SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — Before her alliance was born with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Pramila Jayapal began her best-known community work after she saw Arab Americans, Somali refugees and Muslim Americans being discriminated against and attacked.

In the days following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, Jayapal established a non-profit, rightfully named Hate Free Zone. It is now known as OneAmerica, and serves to curb anti-Muslim backlash.

Now, headed to Congress under President-elect Donald Trump, who was never shy with anti-Muslim rhetoric while on the campaign trail, the Representative-elect remains undaunted.

“We have fought and won before,” she said during an interview with NBC News. “We have been through some incredibly dark times in the history of country, and we have moved forward. It hasn’t been as quickly as we want, but we are extremely powerful when we are united.”

The Democrat made history on Nov. 8 when she became the first Indian-American woman ever elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. She also became the first woman elected to serve Washington’s 7th Congressional District. Prior to all of this, she had become the first person of color elected to the Washington state congressional delegation.

The 52-year-old will assume the duties of the seat vacated by fellow Democrat Rep. Jim McDermott, who once stood next to Jayapal when she announced the creation of Hate Free Zone back in 2001. McDermott announced his retirement from the seat after serving the district for nearly three decades.

As a current Washington state senator, Jayapal represents one of the most racially and economically diverse districts in the state, she said, and has advocated for an increase in Washington’s minimum wage, free two-year community college tuition, and automatic voter registration.

She won 57 percent of the vote during her Congressional election. Jayapal arrived in the U.S. at age 16 and studied at Georgetown University. She was born in Chennai, India, and was raised in Indonesia and Singapore.

“I’ve always thought of the United States as a place where so much was possible and so many opportunities were out there,” she said. “As an immigrant, I have lived, in a way, the American dream, and I want to make sure that opportunity is available for everybody.”

Outside of specific legislation, especially as a first-term member of Congress, Jayapal hopes to also lay the groundwork to push for more progressive policies.

“Policy is about real people and real stories and sometimes we forget that.” Jayapal said. “Statistics are just a compilation of people’s stories put on paper, and legislation is our attempt to address those real challenges for people.”