Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez becomes vegetarian for Lent in memory of colleague Jamie Raskin’s late son

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Chelsea Ritschel
·3 min read
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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says she is giving up meat for Lent in honour of Jamie Raskin’s late son  (AFP via Getty Images)
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says she is giving up meat for Lent in honour of Jamie Raskin’s late son (AFP via Getty Images)

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has revealed she is giving up meat for Lent in honour of her colleague Jamie Raskin’s late son, who followed a vegan lifestyle.

On Wednesday, the New York lawmaker announced her intention to remember Tommy Raskin, who died on 31 December at the age of 25, in a Twitter thread, where she encouraged her more than 12.4m followers to join her.

“Ok everyone, I need help! A few weeks ago I told @RepRaskin that this year I wanted to adopt a vegetarian diet for Lent in memory of his son Tommy,” Ms Ocasio-Cortez wrote. “Jamie said: “Well you’d have to do it the way Tommy would, which means bring people along with you!”

In follow-up tweets, the 31-year-old first asked whether anyone “wants to join” her in giving up meat for the religious observance, which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends the night before Easter Sunday, before revealing that there are rules in order to do so.

“Rules are 1) No judgement 2) Make it your own (you can go full 40 days, just veggie Mondays, etc 3) Be inclusive (no need to observe Lent to join),” she tweeted.

For her second request, the congresswoman asked her followers to share their favourite veggie recipes so that she can avoid “40 days of Easy Mac”.

Ms Ocasio-Cortez also included a third request in her Twitter thread, asking her followers to consider giving or helping others “in the spirit of Tommy,” if they are in a position to do so.

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“If neither of the above apply but you are in a position to give or help others in this time, please consider doing so in the spirit of Tommy. He loved the world so much and dedicated his life to reducing suffering around the world,” she wrote.

The tweets, which have each been liked thousands of times, were met with hundreds of responses from people sharing their favourite vegetarian recipes and praising Ms Ocasio-Cortez for the gesture.

Mr Raskin shared that his son, a second-year student at Harvard Law School, had died following a battle with depression in early January.

At the time, he and his wife Sarah released a statement in which they referred to their son as “pure magic” and expressed their grief over his passing.

“Tommy was pure magic. His brilliance and compassion knew no bounds. He passionately loved his family, friends, and animals, and was devoted to the cause of the global poor. We are devastated and demolished to be without him,” the statement read.

Speaking to NPR after his son’s death, the congressman also opened up about Tommy’s love of animals, and how the 25-year-old’s eating habits influenced the entire family to become vegetarian.

“I mean, Tommy, he felt all of the pain and the suffering in the world, which is how, of course, he found his way quickly to vegetarianism. Nobody in our family was a vegetarian, and now everybody is,” he said.

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