Astoria, Queens — On the bustling street corner of Ditmars Boulevard and 31st Street, one young woman stands out among the crowd. 26-year-old, Hind Sophia, is spotted wearing a bright blue “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez” t-shirt. Running on just a few hours of sleep, she still manages to flash a bright smile and hold a rambunctious puppy in her arms.
The pre-med, New York University alum, has taken to the streets to head the Ocasio campaign. “She’s only 28!” Hind tells of Ocasio’s success. “She’s barely older than me. And she’s going to be elected to serve in Congress.”
When Hind is not working on the Ocasio campaign, she works in a cancer research lab. “My parents wanted me to be a doctor,” she said. “Doctors help individuals. I went into research because I wanted to help a larger group of people.”
Hind got her start in the political world during Obama’s presidential campaign when she bravely canvassed door-to-door in her home state of Pennsylvania. Hind says her goal “is to work in Public Policy because that helps the largest group of people of all.”
On the gloomy Friday morning leading up to the election, Hind came prepared. Her canvas bag was overflowing with Ocasio posters, fliers, and pins in both English and Spanish.
Hundreds of people pass by, many keeping their heads down and headphones in, some refusing to even acknowledge her presence. But Hind stood on that corner, unwavering, with a smile on her face and a flyer in her hand. “It’s exhausting,” she said. “But the one person who does stop, makes this worth it.”
A mother pushing her son in a stroller stopped to tell Hind about her family traditions. “We love voting days,” she said. “Our whole family goes to vote, and then we celebrate with burgers.”
Some passerbyers, on the other hand, are not so friendly with their approach. “Communist!” A white, middle-aged man yelled to Hind from across the street. Still, the smile on her face remains. She took a deep breath, and prepared for battle. The two of them talked for quite some time before shaking hands and going their separate ways. “We need people to vote. That’s first and foremost. Who they choose to vote for comes second and I’m glad he’s voting.” She let out a heavy sigh, exhausted from hours of rejection, and then announced, “I need to refuel. Let’s grab some coffee.”
A now fully-caffeinated Hind once again took to the streets to canvass for Ocasio, this time visiting shops and restaurants along 31st Street, asking owners and managers to put up Ocasio posters in windows. Once again, Hind was met with more “no’s” then “yes’,” but nevertheless, the smile did not leave her face. She trudged on, stopping at nothing to find the one store that would agree to put her poster in the window. “Look it’s my poster!” she exclaimed as she passed by an Ocasio poster hanging outside of a Liquor store.
“I am Muslim. I am a woman. And I represent America.” Hind says. “This is why I’m out here. I am the future.”