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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez marches during the Bronx's pride parade in the Bronx borough of New York City, New York, U.S., June 17, 2018. Picture taken June 17, 2018. (REUTERS/David Delgado)


The Week in Women: Candidate scores a surprise win, Saudi Arabia ends driving ban and Melania goes back to the border

June 29, 2018

Break out the confetti, because this week’s newsletter is all about successes and triumphs. Let’s review:

A woman from Brazil who is seeking asylum in the U.S. was reunited with her 9-year-old son on Thursday after she sued the Trump administration and won. A federal judge in Chicago ordered Lidia Karine Souza’s son, Diogo, to be released from the detention center where he had been held for the last four weeks. Souza hadn’t seen Diogo in a month and the two were limited to just brief phone calls while they were apart. She was released from custody in Texas on June 9, but Diogo remained in Chicago. Through a translator, Diogo told reporters what it was like being separated from his mother for so long. “I cried almost every day I wasn’t with my mother,” he said. To others in her situation, of whom there are many, Souza advised, “Don’t give up, be persistent.” Oh, how we love a persister.

Melania Trump visited a detention facility along the U.S. border for the second time in as many weeks, as part of what her spokesperson described as an effort “to learn and educate herself” about the impact of America’s immigration policy. The first lady visited the U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility in Tucson, Arizona, where she conducted a roundtable briefing with local officials and ranchers. Following the discussion, Melania visited the intake facility where parents were separated from their children under the Trump administration’s since-revoked “zero tolerance” policy. This time around, the first lady did not offend millions of people with a truly bizarro fashion choice, so sure, we’ll count this visit as a success.

Saudi Arabia’s infamous ban on women legally operating motor vehicles, enacted in 1957, finally came to an end on Sunday. Women around the kingdom celebrated their newly won rights by driving around Riyadh, Saudi Arabia’s capital, and other major cities. “I feel free like a bird,” writer and talk show host Samar Almogren declared from behind the wheel of an automobile, according to Agence-France Presse. The repeal of the driving ban is part of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s efforts to present a modernized image of his country. But before you hail the prince as a #WokeBae, let us remember that Saudi Arabia has imprisoned or exiled many of the women who fought to lift the ban and a TV reporter who was covering news of the driving ban’s end has now fled the country because the government is investigating the “indecent” clothes she’s accused of having worn during her news report.

A woman with very little political experience scored an unexpected victory over a 10-term New York Congressman, rocking the political world. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old Latina from the Bronx, ousted Joe Crowley in the Democratic primary for the 14th Congressional District. Crowley had not been challenged by a Democratic opponent in 14 years. Ocasio-Cortez seemed as surprised as everyone else by her win; when she found out the results of the election on live television, she screamed “Oh my God!” and threw her hand over her mouth. Crowley, in the wake of his defeat, played with his band at a campaign event and dedicated a number to Ocasio-Cortez: a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Born To Run.” Gotta love an apt campaign song.