For Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), a recent Tibetan New Year event was a chance not only to celebrate Tibetan heritage but also to extol the Tibetan-American community’s vital role in the country’s future.
“I believe that the Tibetan community in its integration and in its fellowship with the American community, as part of the American community, is part of charting our path forward together as a country,” the first-term Representative said at an event on Feb. 9, 2019 in her home district hosted by The Tibetan Community of New York and New Jersey. “So I’m so proud to work with the community and translate those values into Washington, DC and into the laws of our land.”
Ocasio-Cortez posted a photo of herself playing with a Tibetan child to her Instagram account, garnering more than 216,000 likes and 2,200 comments by Feb. 12.
The caption for the image began with the greeting “Losar Tashi Delek!” which Tibetans use on Losar, the start of their New Year.
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Losar Tashi Delek! Spent this morning with our NY-14 Tibetan community to celebrate Lunar New Year ✨ This little one and I were playing with giving each other Tibetan white scarves, or Khatas, which are auspicious tokens given to honor others on holidays and special occasions. We had so much fun! 💜
“AOC,” as she’s known to her many followers, was joined at the event by State Sens. Jessica Ramos and John C. Liu and New York City Councilman Daniel Dromm.
Ocasio-Cortez was not the only newly elected member of Congress to celebrate Losar with the Tibetan American community. Rep. Ben McAdams (D-Utah) posted pics on Twitter of his participation in a celebration with the Utah Tibetan Association in Salt Lake City.
Celebrating #losar with Utah’s Tibetan community. #UtahTibetanAssociation #utpol #happylosar pic.twitter.com/WJIDStHmJY
— Rep. Ben McAdams (@RepBenMcAdams) February 10, 2019
On Feb. 8, the Office of the Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues hosted a Losar event inside the US State Department where officials reaffirmed America’s support for the Tibetan people.
In New York, Ocasio-Cortez was presented with both a khata, a Tibetan white scarf, and a thangka, a traditional Tibetan painting.
Standing before an image of Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, she said she had been thinking about connections between communities on her way to the event.
When she got there and was introduced to Tibetans’ salty butter tea, she was struck by how it tasted exactly like her grandmother’s rice soup from Puerto Rico.
“It was a beautiful, little moment and reminder about how we are all connected,” she said. “One way or another, we are all connected.”
The Congresswoman then hinted at how Tibetans’ ancient culture of wisdom can help create solidarity and benefit everyone in the wider community and beyond.
“One of the things that I love so much about why we are coming here today are the core values and core Tibetan and cultural values, core human values of lovingkindness, compassion, the connectedness of all sentient beings,” she said, “and the fact that we have a duty to fight for one another and protect one another no matter our superficial differences.”
Watch Ocasio-Cortez speak at a Losar Tibetan New Year celebration in New York.