To Honor Tommy Raskin, Ocasio-Cortez Asks Others to Join Her in Vegetarian Diet for Lent

Courtesy: Raskin Family

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) wants to honor Rep. Jamie Raskin’s (D-MD 8) late son, Tommy, for Lent and she wants others to join in, too.

Wednesday night, AOC, as she is commonly called, said on Twitter that she will adopt a vegetarian diet for Lent in memory of Tommy, who his parents said was a passionate vegan. According to Ocasio-Cortez, Raskin told her, “Well you’d have to do it the way Tommy would, which means bring people along with you!”

She asked others to join her and has three rules: no judgement, you can make it your own and don’t have to be vegetarian for the full 40 days, and you don’t need to observe Lent to join in. For those who don’t participate, AOC asks them to consider helping or giving to others in the spirit of Tommy.

“He loved the world so much and dedicated his life to reducing suffering around the world,” she said.

In a Jan. 4 essay on Medium, Jamie Raskin and his wife, Sarah, said Tommy became a Teaching Assistant at Harvard Law School in fall 2020, where he attended. He gave away half of his teaching salary away to purchase mosquito nets with global charities, to save people with malaria. On top of that, Tommy made individual donations in each of his student’s names to several organizations targeting global hunger.

“When I asked him why he did this, he quoted something that he loved which Father Daniel Berrigan said about Dorothy Day: ‘she lived as though the truth were true.’ Tommy said: ‘I wanted them to see that the truth is true.’”

He was tortured by a “disease called depression.” Tommy died on New Year’s Eve 2020; he was 25 years old.

“We have barely been able to scratch the surface here, but you have a sense of our son. Tommy Raskin had a perfect heart, a perfect soul, a riotously outrageous and relentless sense of humor, and a dazzling radiant mind,” the Raskins said.

Tommy’s parents said he was a “radiant light in this broken world.”

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Maryam Shahzad

About Maryam Shahzad

Maryam is a reporter with Montgomery Community Media. She graduated from the University of Maryland in 2019 with a bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism. Previously, she was an intern with MCM. She can be reached at or on Twitter @maryam_mcm.


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