In now viral footage of remarks from a Monday night vigil for victims of mass shootings in Texas and Ohio this past weekend, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez appealed directly to the growing number of Americans who are “falling into the grips of white supremacy” in an effort to combat divisiveness and hatred with a message of love.
“What I have to say to the young men and increasingly some of the young women in this country… that find themselves getting radicalized in a funnel of vitriol towards Latinos, towards immigrants, towards African Americans, towards all people black, towards all people Jewish, towards all people of different faiths, what I have to say to you is, come back,” said Ocasio-Cortez. “Because there is a mother waiting for you. I know it.”
“I know there’s a teacher waiting for you, saying, ‘What happened to my kid? What happened to my friend?'” the New York congresswoman continued. “And we will always be here and hold space for you to come back. We will love you back. You are not too far gone.”
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Ocasio-Cortez’s speech spread quickly online, with nearly two million people viewing the clip since it was posted Tuesday.
The New York Democrat also spoke bluntly about President Donald Trump’s hate-filled rhetoric, saying there is no reason to ask whether the president is a racist.
“When we allude to people as an invasion, as an infestation, we are directly pulling from the language of white supremacy,” said Ocasio-Cortez. “So I don’t want to hear the question, ‘Is this president racist?’ anymore. He is.”
Ocasio-Cortez’s direct confrontation of the threat of white supremacy in the United States contrasted sharply with the message of Fox News host and Trump favorite Tucker Carlson, who said Tuesday night that white supremacy is a “hoax,” a “conspiracy theory,” and “actually not a real problem in America.”
“This is a hoax, just like the Russia hoax,” Carlson said just days after a white supremacist gunman opened fire in an El Paso Walmart, killing 22 people. “It’s a conspiracy theory used to divide the country and keep a hold on power. That’s exactly what’s going on.”
During the vigil in Brooklyn Monday, Ocasio-Cortez said the United States needs to “go deep” to solve the nation’s gun violence crisis.
“This is not just about assault weapons,” said the congresswoman. “This is about gun violence in all of our communities. So whether it’s from misogyny or whether it’s from racism, you’re not more of a man with a gun. You’re not more of a man if you are capable of violence.”
“You are not stronger if you tear another life down. We have to make sure we address that in our culture,” she continued. “Fixing this is about fixing the laws, but it’s about addressing our culture. We’re gonna have to go deep. We need to go deep. Because it’s not just those that have succumbed to hate that have to change. We need to learn to love bigger, to bring them back.”
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