Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the latest lawmaker to speak out on the tragic death of Barnard College student Tessa Majors. During a Town Hall in Queens, NY on Saturday, Ocasio-Cortez addressed Majors' stabbing murder in Morningside Park in December. Following the arrests of suspects 13-year-old Zyairr Davis, 14-year-old Rashaun Weaver, and 14-year-old Luchiano Lewis, the Congresswoman called the death a “tragedy on multiple levels.” The latter of the two suspects have also been indicted on murder charges as of February 19, and AOC's comments were made during a Q&A segment discussing the 2020 census.
“You have the horrific tragedy of a young woman’s life being taken and so much potential,” the congresswoman said when asked by a journalist about her thoughts on the case. “But then you have a tragedy of a young boy that was driven to that point, taken to that point. And I think that tragedy is also one of intergenerational poverty, potentially a broken home, a lack of opportunity.”
Ocasio-Cortez spoke at length on the effects a child’s surrounding conditions have on their actions. “When you have boys in that scenario, the problem is bigger than them. It’s about the conditions around the child." The representative went on to suggest investing in the greater wellbeing of at-risk teens as a potential solution to an ongoing issue in New York. “If we want to reduce crime in our cities, we also need to make investments in education, health care and mental health care.”
Tessa Majors was stabbed to death during an evening walk near her campus on Dec. 11, 2019. The Barnard College student was allegedly approached by three young men who attempted to rob her before she was fatally stabbed multiple times. According to a police investigation, the group quickly disbanded after that. Majors was found by officers the evening of the attack, between West 116th Street and Morningside Drive, and she was rushed to Mount Sinai St. Luke’s Hospital, where she died.
Thirteen-year-old suspect Zyairr Davis has not been indicted on murder charges and has instead stood trial in family court. It is not believed he took part in the stabbing and was a witness.
Prior to Majors’ death, there was an ongoing effort on the part of Barnard College and Columbia University to quell the violent past of Morningside Park, which has been known for its history of crime in New York City.