For some, January might mean getting started on those new year resolutions. For others, it represents the series finale of Game of Thrones. Well, for me, this month is all about new, diverse faces joining Congress, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's tweet before being sworn in is hitting me right in the feels.
Thursday, Jan. 3 marks a historic day in United States politics. Not only will the Democratic party take over the House of Representatives for the first time since 2011, but a slew of fresh new faces will officially be sworn into Congress. However, what makes this swearing in ceremony different than most is that among those recent-elects, over 100 women will be sworn in to the 116th Congress.
To celebrate this monumental day, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who represents the youngest woman to ever serve in Congress, took to Twitter to share an inspirational message and photo in anticipation of the swearing in ceremony. In the photo, Ocasio-Cortez poses alongside her fellow congresswoman-elects Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, Sharice Davids, Veronica Escobar, and Deb Haaland. The photo was initially used as a part of Vanity Fair's article about key political players, with photographer Martin Schoeller capturing this iconic image.
The photo alone will definitely give you chills, but just to add fuel to the flame Ocasio-Cortez also added a caption that read: "Sí, se puede," which translates to "Yes, you can." Be still my heart.
In case you aren't familiar with the incredible ladies featured in this photo, you better start doing some research. Not only will Ocasio-Cortez be the youngest woman to be elected to Congress, but there were a number of "firsts" that happened as a result of the midterms. For one, Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland will be the first two Native American congresswomen, Ayanna Presley is the first African-American congresswoman from Massachusetts, Veronica Escobar represents the first Latina congresswoman from Texas, and Ilhan Omar (along with Rashida Tlaib) will be the first Muslim women in Congress. And these are just a few of the female politicians that totally broke barriers during the 2018 midterm elections.
Safe to say, that's a historic feat, and the amount of power and determination coming from this photo... it's a little overwhelming to be honest. But wait, because there's more. In addition to those incredible "firsts," there will 42 women sworn in as freshmen members of Congress, and 100 women being sworn in overall. The future is looking very female, and it couldn't be any brighter.
Judging from the new faces entering Congress, there's no denying that change is on the horizon. However, there's still a lot of work to be done in regards to gender equality in politics, especially since there's still a very old-fashioned stereotype of what a "politician" looks like. Just take Ocasio-Cortez's November 2018 tweet for example, when she shared that she kept getting mistaken for an "intern" or "spouse" while walking around Capitol Hill for her orientation. Ultimately, politics is still heavily skewed towards middle-aged, white men, and they represent the norm among the political elite. However, with all these women officially joining Congress, that norm may look a lot different by the end of the year.
Political stances aside, let's hope 2019 serves as the year where inclusion and diversity takes center stage. I don't know about y'all, but I have a good feeling about this year.