The 2018 midterm election is one of the most important turning points in today’s society. It set a record for unimaginable candidates to the lead. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez being one of them was the youngest running woman in Congress. She is today’s figure of leadership and image of a strong woman. For a working-class American, Ocasio’s campaign and future in politics were considered raising high standards, expectancy and connoted a challenge to overcome. What is most admirable is the process of her upbringing in her election to Congress while dealing with the economic crisis, the death of her father, and employing two minimum wage paying jobs in order to afford health care insurance and stability. These challenges are what represents the depth of an individual’s courageous act in committing to endure past it. Although it has been a long journey, for the first time in almost fourteen years, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign is providing the first primary election in New York City. Sometimes in life, especially for those that grow up ‘underprivileged’, raised through low-income economic status and minimal social support have no choice, but to be the first. As the first, youngest female in congress election, first-generation college student, socialist activist, educator, born and raised in the Bronx by immigrant mother of Puerto-Rican background and father from the South Bronx has led to the upbringing of her political movement for the working class. Ocasio is, as many would remark an ‘unapologetic champion’ for the working class (CBC This Morning, 2018 June 2017). In a morning edition interview, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, extended her message across many nations particularly within the USA, with the courage and purpose for the formation for a new establishment that ‘charts a vision for the future of America that would be useful for everyday people struggling to make ends meet’, Ocasio states. She became an inspiration for the working class, helped raise a voice to feminism, and the Latin community through her constant devotion, humor, integrity, intelligence, retable background, but mainly in her rawness and rebellious acts on the issues mattering within our time and in the near future.
As a progressive democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has helped built a relation in the turning point over issues pertaining to health care matters, education for all, and income inequality. Her moving message towards the great social and economic mobility of this nation, United States of America, rises above today’s leader’ delivery for change to ‘Make America Great Again’. Ocasio-Cortez’s political revolution welcomed a vision of power, new energy and encouragement to speak up about the issues many politicians in Congress were afraid or discouraged to upheld in their political approach. An exceptional leadership attributes Ocasio-Cortez demonstrates having is the ‘courage for change’ and not letting a zip code dictate her destination, being a born and raised Puerto Rican in the Bronx. Running for Congress as someone of the working class background with no access to economic support and social connections was not part of Ocasi-Cortez’s plan, but somehow her visual message connected with the public she oath to serve and represent. Throughout all of her public speeches before the primary race and after being elected to Congress has been a modernization of new approach to political issues today. Under the fundamentally broken system we have today, due to unreasonable executive party influencer holding hostage the American constitutional laws abided by the nation since March 4, 1789 became a turn out focus for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign to raise awareness for the bended principles of economic, social, and racial status of everyday people in America.
This country was founded on liberal ideals to ‘establish justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity’ under the constitution (n.a. Preamble Constitution 1789). I believe leadership is waking the unimaginable truth across a country where many became silenced, hidden figures, feared into obeyance, shadowed and eventually forgotten. Leadership is being truthful to oneself, it is having the courage and finding resilience throughout daily struggles. I believe these three elements are critical in having both effective and productive leadership. Truthfulness is supported when leaders choose to uncover the ugly veil of a nation that comes in the form of unequal pay, racial and religious prejudice, climate change, economic crisis and lack of affordable healthcare act. It is walking with a ‘no-excuse, moral and unapologetic’ attitude. As nurses, we encounter this principle when we set our liability to perform righteous and holistic health care for the patients we care for. It helps mold our relationship and communication when working with others. At work and during clinical rotations, these elements and attitude have geared a sense of respect, patience, appreciation, kindness, and unity as team members.
Leadership also comes in the form of courage. It is having a ‘fearless’ attitude, by shutting down the voices that consistency say ‘you cannot’. Before having leadership, one must first face and overcome the obstacles that help to shape the process of our role as leaders. It is an ever learning process. This can only be understood when bending to divergent views and being positive that darker days can also come with brighter ones. When asking my family, friends and clinical group about my leadership skills and styles, ‘Do you think my attitude can be considered a form of expression, courage or a challenge to work with?’, most agreed that it is a mixture of all three. This is because my attitude is a form of expression of who I am and my character. In the challenging situations within my past clinical rotations, I became overwhelmed with the tasks in the unit, yet that never kept me from backing down from any stressful situation. It only helped me find more purpose in this field and the courage to act out as a leader and team member while maintaining a positive attitude. On the other hand, my family finds my leadership style revolutionary because it comes with change and resilience. Having these leading styles has helped me find strength and not fear those changes involved.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a highly admirable figure for many reasons. Starting with our relatable background being both ‘Latinas’, women, feminist, and raised in the Bronx, facing daily obstacles to make it out of a zip code that defines the little opportunity for those not born into a wealthy and powerful family. Ocacio-Cortez said, ‘Politics was not part of the plan’ just as nursing was not for me at one point in my life. I believe both Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and I have found resilience in education and healthcare. For her, it is a political movement for change. However, for me is an unimaginable opportunity to become the ‘first’ in my family to graduate college, involved in the field of medicine, while enduring personal and emotional challenges. We have both courageously championed our childhood struggles to accomplish more than what our family has with lack of opportunities.
Coming from a small Caribbean island, known as Quisqueya, at the age of six-years-old into a new culture only speaking one language and a country that abided to more equal opportunities and keeping families united was a drastic change. This was not the case for my family. In the process of my upbringing in New York City, particularly the Bronx, it became a culture of circumstances and living conditions that unfolded my own identity. Growing up, I had practiced and valued my cultural background coming from the Dominican Republic, while slowly fighting the current of developing a new sense of identity in America and assimilating to change. In embracing what I had learned back in the Dominican Republic and struggling with new life opportunities in the ‘Big Apple’ of New York City, is what allowed my evolvement and adaptation to leadership. It was through educational opportunity, language barrier, immigration status, facing daily challenges, lack of economic support, and family’s melting-pot of health issues that made life a bit challenging and a learning experience. I learned to belong to two cultures and it molded my own sense of leadership, which is staying true to myself, having the courage and finding resilience. These leadership styles continue to shape and evolve my identity as a nurse in the healthcare field.