Rep.Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez sported a Black Panther shirt in an Instagram post Wednesday touting the organization’s influential early 1970s free food program.
“Did you know: If you or anyone you know ever benefited from free & reduced school lunch, you’ve likely benefited from the work and legacy of the Black Panthers?” Ocasio-Cortez said in the post to her Instagram story.
The militant organization launched the “People’s Free Food Program” back in Oakland in 1969 as a way to both improve its image and feed students breakfast before school in marginalized communities of color.
While the federal government had begun piloting free meals for students several years earlier, the Black Panther program had helped push the government into instituting the policy nationwide in 1975, according to a History Channel article AOC shared in her stories.
“It was so popular that communities started to feel that in key areas like child hunger, the Panthers were caring for their children better than the government was,” AOC went not.
The firebrand progressive representing the Bronx and Queens said the program had “inspired” her office’s own coronavirus food relief program, while calling out the federal government for not doing enough during the crisis.
“[W]e’ve raised and distributed over $1 MILLION in food & direct aid to people when the Fed Gov wouldn’t (and still won’t) help,” she wrote in a follow-up post to her Instagram story.
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