Podcast | Pramila Jayapal on her journey from activist to Congress

At this year's Crosscut Festival, the congresswoman from Seattle spoke about the importance of grassroots activism and how to make it effective.

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Pramila Jayapal

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., talks to Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., during a House Judiciary Committee markup of the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Rep. Pramila Jayapal embodies change. As a progressive lawmaker, the Democratic congresswoman from Seattle is someone whose job is to press for political change. But she also represents a sea change in the world of activism. 

Jayapal's work as a change-maker began around the turn of the millenium, when activists were largely set apart from the government, applying pressure from the outside. But over the course of two decades, her philosophy of change changed. 

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Now she is at the forefront of a new approach to activism for the left, in which the pressure is applied from inside the halls of government, and often by women of color. 

For the latest episode of the Crosscut Talks podcast, Jayapal discusses her journey from organizer to lawmaker and shares some of the thinking required to turn a desire for societal change into actual change.


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