Don't Agonize Organize!


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Pramila is passionate about being an organizer:

  • Founded OneAmerica (formerly Hate Free Zone)
  • Successfully sued the Bush Administration over Somali deportations
  • Trained 12,000 students and 1,000 teachers
  • Helped register 23,000 voters
  • Established the Washington New Americans Initiative and the City of Seattle's Office of Immigrant & Refugee Affairs
  • Served on the 2007 Seattle Police Accountability Review Panel
  • Launched the organization We Belong Together to forge a partnership between the National Domestic Workers’ Alliance and the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum
  • Successfully helped push comprehensive immigration reform through the U.S. Senate

Pramila on organizing:

"I’ve been an activist for most of my life for the last 20 years, working on immigrant rights, women’s issues, women’s equity issues, social justice issues, income equality, from the outside. I never thought I would run for office myself. I really thought that was for somebody else. I was good on the outside, that’s where I should stay. And then a couple of years ago, the seat came up for the State Senate. People had been asking me to run for a long time. It had never been something I had thought of doing. But I finally realized that I was actually tired of having spent 15 to 20 years trying to get other people in elected office to do the things that I thought they should be doing for our communities. And I was also tired of not seeing the representation that I thought we needed to see where people would intuitively know and understand what needed to be done versus having to convince somebody that it was right to work on immigration reform or right to work on issues that women of color faced or minimum wage.”

So many women of color are running for office and telling me they never thought about it before. And some of them say to me, ‘You know, I never thought I could do it, but then I saw you, and I was like, well, if she’s taking the plunge maybe I can do it.’ That’s what we are doing. We’re providing a pathway for other women to see themselves in our role models the way that Shirley Chisolm did all those years ago. And we’re saying, yes, this is possible; you can do it too, and you should. Organizers should be in Congress.”