- DISCOVER THE NETWORKS - Jan 17, 2021 -
Born in the Bronx, New York, on October 13, 1989, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was raised by a mother from Puerto Rico and a father who had graduated from the Pratt Institute and was a founder of Kirschenbaum & Ocasio-Roman Architects (KORA). Because of the father’s role in establishing the firm, KORA operated as a “certified minority business enterprise,” a designation that came with an assortment of significant privileges – most notably, special preference in the awarding of lucrative government contracts.
Beginning in 1991, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was raised in Yorktown Heights, an affluent, mostly-white town in Westchester County, New York. After her father died from cancer in September 2008, Ocasio-Cortez went on to earn degrees in both economics and international relations at Boston University. During her time as a student there, she also worked for the late Senator Ted Kennedy on matters involving immigration and foreign affairs.
After graduating from college in 2011, Ocasio-Cortez returned to her hometown and took jobs as a bartender and waitress to supplement her mother’s income as a house cleaner and bus driver. In 2012 she started a publishing company, Brook Avenue Press (BAP), which produced children’s books portraying the Bronx in a positive light. (The state of New York dissolved BAP in October 2016, which occurs when a business fails to file a tax return or pay its corporate taxes. On July 6, 2017, the state placed a warrant on the company for non-payment of corporate taxes. As of May 2020, BAP still owed $2,088.78,)
Ocasio-Cortez also began to establish herself as an effective community organizer, most notably as a result of her 2016 participation in protests against proposals to situate a portion of the Dakota Access [Oil] Pipeline within the confines of North Dakota’s Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Recognizing Ocasio-Cortez’s potential for eventually blossoming into an influential political figure, the newly formed leftist organization Brand New Congress contacted her and encouraged her to run for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. That same year, Ocasio-Cortez served as an organizer for Senator Bernie Sanders’s presidential bid.
In December 2017, Ocasio-Cortez spoke at a Black Lives Matter rally.
Congressional Campaign of 2018
In early 2018, Ocasio-Cortez launched a campaign for a U.S. House seat representing New York’s 14th Congressional District. When she first filed the necessary paperwork to become a candidate, she mistakenly declared that she was running to represent the neighboring 15th District; she corrected the error a number of days later.