Connect with us

Featured

Exclusive: Rep. Pramila Jayapal on speaking up for the underrepresented

Published

on

Rep. Pramila Jayapal on speaking up for the underrepresented

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — More than 200 Indian-American candidates, elected officials, among those gathered included Washingtons’ Rep. Pramila Jayapal in D.C. for the inaugural Impact Summit, an effort to build a long term political network for the diaspora. All five Indian American members of Congress spoke at this event that was sponsored in part by Diya TV. Below is a transcript of an interview conducted on site by Ravi Kapur with Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal for our public affairs program “The Public Interest,” edited for clarity.

Q: You have been very outspoken as a freshman member of Congress. Tell me what it’s been like to be on the frontlines navigating this new world that we live in. I live in California. I see rhetoric everywhere from North Dakota to California. What are you seeing here in Washington?

A: Well, what I see here in Washington is unfortunately a lot of politicking that isn’t in the best interest of the country. We have a president that is using the White House in ways that really diminishes the opportunity and the right for people to live in this country and feel like it’s theirs. So we see a lot of Indian Americans, a lot of immigrants, a lot of folks with color who really wonder, ‘is this a country that will still welcome them that where they have a home?’

Many of them are U.S. citizens, and so the hate crimes, the criminalization has been tough. It’s been really tough because I see people heartbroken about whether they have a place to be or not. That said, I think I love this job. I wake up every morning and I think about the fact that I get to fight for the things that I believe in. And I wake up knowing what my responsibilities is. It’s not just a privilege, it’s a responsibility. As the only Indian-American woman in the U.S. House, and the first one in the House, I see it as even more of a responsibility to really speak up for the voices that aren’t here.

Q: The expectations of the voters that put you here are probably a little bit different than what you have to deal with in Washington DC on a daily basis? How do you navigate that?

A: I go back every week. So we have votes usually during the week, and then I fly back home on Thursday or Friday and come back to D.C. on Monday or Tuesday, depending on the schedule. And I hold town halls all over my district. I’ve held 15 town halls, and we’ve talked to over 15,000 people since I got into office. And I really believe in constituent services, so I have a fantastic team in district. Our folks work really hard on making sure that government is really responsive to the people. That is everything from helping people with social security claims, Medicare, Medicaid, veterans issues.

There is a lot that people just are struggling to make sure that somebody in government responds to them. So it’s not that hard to just be responsive to your constituents. But unfortunately, I think that some Congressmembers take it incredibly seriously and others don’t. I’m one of the ones that really takes it seriously. So we are navigating situations at home all the time. Families, particularly, caught up it the immigration systems; families caught up being kicked out of their homes. Some of those as state issues, some of them are local, some of them are federal. So we try to do everything we can to respond.

Q: We have five elected Indian Americans in Congress, and additionally a whole slew of folks from all over the country running at the state level and the federal level. What does it mean to have so many people look up to you, especially young women who are inspired by your and Senator Harris’ run? What message do you have for all these folks who aspire to be like you?

A: What I say to people is, “Don’t allow yourself to be minimized or patronized. Bring everything you have, work hard and know that your dreams are achievable. They might take work, they might take one or two times, but we have a right to assert ourselves and to make sure our voices are heard.” And the other thing I say to people all the time is, “Don’t think about who you want to be, think about what you want to do.” Because this isn’t just about being in a position of power. It’s about what you can do when you get that position of power.

Q: What do for the rest of 2018? Obviously, there are battlegrounds all over the country. As it pertains to 2020, a lot of folks are looking ahead towards the presidential election. What kind of role will you be playing?

A: Well, I have already been playing a big role in trying to bring back the House for the Democrats, particularly helping to support, mentor, train, put out there people of color and immigrants who are running and women of color. So I have a number of candidates across the country that I have been working with. I’ve also been trying to help build a leadership pipeline within the state for lower level offices because we don’t typically go straight to Congress. I’m really helping to do that. And then finally, helping to build an organizing platform that helps us to win on some of these issues. So I have a legislative agenda and then I have a organizing agenda, and both things are critical for the rest of 2018.

Featured

EXCLUSIVE: Fremont PD and FOG confirm Independence Day Parade cancelled over security, permitting

Published

on

FREMONT, Calif. (Diya TV) — Fremont Police Department and FOG organizers confirm the annual Indian Independence Day parade, scheduled for this Sunday, is cancelled due to permitting and security concerns. FOG will still take place this weekend, minus the parade. Here’s our initial report on FOG security from earlier this week.

Continue Reading

Featured

Rep. Suozzi apologizes over Kashmir letter to Pompeo

Published

on

Kashmir apology

NEW YORK (Diya TV) — Democratic Congressman Tom Suozzi represents New York’s 3rd Congressional District, a diverse region with a large contingent of Pakistani and Indian Americans. After meeting with a group of Pakistani constituents upset about India’s change in approach towards Kashmir, he wrote a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to prioritize Kashmir. 

Now he’s backtracked from those remarks, issuing a new statement to apologize after meeting with Indian American constituents, saying he should have “framed [his] concerns differently.”

A Pakistani-American audience member at BeautyCon got the attention she was seeking for Kashmir when she publicly accused Indian actress Priyanka Chopra during a question and answer session of “encouraging nuclear war against Pakistan.” Ayesha Malik says she did not intend to challenge Chopra at the event, but wanted know why Priyanka tweeted ‘Jai Hind’ after tensions flared up in Kashmir when terrorists from Pakistan killed 40 Indian soldiers. Chopra, who is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, dismissed Malik’s accusation, but is being criticized for being hypocritical and the tone and manner of the denial.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

Continue Reading

Featured

Gandhi celebrations take place in Atlanta, Bay Area

Published

on

Gandhi celebrations

ATLANTA (Diya TV) — The Indian Consulate in Atlanta, along with the Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR) unveiled a bust of Mahatma Gandhi, one of the many celebrations that will mark his 150th birth anniversary this year. 

In the Bay Area, a full day symposium on Gandhi was put together, highlighted by civil rights icon Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers along with Cesar Chavez.

Sonia Gandhi is back to lead the Congress Party as interim president, almost two years after she resigned. Her son Rahul resigned as party president recently after Prime Minister Modi was re-elected decisively. 

The federal budget deficit grew to $868 billion in the first 10 months of the new fiscal year. Not only is that a 27% increase from the same period one year ago, it’s the largest deficit since 2012. The annual deficit is expected to hit $1 trillion annually in 2022.

And while the debate over Kashmir rages on, Discovery in India premiered an Indian wilderness special featuring Prime Minister Modi. While the goal was to create awareness about animal conservation & environmental change, critics remark Modi’s environmental record is leaves much to be desired.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

Continue Reading

Trending

Diya TV , Inc. © 2017 All Rights Reserved