remarkable achievement is owing to the fact that her “radical” platform connected with people.

For many, AOC has reinstalled hope in the democratic process for some Democrats, in addition to those who identify or are registered as independents, who have been discontent with the inaction of the political establishment.

Cortez is one of a formative new class of Congresswomen including, Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley and Ilhan Omar.

Yet, AOC’s story at its core is an underdog story. Moreover, it is the promise of the ‘American Dream’ — the recurrent message and reminder of our ability to rise up and excel during improbable circumstances —  a message that has been the discursive fabric of the U.S.

Attention, however, often does not come without scrutiny and criticism. Indeed, AOC has repeatedly had to ward off critics from both sides. Some moderate Democrats may have concerns that their party is moving “to the left, to the left,” while others are bemused by the amount of media coverage AOC has received.

For instance, Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), the two-term senator of Missouri described Ocasio-Cortez as “a bright and shiny new object” of the Democratic party and warned that translating rhetoric into policy and legislation is a much harder enterprise.

Conservatives have repeatedly attempted to slander the new Congresswoman. With critics hyper-focusing on her appearance and raised questions about her credibility, background and the factuality surrounding her Bronx upbringing.

As part of a smear campaign, a video of AOC dancing as a college student surfaced online. But instead of slandering the newly-elected Congresswoman, it became an internet sensation. In fact, AOC’s responded to the video dancing to the 1970 Motown classic “War” outside her Congressional office and the video earned 20 million views.

Since her election, her constituents have followed her journey to Washington and Ocasio-Cortez’s social media presence has garnered a huge following. She is a politician who has recognized that in our digital age, social media is a public sphere just as politicized as the streets have formerly served in this nation.

So, what draws people to the young Congresswoman? I think there is an overall desire amongst people for transparency and authenticity; concepts that are simultaneously rendered through the 29-year-old’s use of social media.

From her kitchen table Instagram stories, poking fun at the somewhat archaic customary traditions of the White House, offering a behind-the-scenes look of the life of a lawmaker, to dishing out facts surrounding the numerous institutional injustices and derogatory rhetoric repeatedly produced by the current administration, AOC is an important political presence and voice within the context of the domestic and global political climate.

Her use of social media on her first week on the job resembles that of an orientation day at college, not only making her relatable but is also likely encouraging other young people to participate in the democratic process.

Plus, her social media posts are also highly accessible, through both its content and form. On the request of advocates, AOC began adding captions for the deaf community and this move is another example of the 29-year-old’s inclusive platform and her investment of making sure that the voice’s of the most marginalized register to others. During her first week of office, AOC has already clearly set up her political agenda and is ready to have her rhetoric translate into policy.

Ocasio-Cortez has been able to draw the attention of a number of constituents, some of whom are new voters, through her policy platform that includes Medicare for all, a federal jobs guarantee for all Americans who want a job, along with a livable wage and abolishing the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Ocasio-Cortez has continued to show her influence in steering discourse, by proudly claiming the externally ascribed labels like “radical” and “socialist” — words that have been historically tainted in political discourse in the United States.

Yet, perhaps AOC can credit her colleague and fellow DSA member, Bernie Sanders, who during his presidential campaign trail, did a lot of work to help normalize the idea of a democratic socialist in the Oval Office.

In truth, the “radical” ideas and policies AOC endorses — in regards to healthcare, gun control, climate change, and the ridding of corporate money in politics — the majority of Americans actually do favor.

Additionally, AOC has become the face of the Green New Deal, which aims to make the U.S. 100 percent reliant on clean energy in a decade. Though the climate change legislation was originally viewed as a highly ambitious, it is now supported by nearly two dozen congressional colleagues.

If the legislation were to be passed, the Green New Deal will be funded by 70 % marginal tax rates on the wealthiest Americans. In other words, the tax is applicable to those who earn more than $10m, and any sum above the $10m would be taxed at a high rate. To put even more simply, if you don’t earn $10m, you’re good.

Yet, Republicans are invested in convincing people to not entertain the idea. They argue that the rich shouldn’t be taxed more and if they did, it would actually be more harmful to the rest of us, which is simply false.

AOC is also an outspoken critic of President 45.

Trump’s national address to the audience last night — that was rather a desperate and vehement attempt to strike fear into the hearts of the populous — was characterized by the false claim that there was a growing crisis at the southern border.

The address timely followed the broadcasting of the 60 minutes interview with the newly-elected Congresswoman. AOC was asked in the interview with Anderson Cooper Sunday night, whether she believed President Donald Trump was a racist. Her response:

“Yes, yes. No question. The president certainly didn’t invent racism,” she said. “But he’s also given a voice to it and expanded it and created a platform for those things. The words he uses, which are historic dog whistles of white supremacy.”

Even after receiving a backlash from the Oval Office, Ocasio-Cortez doubled down on her claim with this Tweet.

Her denouncing of Trump as a racist will, and already has dominated headlines. But a crucial part of the 60 minutes interview is the moment in which AOC is asked how she is going to fund the Green New Deal. In her answer, she exposed the hypocrisy and double standard when it comes to the way in which a politicians’ platform is received. She asserted,

“No one asks how we’re going to pay for this Space Force. No one asked how we paid for a $2 trillion tax cut,” she said. “We only ask how we pay for it on issues of housing, health care, and education. How do we pay for it? With the same exact mechanisms that we pay for military increases for this Space Force. For all of these ambitious policies.”

When her economic proposal was endorsed by Paul Krugman, economics Nobelist and New York Times columnist, the discourse on taxing the wealthy seemed, if only momentarily, feasible and reasonable, because it is.

As a consequence of her age and gender, Ocasio-Cortez is held at a different than other politicians. But this is not an atypical narrative for women who enter traditionally male-dominated spaces and industries.

As the second-longest government shutdown in U.S. history continues until Trump surrenders his plan to build is “beautiful” megalomaniac border wall, we should continue to look to the likes of AOC who shows hope and delivers an optimistic message about the present and our future.

As she declared in her late-night interview with Stephen Colbert, “Trump isn’t ready for a girl from the Bronx.”

With women of color taking charge, Congress is unlike ever before

January 3rd, 2019 marked a poignant and historic day in U.S. history as the 116th Congress swore in the most inclusive class of representatives ever.

Nancy Pelosi was elected speaker of the House and her election makes her one of just a few lawmakers to serve as speaker in two, non-consecutive Congresses. She last served as speaker from 2007-2011.

The fact that Pelosi will be at the helm of the House in the midst of a partial government shutdown is proof of the absurdity that has characterized Washington since Trump’s election.

The shutdown that has brought Capitol Hill to a halt since Christmas has left thousands of federal workers without pay. What’s more, the seizing of their income is on the account of Trump’s child-like tantrum over building his megalomanic border wall that had been the hallmark of his campaign trail.

Nonetheless, the partial government shutdown shouldn’t take away from this momentous day. The new Congress now boasts the largest number of women. In fact, there will be 102 women serving in Congress this term.

The Congressional Black Caucus and the Hispanic Caucus added more members than ever before. Connecticut and Massachusetts both electing their first-ever Black congresswomen. Jahana Hayes will represent Connecticut’s fifth district, while Ayanna Pressley, will represent Massachusetts’s seventh district. Additionally, Lauren Underwood became the youngest Black woman ever sworn into Congress.

In her speech, Pelosi described the occasion,

“It is a historic moment for the Congress, and a historic moment for the women of this country. It is a moment for which we have waited over 200 years. Never losing faith, we waited through the many years of struggle to achieve our rights. But women weren’t just waiting; women were working. Never losing faith, we worked to redeem the promise of America, that all men and women are created equal.”

Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) became the first Muslim women in Congress.

Tlaib is also the first Palestinian-American woman in the national legislature. She marked the historic occasion by wearing a thobe — a traditional Palestinian dress. Tlaib represents Michigan’s 13th Congressional District, which includes parts of Detroit and its surrounding suburbs.

Like fellow freshman, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Tlaib is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America. She has been a proponent of policies such as a $15 minimum wage, debt-free college, and Medicare-for-all, the abolishment of ICE and the impeachment of President Trump.

23 years ago, Omar was a refugee who came to the United States with her father. Now, she is the first Somali-American elected to Congress. She the first member of the US Congress to wear a hijab.

Rules were changed to allow Omar to wear a religious head covering on the floor of the House. Previously, there had been a 181-year ban on headwear.


View this post on Instagram


Hey, Ilhan’s dad here: Twenty three years ago, my family and I arrived at an airport in Washington DC. We were newly arrived refugees in this country, from a refugee camp in Kenya. I had heard about the promise of America, prosperity for all and hope for a better tomorrow. I could never have dreamed that twenty three years later I would return to the same airport with my daughter Ilhan by my side, the day before she is to be sworn in as the first Somali-American elected to the United States Congress. You, of course, can imagine how emotional this is and why I am incredibly proud of her. It’s an honor to have her represent me and our family is so humbled that Ilhan has the opportunity to serve in our democracy. I wish Ilhan’s grandfather could be here to witness this historic moment. He will be here in spirit as Ilhan will place her hand on his Quran for the ceremonial swearing in. Tomorrow, members of Ilhan’s team will be covering the events of the day. We all hope you will follow along and share in our excitement for what the New Year will bring. As Ilhan would say, forward together. Nur Mohamed #Hope #ilhan

A post shared by Ilhan Omar, Congresswoman MN05 (@ilhanmn) on

The first openly bisexual lawmaker, Rep. Krysten Sinema (D – Ariz) was also sworn into the Senate and had to faceoff with Vice President Mike Pence.

He is, of course, a vocal proponent of gay-conversion therapy and has passed laws (RFRA), that target LGBTQ people, making it easier for businesses and employers to discriminate against them.

On Thursday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), wore white in honor of the suffragists who fought for women’s right to vote. Cortez is the youngest woman ever elected to Congress.

She’s just 28-years-old and just to put that in perspective, the average age of a United States congressperson is around 60.  Following her surprise victory in the Democratic primaries over incumbent Joe Crowley in June, Cortez will represent New York’s 14th congressional district in the House of Representatives.

Her campaign platform included universal Medicare, abolishing ICE, gun control, a $15 minimum wage, and the end of private prisons.

Reps. Sharice Davids (D-Kan.) and Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) shared a touching moment as they embraced on the House floor, wiping away tears, as their presence signaled them as the first Native American women in Congress

In the immediate aftermath of the midterms elections, many quashed any notion of the results as a “blue wave.”

Sure, Democrats didn’t take hold of the Senate, but they did take hold of Congress. The new members of the 116th Congress signal that some things are changing in Washington for the better.

Plus, photos of the new House members demonstrate a huge gap in inclusivity between the political parties.

Given, that the House representatives of Republican Party are a homogeneous group of white older men, it is important that the rest of the House is a group that better reflect the diversity that composes our society.