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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-CortezOcasio-Cortez defends Harry Styles wearing dress on Vogue cover: 'It looks wonderful' Democrats' squabbling vindicates Biden non-campaign GOP congresswoman-elect wants to form Republican 'Squad' called 'The Force' 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 SchultzOn The Money: Democrats accuse Mnuchin of sabotaging economy in dispute with Fed | Trump administration proposal takes aim at bank pledges to avoid fossil fuel financing | JPMorgan: Economy will shrink in first quarter due to COVID-19 spike OVERNIGHT ENERGY: House Democrats push Biden to pick Haaland as next Interior secretary | Trump administration proposal takes aim at bank pledges to avoid fossil fuel financing | Wasserman Schultz pitches climate plan in race to chair Appropriations Wasserman Schultz pitches climate plan in race to chair Appropriations 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 GillibrandDemocratic senators urge Facebook to take action on anti-Muslim bigotry Social media responds to Harris making history: 'I feel like our ancestors are rejoicing' Ocasio-Cortez says she doesn't plan on 'staying in the House forever' 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.