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Use the Power You Have: A Brown Woman’s Guide to Politics and Political Change

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Washington’s progressive champion explains how we can achieve a truly inclusive America that works for all of us “Pramila Jayapal came to Congress in 2016 as a progressive outsider, but she’s quickly adapted to become the activist insider—negotiating with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with the goal of turning progressive ideas into real policy.” —Vox Magazine, February 20, 2019 Washington’s progressive champion explains how we can achieve a truly inclusive America that works for all of us “Pramila Jayapal came to Congress in 2016 as a progressive outsider, but she’s quickly adapted to become the activist insider—negotiating with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with the goal of turning progressive ideas into real policy.” —Vox Magazine, February 20, 2019 In November 2016, Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, the first Indian American woman to serve in that role. Two years later, the “fast-rising Democratic star and determined critic of President Donald Trump,” according to Politico’s Playbook 2017 “Power List,” won reelection with more votes than any other member of the House. Jayapal, co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, proved her progressive bonafides when she introduced the most comprehensive Medicare-for-all bill to Congress in February. Behind the story of Jayapal’s rise to political prominence lie over two decades of devoted advocacy on behalf of immigrants and progressive causes—and years of learning how to turn activism into public policy that serves all Americans. Use the Power You Have is Jayapal’s account of the path from sixteen-year-old Indian immigrant to grassroots activist, state senator, and now progressive powerhouse in Washington, DC. Written with passion and insight, Use the Power You Have offers a wealth of ideas and inspiration for a new generation of engaged citizens interested in fighting back and making change, whether in Washington or in their own communities.


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Washington’s progressive champion explains how we can achieve a truly inclusive America that works for all of us “Pramila Jayapal came to Congress in 2016 as a progressive outsider, but she’s quickly adapted to become the activist insider—negotiating with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with the goal of turning progressive ideas into real policy.” —Vox Magazine, February 20, 2019 Washington’s progressive champion explains how we can achieve a truly inclusive America that works for all of us “Pramila Jayapal came to Congress in 2016 as a progressive outsider, but she’s quickly adapted to become the activist insider—negotiating with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with the goal of turning progressive ideas into real policy.” —Vox Magazine, February 20, 2019 In November 2016, Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, the first Indian American woman to serve in that role. Two years later, the “fast-rising Democratic star and determined critic of President Donald Trump,” according to Politico’s Playbook 2017 “Power List,” won reelection with more votes than any other member of the House. Jayapal, co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, proved her progressive bonafides when she introduced the most comprehensive Medicare-for-all bill to Congress in February. Behind the story of Jayapal’s rise to political prominence lie over two decades of devoted advocacy on behalf of immigrants and progressive causes—and years of learning how to turn activism into public policy that serves all Americans. Use the Power You Have is Jayapal’s account of the path from sixteen-year-old Indian immigrant to grassroots activist, state senator, and now progressive powerhouse in Washington, DC. Written with passion and insight, Use the Power You Have offers a wealth of ideas and inspiration for a new generation of engaged citizens interested in fighting back and making change, whether in Washington or in their own communities.

30 review for Use the Power You Have: A Brown Woman’s Guide to Politics and Political Change

  1. 5 out of 5

    Glenda Nelms

    Inspiring, empowering, and motivational book by Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal,. Jayapal is the first Indian American woman to serve in the U.S. Representatives. Jayapal shares her life story of overcoming adversity, her rise to political power in two decades of advocacy on immigrants and Progressive causes and gives readers a behind the scenes of a vote or in a committee hearing in Congress. She focuses on her concerns and current goals as a Representative. Jayapal offers readers ideas and words Inspiring, empowering, and motivational book by Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal,. Jayapal is the first Indian American woman to serve in the U.S. Representatives. Jayapal shares her life story of overcoming adversity, her rise to political power in two decades of advocacy on immigrants and Progressive causes and gives readers a behind the scenes of a vote or in a committee hearing in Congress. She focuses on her concerns and current goals as a Representative. Jayapal offers readers ideas and words of wisdom on how fighting back and making change in their communities.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    I really liked the first half of this, which was Jayapal's story of her life and how she got where she is. But the second half is mostly policy and already pretty outdated? This book came out in June 2020, so less than a year ago, but that was long ago that there's no mention of COVID and Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders were still in the presidential race. So reading about the fight for $15 and Medicare for All already felt dated. So much has happened! (And also not happened.) I really liked the first half of this, which was Jayapal's story of her life and how she got where she is. But the second half is mostly policy and already pretty outdated? This book came out in June 2020, so less than a year ago, but that was long ago that there's no mention of COVID and Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders were still in the presidential race. So reading about the fight for $15 and Medicare for All already felt dated. So much has happened! (And also not happened.)

  3. 5 out of 5

    Peter

    Jayapal gives a vivid account of how her years of experience as an organizer have enabled her to become an accomplished deal-maker in Congress. This is an essential read for those wishing to understand the political dynamics within the House Democratic Caucus.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Grant Durow

    One of my favorite political reads in a long time! It is clear that Rep. Jayapal cares deeply about moving our country forward and pays tribute to the organizing tradition that is too often forgotten in modern politics. Her humility and the weight of her story really shine through here, and I would recommend this book to anyone interested in progressive politics in modern America.

  5. 5 out of 5

    (a)lyss(a)

    I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This book was around 3.5 stars for me. I love Pramila and the work she's done for Washington state and know some of the people mentioned in this book and their work. This book is part memoir, part manifesto of where progressives can go from here. The book is broken into sections but each talks about Jayapal's personal experiences and her thoughts on how they can apply to others. While I really love this concept, I th I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This book was around 3.5 stars for me. I love Pramila and the work she's done for Washington state and know some of the people mentioned in this book and their work. This book is part memoir, part manifesto of where progressives can go from here. The book is broken into sections but each talks about Jayapal's personal experiences and her thoughts on how they can apply to others. While I really love this concept, I think I would have enjoyed this book more if it was just a memoir or just a guide to making change. Because we alternate between anecdotes and messages of hope for the future I found it a bit confusing. I would have liked to read all about Jayapal and then hear her words of wisdom and support rather than mingling the two. That being said Jayapal's story is fascinating. She shares her track record on organizing for immigrant and human rights and her approach to changing hearts and minds. Her stories are captivating and great examples of how to organize.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    One of the best political memoirs I have come across, mostly due to Rep. Jayapal's powerful personal story, and also my moderate bias because she represents the district where I grew up, even though I moved away before her run for state senate. Before she was a politician, Jayapal was a community organizer, mainly focused on immigration rights and reform. She brings this lens with her into her politics, and describes to the reader the many ways she has tried to use an "inside/outside" strategy to One of the best political memoirs I have come across, mostly due to Rep. Jayapal's powerful personal story, and also my moderate bias because she represents the district where I grew up, even though I moved away before her run for state senate. Before she was a politician, Jayapal was a community organizer, mainly focused on immigration rights and reform. She brings this lens with her into her politics, and describes to the reader the many ways she has tried to use an "inside/outside" strategy to try to create change in government. There are understandably many, many difficulties Jayapal has faced being an Indian-American immigrant woman in politics. However, the major content warning I want to give for this book has to do with Jayapal's description of visiting the detention centers on the U.S.-Mexico border. I am grateful she gives voice to what she saw there and for the ways she uses her power to speak up and try to make change. Just want to note that this section was particularly hard to read.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    Although Rep Jayapal is not technically my direct Representative in Congress, she does represent my state and it seemed like a great idea to pick up her book. I bought it right before the ugly 2020 elections season really got going. Rep Jayapal is a very vocal and present rep for this community and for many in this nation. Though I don't always agree with her politics( come to think of it, I say this about every politician) , I love her willingness to stand up for what's right and help be a voic Although Rep Jayapal is not technically my direct Representative in Congress, she does represent my state and it seemed like a great idea to pick up her book. I bought it right before the ugly 2020 elections season really got going. Rep Jayapal is a very vocal and present rep for this community and for many in this nation. Though I don't always agree with her politics( come to think of it, I say this about every politician) , I love her willingness to stand up for what's right and help be a voice for people who didn't previously feel that government represented them. I found her book to be very interesting view of the personal and professional experiences shaping who she is and how she represents that in politics.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Nelda Brangwin

    Jayapal is proud of her progressive record. She is created a meticulous and well-organized look at how she’s working to change American politics. If I were a young woman looking for ways to influence the US in a political career, I would use this book as my textbook. Jayapal, who I can proudly say is a US representative from Washington State, is a great role model for people wanting to help build their communities. She’s honest, straightforward and at times finds humor in what’s happening.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mitch Payne

    I read this as an open minded white male, I like to read things out of my comfort level to change my opinions and beliefs if the author can. I had seen Jayapal in hearings and her passion intrigued me. Firs the tile is decisive and she fights against that. Second all I feel is hate and anger coming off the pages at Americans when I read it. Just my opinion. Waste of money and another political player getting paid.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Bob Pore

    Jayapal's book is two thirds autobiographical, one third policy, and all around inspiring. This book is a reminder that progress happens because we fight for it. We fight for it when it is hard, we fight for it when it is easy, but we can never stop fighing for it. I often couldn't bring myself to read it at times because I didn't want to think about politics, but reading this book reminded me that there are people out there putting it all on the line to make a brighter future. Jayapal's book is two thirds autobiographical, one third policy, and all around inspiring. This book is a reminder that progress happens because we fight for it. We fight for it when it is hard, we fight for it when it is easy, but we can never stop fighing for it. I often couldn't bring myself to read it at times because I didn't want to think about politics, but reading this book reminded me that there are people out there putting it all on the line to make a brighter future.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Krithika Shamanna

    Great read!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Gail Fligstein

    Pramila is my congressional rep and I now have so much respect fir her. She is an immigrant and community organizer. I wish more could be like her.

  13. 4 out of 5

    are we there yet

    For some reason I thought Jayapal was a moderate. No idea why, I never really paid attention to the news until 2017 (she was elected to Congress in 2016). I did know about the fight for 15 in Seattle, and now that I know she played a crucial role everything made sense.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

  15. 4 out of 5

    Suzy

  16. 5 out of 5

    Nisha

  17. 4 out of 5

    Cardyn Brooks

  18. 4 out of 5

    Shelly

  19. 5 out of 5

    Amelia Chappelle

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lee

  21. 4 out of 5

    Tom Morris

  22. 5 out of 5

    Olivia

  23. 5 out of 5

    Maggie Mattmiller

  24. 4 out of 5

    Maggie

  25. 5 out of 5

    D Schaefer

  26. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Dion

  27. 4 out of 5

    Hudy

  28. 4 out of 5

    Riyanka

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jessie

  30. 5 out of 5

    Margaret

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