Pramila Jayapal fights for immigrants in Congress

Pramila Jaypal standing in front of an American flag and smiling
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Pramila Jayapal grew up in India and Singapore. She is one of the increasing numbers of powerful immigrant women whose presence is diversifying Congress.

Americans represent cultures from all over the world. The makeup of American politicians is also beginning to reflect the country’s diverse population. There are more women, refugees, and immigrants represented in politics than ever. 

Today Congress has more women and people of color than ever before.

The 2018 midterm elections were especially diverse. However, Congress has been getting more diverse for decades. The biggest increase in women in Congress was in 1992. Today what was once uncommon is the new normal. Women and minorities are no longer rare in Congress. 

Pramila Jayapal represents Washington’s 7th District. Her district includes most of Seattle. Pramila Jayapal focuses on issues such as equality, creating safe communities, and public health. These issues are important to Americans. They also certainly affect some groups more than others.

Pramila Jayapal was born in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. She spent most of her childhood in Jakarta and Singapore. Later, she went to America to attend college. She went to Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. and Northwestern University in Illinois.

She and her sisters lived abroad for 24 years. They lived in Jakarta for 11 years and in Singapore for 13 years. As a result, she learned Thai and Hindi. Her experiences as an immigrant in America caused her to focus on creating a fair and equal society. She does so by pushing for better access to education, college, and free and low-cost healthcare. Pramila Jayapal is an international activist too!

Pramila’s focus areas for activism are public health and women’s, immigrant, civil and human rights.

After September 11th, she saw the way immigrants were treated. They were often viewed as terrorists and faced discrimination. Pramila Jayapal became interested in protecting immigrants from discrimination. She started an organization called OneAmerica. She ran for the organization for a decade.

OneAmerica was one of the largest immigrant assistance groups in the country. It focused on matters such as citizenship and helping new Americans vote. The organization helped over 23,000 new Americans register to vote.  

Pramila Jayapal made it in America and works hard to make sure other immigrants can too.

She is not only a social activist, however. Pramila Jayapal is also the first Indian-American woman in the House of Representatives. She was originally elected to the Washington State Senate in 2014. Back then, she was the first South Asian American elected to a state legislature.

She was also the only woman of color in the Washington State Senate.

Women like Pramila Jayapal are proof that nothing is impossible. She faced many obstacles and persevered. After accomplishing her American Dream, she works hard to help others reach their dreams too.

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About Akudo McGee
Akudo McGee is a recent graduate from the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. McGee has a Masters degree in European studies. Her field of focus is forced migration.