Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) recently gave a speech in which she made an appeal to white supremacists. On Aug. 6, the congresswoman retweeted a video of her speaking about white supremacy in front of a crowd and tweeted a message to let white supremacists know it's not too late to change. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez's speech to white supremacists is a passionate and inspiring message.
In the tweet where she re-shared the video of the speech, Ocasio-Cortez wrote, "Here’s what we have to say to all of America’s men and women falling in the grips of hatred and white supremacy: Come back. It’s not too late. You have neighbors and loved ones waiting, holding space for you. And we will love you back." In the two-minute, 19-second video posted by NowThis, the congresswoman started by talking about President Trump, saying, "I don't want to hear the question 'is this president racist?' anymore. He is."
What came next was both inspiring and surprising. Ocasio-Cortez started speaking directly to white supremacists. She said,
To the young men and increasingly some of the young women in this country that are falling into the grips of white supremacy, 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.
She then continued with an appeal to the same white supremacists she started speaking to, telling them to "come back."
What I have to say to you is come back. 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?" 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 and I know that this society is isolating, I know that this society creates depression, I know that the lack of opportunity here, from Brownsville to El Paso.
She ended with a passionate statement on masculinity and gun violence saying, "you're not more of a man with a gun."
This is not just about assault weapons. 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're capable of violence, you're not stronger if you tear another life down. We have to make sure we address that in our culture. Fixing this is about fixing the laws, it's about addressing the culture. We're going to have to go deep. We need to go deep. Because it's not just those who have succumbed to hate that need to change. We need to learn to love bigger to bring them back.
The powerful speech wasn't the first time Ocasio-Cortez took on white supremacy after the El Paso, Texas shooting. On Aug. 10, the congresswoman tweeted, "White supremacists were responsible for *ALL* race-based domestic terrorism in 2018. 100%," and called the Trump administration, "a white supremacist administration." On Aug. 7, she posted a long Twitter thread calling white supremacy a virus and "often subconscious."
It's likely that she and other progressive politicians will continue talking about white supremacy and creating strategy to eliminate it in the United States for the foreseeable future.