Sayu Bhojwani with Sophia Jordán Wallace


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America’s political leadership remains overwhelmingly white, male, moneyed, and Christian; even at the local and state levels, elected office is inaccessible to the people it aims to represent. But this trend is changing, says political scientist Sayu Bhojwani. She made her way to Town Hall’s stage to share accounts of the diverse and persevering range of new politicians from across the country who are challenging the status quo, winning against all odds, and leaving a path for others to follow in their wake. She introduced us to these political newcomers with stories from her book People Like Us: The New Wave of Candidates Knocking at Democracy’s Door.

Bhojwani met with Sophia Jordán Wallace, professor of Political Science at the University of Washington. Together they shined a light on the political, systemic, and cultural roadblocks that have prevented government from effectively representing a rapidly changing America—and offered forward-thinking solutions on how to get rid of them. Join Bhojwani and Wallace for an inspiring story of the foreign-born, lower-income, and of-color Americans who are successfully taking on leadership roles to embody an inclusive and multiracial democracy that has been a long time in the making.

Sayu Bhojwani is an advocate, speaker, writer, and former Commissioner of Immigrant Affairs in New York City. She is the founder of South Asian Youth Action, and the founder and president of New American Leaders, the only national organization focused on preparing immigrant leaders to run for public office at the local and state levels.

Sophia Jordán Wallace is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Washington. She specializes in Latino Politics, representation, social movements, and immigration politics and policy. Her work has been published in theAmerican Journal of Political Science, Journal of Race, Ethnicity, and Politics, Political Research Quarterly, and many others.

Recorded live at Rainier Arts Center by Town Hall Seattle on Monday, October 29, 2018.

164 episodes