Ocasio-Cortez speaks about 'justice' at Women's March

Ocasio-Cortez speaks about 'justice' at Women's March
© Stefani Reynolds

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezThe Memo: Trump's risky bid for attention Conservative former NFL player says Trump met with him to discuss 'black America' Louisiana police officer fired after saying on Facebook that Ocasio-Cortez 'needs a round' MORE (D-N.Y.) spoke at the Women's March in New York on Saturday even as the Democratic Party pulled its sponsorship of the rally over accusations of anti-Semitism aimed at the march's leaders.

Ocasio-Cortez told a cheering crowd Saturday that justice was "not a concept we read about in a book," while referencing issues of inequality such as vote access and unequal pay for women in the workplace.

"Justice is about the water we drink. Justice is about the air we breathe. Justice is about how easy it is to vote," Ocasio-Cortez said Saturday. "Justice is about if we can stay with our children after we have them for a just amount of time. Mothers, fathers, and all parents."

Her address at the third annual Women's March in New York comes as the movement has been criticized by some after one of the organizers, Tamika Mallory, refused to completely condemn Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan during a recent interview. Farrakhan has a history of anti-Semitic statements.

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Mallory's refusal to disassociate herself completely from Farrakhan led to the withdrawal of several Democrats who previously supported the march, including former Democratic National Committee chairwoman and Jewish congresswoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman SchultzDeborah (Debbie) Wasserman SchultzEpstein charges show Congress must act to protect children from abuse NYT: Don't make Acosta a political martyr Epstein charges put Trump Labor secretary back in spotlight MORE (D-Fla.).

"I cannot associate with the national march’s leaders and principles, which refuse to completely repudiate anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry," Wasserman Schultz wrote in an op-ed. "I cannot walk shoulder to shoulder with leaders who lock arms with outspoken peddlers of hate."

Ocasio-Cortez said Saturday during an interview with CNN, that it was "absolutely valid" to worry about anti-semitism from the Trump administration. 

"I think that concerns of anti-Semitism with the current administration in the White House are absolutely valid and we need to make sure that we are protecting the Jewish community and all those that feel vulnerable in this moment," she said. 

Other Democrats including Ocasio-Cortez's fellow New Yorker Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandHarris faces pressure to define policy proposals Democratic strategist predicts most 2020 candidates will drop out in late fall The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump hits media over 'send her back' coverage MORE issued statements condemning anti-Semitism but expressing support for the Women's March's broader goals.

"Senator Gillibrand strongly condemns anti-Semitism from anyone, in all forms, and believes it has no place in a movement for women's empowerment or anywhere else," Gillibrand's 2020 presidential campaign said in a statement.