Columban Contest Winning Paper: “The Sisterhood of Intersectionality”

Jessica Saxon

Jessica Saxon, from St George’s College, Weybridge, won first prize for UK entries in the Columban Schools Competition on the topic: ‘Everyone Can Make a Difference: 21st Century Changemakers’. She wrote about American politician and Catholic Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, described by a judge as “barnstorming writing”, and she was encouraged to enter by her ER teacher, Mr. McAndrew. Jessica says, “Only by those who are brave enough – people like AOC and the person I want to be – can we inspire young minds to stand up for equality for all.”

Maybe it was in Malay class when someone asked me if I was Chinese because my eyes were thin and long. Or maybe it was in RE when all the boys in my class protested after I claimed one of my peers was sexist for implying that all women want to show off and seek male validation. Or even when a man three times my age had trapped me in the corner of a restaurant sitting at the edge of my booth discussing Harry Potter – he definitely had no other ideas, no. is this not ? It wasn’t until 2020 that I really understood the fact that I was going to be targeted for the rest of my life because of my skin color and gender.

Overwhelmed, I spent a few months keeping my thoughts to myself because I didn’t want the boys to hate me. That’s until I realized that I was just proving my classmate RE’s point: I was looking for the approval of the boys in my class despite the fact that they were just people who didn’t. had never learned differently in a social stratification steeped in patriarchal ideologies. Three months later, I had entered the pandemic fearing that it would hamper my ability to develop my critical thinking and prevent me from scratching the plot itch I had, silently feeding in the back of my mind ever since. that I am a child – I was completely wrong.

I had discovered Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She is not a feminist but rather someone who explores white superiority institutionalized within mainstream feminism and strives to develop it further into a modern movement filled with justice for every woman. She strives to recruit girls from a young age to help build a global understanding of intersectional feminism, hoping to shape Gen Z to bring young minds into people who stand against white male expectations. and able-bodied cis-hets who lived centuries ago.

In an impassioned speech regarding explicit biases within medicine, Ocasio-Cortez referenced her religious faith, opposing the rationale for neglecting people of one race, sex, or race. different sexuality. Referring to the abuse of power that prevails behind religious freedom in the United States, she states, “the only time religious freedom is invoked is in the name of bigotry and discrimination.” In one sentence, Ocasio-Cortez is able to highlight the history of discriminatory gaslighting within the American healthcare industry, although it touches on a global spectrum. Janice A. Sabin, PhD, a University of Washington professor who studies implicit biases in health care, tells Today in an article — about the dismissal that floods the medical care black women receive — that “pain is an area of ​​implicit bias”. have an impact because it’s an extremely subject area.” Ocasio-Cortez acknowledges this and draws attention to its inequitable nature.

She points to the fact that some “defenders” have done this before and used religious liberty to account for other horrific events in history. “It’s very hard to sit here and listen to the arguments of this country’s long history of using scripture, weaponizing and abusing scripture, to justify bigotry. White supremacists have done it , those who justified slavery did it, those who fought against integration did that, and we see it today.” I think his way of expressing himself is one of the best. She reflects on her own personal beliefs to logically manipulate arguments, manifesting the rationale behind her reasoning, while acknowledging that her counterparts may disagree, repeatedly beginning her sentences with “In my faith…” She expands on the idea that all people are sacred in their own right and should be treated with the same respect that she wishes to be treated with herself. “There is nothing sacred about rejecting medical care from people, no matter who they are, because of their identity. There is nothing sacred about dismissing someone from a hospital. There is nothing sacred about rejecting a child from a family. There is nothing sacred about writing discrimination into law.”

Ocasio-Cortez carries herself with a certain elegance and speaks with such sincerity, convincing onlookers that she is right. She takes matters into her own hands and takes the bliss (Matthew 5:6) “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied”, to another level as she continually gathers women around the world to be one part of the intersectionality fellowship, leaving no one behind. What elevates the power that Ocasio-Cortez exudes, in my opinion, is her ability to draw direct attention to people who confronted her in problematic and immature ways. In a speech combating misogyny, Ocasio-Cortez denounces a former President of the United States for approaching her with racially motivated remarks, “…the President of the United States last year told me to to go home to another country with the implication that I don’t even belong in America.”

By doing this, Ocasio-Cortez actively encourages others to uplift. She encourages others to speak out against their injustices, in a special language that tells women their stories are worth telling. It raises awareness of a multitude of socio-economic issues and proves that women have something to say and that they can say it. She greatly inspired me – and many others – and I would be grateful to have even a little of her bravery and confidence.

If Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez can overcome every woman’s worst nightmare and survive, who says I can’t either?

Key words: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Columban Competition, Jessica Saxon, St George’s College, Weybridge

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