A much-anticipated documentary film, “Knock Down the House,” debuted at the Sundance Film Festival last week and one of its subjects, superstar New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, gave a shout-out to Oak Park and River Forest High School students during a panel discussion that took place after the screening.

The moment was prompted OPRF teacher and community activist Anthony Clark, who ran unsuccessfully for Congress against U.S. Rep. Danny Davis last year. Although Clark lost, he made friends with Ocasio-Cortez (the two ran similar progressive-oriented campaigns). 

Clark said he makes a cameo in “Knock Down the House,” which is directed by Rachel Lears and focuses on the campaigns of four progressive female candidates, including Ocasio-Cortez. 

During the Sundance screening, Ocasio-Cortez spoke to the audience through a live stream. 

“I just need some bragging rights for my students back at OPRF and in Chicago,” Clark said jokingly, adding that he wanted the participants in the panel discussion about the film and AOC herself to lend their insight to his students and collaborators “in the struggle.” 

“I want to address Anthony Clark’s students,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “I want each and every one of his students to know that despite the fact that the world can make you feel small and powerless, know that your belief in yourself is equal to how much power you have in this world. You need to believe in yourself and your capacities, because you have them.” 

Michael Romain        

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