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caption: Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal
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Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal
Credit: Courtesy of The New Press

Speakers Forum: Jayapal and the politics of empathy and advocacy

Pramila Jayapal came to the United States from India in 1982 to study liberal arts. She was 16 years old. Her journey from then to now has been marked by an inspiring passion for justice and a vital democracy.

After the September 11 attacks, Jayapal started the immigrant advocacy group Hate Free Zone, now known as OneAmerica. Her experiences leading that organization helped her realize that more activists, herself included, needed to be inside government. She moved quickly.

After winning a Washington state Senate seat in 2014, she went on to run for and win a seat in Congress in 2016. Jayapal now represents Washington’s 7th District. She is the first South Asian American woman to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Jayapal is the author of Use the Power You Have: A Brown Woman’s Guide to Politics and Political Change. Part memoir, part progressive political manifesto, the work recounts her path from immigration to an active role in the halls of power.

Representative Pramila Jayapal read from her new book and was interviewed by Seattle Times columnist Naomi Ishisaka on July 1. Town Hall Seattle presented the livestreamed event.