Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez fired off a few tweets Monday morning about her statements at a Hanukkah party that her family has Jewish heritage.
She noted that many in Puerto Rico are descended from a mix of different ethnicities, including Spanish colonizers, African slaves and indigenous peoples.
“We are all of these things and something else all at once - we are Boricua,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote, using the designation for Puerto Rican popular among people who hail from the country.
Before everyone jumps one me - yes, culture isn’t DNA.
But to be Puerto Rican is to be the descendant of:
African Moors + slaves,
and likely others.
We are all of these things and something else all at once - we are Boricua. https://t.co/IFC4mwAjor— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Ocasio2018) December 10, 2018
Just because one concrete identity may not be how we think of ourselves today, nor how we were raised, it doesn’t mean we cannot or should not honor the ancestors + stories that got us here.
I was raised Catholic, & that identity is an amalgam too - especially in Latin America.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Ocasio2018) December 10, 2018
If anything, the stories of our ancestry give us windows of opportunity to lean into others, to seek them out, and see ourselves, our histories, and our futures, tightly knit with other communities in a way we perhaps never before thought possible.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Ocasio2018) December 10, 2018
At a menorah lighting hosted by Jews For Racial and Economic Justice in New York Sunday evening, Ocasio-Cortez said that she descends from crypto-Jews, or conversos — Jews who were forced to convert to Catholicism by the Spanish monarchy, but continued to practice Jewish customs in private.
“Generations and generations ago, my family consisted of Sephardic Jews,” Ocasio-Cortez said Sunday. “So many people practiced Catholism on the exterior but on the interior they continued to practice (Judaism).”