Who can be considered a hero? Every individual will have a different understanding on who deserves to be called a hero, but the Merriam-Webster provides two definitions that, to me, are worth discussing.
Firstly, a hero is defined as someone that is “admired for achievements and noble qualities”. It is also someone “who shows great courage”. These are very broad and simple ways to define heroism, and one person in particular comes to mind when reading said definitions:
I am not here to sing the praises of the American Congresswoman, nor to convince you that she needs to be recognized as a hero. You can come to your own truth about the matter. However, to me, she embodies all the qualities one can use to judge a hero.
Who is Ocasio-Cortez? She’s a woman of color. She’s from the working class. These two characteristics, as I will always argue, already define her as a person of great courage, for to navigate society, especially in the USA, while being a working class woman of color is in itself an act of resistance.
However, she takes this a step further. Ocasio-Cortez is, before anything else, an activist and an organizer. She has recognized the structures that actively work against her and people of all kinds, and has made it her life’s work to dismantle them, in order to give everyone a fair chance.
She managed the pull the biggest upset victory in the 2018 midterm elections in the United States by running an inclusive and progressive platform. As a Congresswoman, she has stayed true to her activism, and her work for the disadvantaged. Whether you agree with her politics or not, she is one of the greatest examples of determination, courage and grassroot work in our lifetime.
However, to me personally, Ocasio-Cortez is a hero simply because she inspires.
Heroes are moral compasses, people to look up to and strive to be like while maintaining our sense of individuality. Heroes, in their paths, inspire us to do better, to follow our ambitions.
Ocasio-Cortez has inspired me to believe in myself. If she could do it, why couldn’t I, a person with a similar background, achieve my goals with as much courage and dedication as she? Why couldn’t I organize my community, my brothers and sisters, be an elected official, and uplift those who have uplifted me?
In a world where little brown girls from humble beginnings don’t have anyone to represent them, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has given us the hope necessary for us to use our voice, and that burgeoning hope that swells in our chest will give birth to the strongest generation of women you’ll ever hear of.
Are you ready to hear us scream? For one day, I, and others like me, will be heroes.
Written by: Natalia Ibanez