Praise for Use the Power You Have:
"Passionate and unapologetically leftist, this hopeful book not only chronicles an immigrant's political successes, but, more significantly, the enduring faith in American democracy that inspired them."Kirkus Reviews
"The model Jayapal is offering would serve as a manual for any young woman hoping to make her way in American politics, and is suitable for young people interested in exploring a political career."Library Journal "Wise, thoughtful, and meticulously well-organized. . . . It's both an unusual insider's account of Trump-era politics in D.C. (including Jayapal's relationships with other Democratic leaders) and a fierce call for all citizens, no matter their roles in society, to use the power they have. . . . Jayapal recounts her activist career and lays out thoughtful policy proposals in a warm, keen-eyed memoir."Shelf Awareness "Washington Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal recounts her political education in a memoir of remarkable generosity, humor, and spirit. . . . A remarkable story of a remarkable leader."Booklist (starred review)
"Jayapal is genuinely captivating when writing about her determination to fight for the poor and oppressed. This inspirational chronicle frequently rises above the pitfalls of political memoir."Publishers Weekly
"Use the Power You Have is a tour de force, part memoir, part political manual."International Examiner
"Congresswoman Pramila Jayapalactivist, legislator, organizerhas written a handbook for anyone who seeks to improve their community and change our nation for the better. Through an honest reflection on her personal journey as an immigrant woman of color to the corridors of power‚ Pramila shares dynamic lessons on how those who are too often on the margins can become the center of a revolution. Use the Power You Have is an insightful testimony on the capacity for progress and a primer on creating opportunity for all."Stacey Abrams
"A beautifully told story of relentless courage that should serve as a model to us all. At every turn, Rep. Jayapal has followed her inner light, fighting for the most vulnerable when it mattered most."Naomi Klein, author of On Fire: The Burning Case for a Green New Deal "Pramila's storyand the important lessons she's learned along the waywill inspire anyone who cares deeply about progressive change and how to achieve it. Her book isn't just a powerful reflection on why running for office matters. It's the best argument we have for why, with the stakes so high, more progressivesespecially women and people of colormust get off the sidelines and into the game."Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) "Pramila Jayapal is a great organizerand a writer who helps readers find their own greatness."Gloria Steinem "Pramila Jayapal's journey to leadership is full of hope and wisdom. She helps us see what is possible in an American democracy where we all participate, while offering a clear vision for how we get there."Ai-jen Poo, director, National Domestic Workers Alliance "As wise and inspiring as it is instructive, this book gives readers the tools to build power in their communitiesand more importantly, to see the power in themselves. I only wish I had Use the Power You Have as a young woman embarking on my own journey."Vanita Gupta, president and chief executive officer, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights "This book is a rare treat: a look into the mind and heart of one of the most inspiring political figures in our landscape today."Ilyse Hogue, president, NARAL Pro-Choice America
Jayapal was born in India and came to the United States to attend college at Georgetown and later Northwestern. By her 20s, she was a successful investment banker and then changed course to become an activist for immigrant rights, creating a successful nongovernmental organization. Today, as a member of Congress representing a district in Washington State, she has collaborated with follow politicians, including Rashida Tlaib, who are committed to improving diversity and inclusion in Congress, as well as creating public policy that will change the treatment of immigrants by local and national government offices. In addition to the narrative of her immigration story and her American experience, Jayapal devotes chapters to three specific policy areas, which she describes as "moral visions": immigration, healthcare, and income inequality. Although the book is labeled as a guide to politics, it reads more like a campaign biography, replete with praise from others for the author's record of public service. VERDICT The model Jayapal is offering would serve as a manual for any young woman hoping to make her way in American politics, and is suitable for young people interested in exploring a political career.—Cynthia Harrison, George Washington Univ., Washington, DC
The first Indian American woman elected to the House of Representatives chronicles the path that led her to commit to fight for a more inclusive society.
In 1982, Jayapal came to the U.S. to begin her studies at Georgetown. After graduating, she decided to “fulfill my promise to my father by parlaying my liberal arts degree…to the top investment banks in New York City as the foundation of other success.” Realizing investment banking was not right for her, she “did the next most expected thing” and went to business school. Jayapal also tutored poor children on Chicago’s South Side, where she discovered that her true calling was to help the underserved. An internship with a nonprofit organization serving refugees in Thailand and a fellowship to study villages in India followed. Her political activism emerged in the wake of 9/11, when she became the force behind the campaign to make Seattle and Washington state at large “Hate Free Zones.” Jayapal quickly learned “how to build movements and apply political pressure,” even if that meant going to jail. Within a decade, she became a vocal advocate for Seattle’s Sanctuary Cities ordinances and the Fight for $15 movement. In 2014, she was elected to the Washington Senate on a progressive platform. She caught the attention of Bernie Sanders, who helped her fundraise for a successful 2016 House run. Now a tireless fighter for everything from immigration and Medicare reform to livable incomes for all, Jayapal sets forth a vision to create “an America more just…than the one we were handed.” At the end, she offers a list of political lessons for all, but especially for female change-makers of color. Passionate and unapologetically leftist, this hopeful book not only chronicles an immigrant’s political successes, but, more significantly, the enduring faith in American democracy that inspired them.
A passionately articulate memoir and political manifesto.