by Bernard P. Lawson, The Chicago Times

June 3, 2021

WASHINGTON — As New York City looks to confront a recent rise in violent crime, Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez urged Thursday that authorities should stop building jails and instead focus on underlying public health issues.

New York Democrats, including AOC, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, and Rep. Jamaal Bowman, have asked Congress to appropriate $400,000 for a program called Stand Up To Violence which aims to combat gun violence through therapy and community outreach. 

“If we want to reduce violent crime, if we want to reduce the number of people in our jails, the answer is to stop building more of them,” AOC said.

AOC and her colleagues are requesting congressional cash through a procedure known as “earmarking,” a recently revived procedure that allows politicians to funnel financial support for personal causes in their districts.  The Stand Up To Violence program is housed at a hospital in AOC’s congressional district.

The Democrats’ request comes as New York City deals with an increase in gun violence as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.  According to the New York Police Department, shootings were up 86 percent in May.

AOC has admitted that she supports therapy and has even committed herself to using psychotherapy to cope with the “extraordinary traumatizing” events of Jan 6th at the US Capitol.  AOC said she did not know if she was going to live to the end of the day.  Perhaps she can tell her story to the residents of Chicago who live that fear daily and do not have the same protection.

Bernard P. Lawson, National Political Reporter/Columnist for The Chicago Times.  Views and comments expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the official position of The Chicago Times.