Who Is Blanca Ocasio-Cortez, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's Mom?

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a force to be reckoned with. The youngest woman to ever be sworn into Congress hails from the Bronx, identifies as a Democratic socialist, and has been one of the most talked-about people in D.C. since day one. And the Congresswoman often references her mom, Blanca Ocasio-Cortez, as being a particularly positive part of her life.

"Mami mopped floors, drove school buses, + answered phones. She did whatever she needed to do, for me," remembered the congresswoman in a touching Instagram post. It's true—her mom has an inspiring story. So, what do we know about it?

She's from Puerto Rico.

According to Ocasio-Cortez, Blanca lived in poverty in Puerto Rico and raised her siblings while her own mother worked. Blanca later met her husband, Sergio Ocasio, who was originally from the Bronx, and the couple moved to America after getting married in Puerto Rico.

She's worked hard to provide for her family.

Ocasio-Cortez has said, "My parents started from scratch: new languages, new life, new everything." Her dad founded an architectural firm, and Blanca helped make ends meet with secretarial and cleaning work.

Ocasio-Cortez's brother Gabriel once posted a picture of the young family:

She's a single mom.

After Ocasio passed away in 2008 from lung cancer, Blanca became the family's breadwinner. The family was struggling financially for a time, and Alexandria worked as a waitress to help make ends meet.

Blanca says that's where her daughter got her passion and connection to the issues she fights for. "She is fighting for our community,” Blanca said. "She is fighting for the working class. She is fighting for immigrants. We can relate to that. We are working class. We did struggle. We know what struggle means.”

She's supported her daughter's passion.

“Her aspiration is to be the president,” Blanca told the New York Post. “She has been thinking about politics since she was a teenager. She would read historical and political books old and new,” Blanca said.

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And Blanca always knew this would happen. “She would engage in political discussions passionately.” she told the New York Times, "There was nobody who could shut her up. I saw the political tendencies since she was very, very young.”

She campaigned for Ocasio-Cortez.

Blanca spent a few days on the campaign trail and compared her daughter's win to David vs. Goliath. “It’s just incredible,” the proud mom said at the time. “I believed she would do it, but so soon—it was shocking.”

She held the Bible at Ocasio-Cortez's swearing-in.

Ocasio-Cortez posted a truly, truly touching Instagram in which she thanked her mother. "As I raised my hand for the oath, my mother held the holy book & looked into [Nancy Pelosi]'s eyes. Afterwards, the Speaker said to her “you must be so proud,” and my mother began to cry," she said.

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What can I possibly say except thank you? So many people sacrificed so much for this to happen - my mother most of all. . My mamá was born + raised in Puerto Rico. She practically raised her siblings in poverty while her own mother worked nonstop to provide food and shelter. She met my father, a Bronx boy visiting isla family, at a young age. They married + moved to NYC - she didn’t even speak English. My parents started from scratch: new languages, new life, new everything. Then came me, and they moved to start over again so I could have an education. Mami mopped floors, drove school buses, + answered phones. She did whatever she needed to do, for me. When my father died, she was left a single mother of 2, and again she had to start over. After he passed we almost lost our home, so we sold it and started over. & over. & over. . It wasn’t long ago that we felt our lives were over; that there were only so many do-overs until it was just too late, or too much to take, or we were too spiritually spent. I was scrubbing tables + scooping candle wax after restaurant shifts & falling asleep on the subway ride home. I once got pickpocketed, & everything I earned that day was stolen. That day I locked myself in a room and cried deep: I had nothing left to give, or to be. And that’s when I started over. I honestly thought as a 28 year old waitress I was too late; that the train of my fulfilled potential had left the station. . This week I was sworn in as the youngest woman in American history to serve in the United States Congress. I hope that record is broken again soon. As I raised my hand for the oath, my mother held the holy book & looked into @SpeakerPelosi’s eyes. Afterwards, the Speaker said to her “you must be so proud,” and my mother began to cry. . It was not long ago that our family’s hope was so dim it was barely an ember. Darkness taught me transformation cannot solely be an individual pursuit,but also a community trust. We must lean on others to strive on our own. . Thank you all. Whether it was late nights, hard days, pocket change, emotional investment, hard & soft skills, door knocking in the heat or petitioning in the bitter cold - we did this together.

A post shared by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@ocasio2018) on

Alexandria added, "It was not long ago that our family’s hope was so dim it was barely an ember. Darkness taught me transformation cannot solely be an individual pursuit, but also a community trust."


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