Pramila Jayapal Interview I Segment 1

Family background: born in Madras, India (ddr-densho-1000-156-1) - 00:04:15
Memories of maternal grandfather's love of literature and history (ddr-densho-1000-156-2) - 00:03:34
Maternal grandfather's commitment to ensuring the higher education of his children (ddr-densho-1000-156-3) - 00:04:14
Early memories of growing up in India: grandmother's religious background, grandparents' home, sounds of street vendors (ddr-densho-1000-156-4) - 00:05:23
Moving to Indonesia to attend the Jakarta International School as a kindergartener (ddr-densho-1000-156-5) - 00:03:40
Languages learned while growing up: native language of Malayalam, English, and Indonesian (ddr-densho-1000-156-6) - 00:03:24
Exposure to people of diverse ethnic backgrounds while attending the Jakarta International School: "it was a remarkable school" (ddr-densho-1000-156-7) - 00:04:22
Questioning at an early age the exclusive policies of the Jakarta International School, and awareness of economic inequities (ddr-densho-1000-156-8) - 00:07:29
Feeling distanced from Indian heritage as a child (ddr-densho-1000-156-9) - 00:05:16
Description of parents' values and expectations: strong work ethic, importance of education and compassion (ddr-densho-1000-156-10) - 00:05:24
Role of religion in life as a child: exposure to Christianity leads to questioning of traditional faith (ddr-densho-1000-156-11) - 00:05:42
Growing up in the caste system in India and observing the hierarchical inequalities (ddr-densho-1000-156-12) - 00:03:50
Parents' efforts to provide their daughters with opportunities: watching older sister leave for college in the United States (ddr-densho-1000-156-13) - 00:06:33
Decision to go to Georgetown University, not even realizing it was a Catholic institution (ddr-densho-1000-156-14) - 00:04:04
First impressions of the United States: surprise at the spaciousness, experiencing snow for the first time (ddr-densho-1000-156-15) - 00:04:34
Interactions with fellow students at Georgetown: "I remember being amazed at how little people knew about the rest of the world" (ddr-densho-1000-156-16) - 00:03:38
An encounter with racial prejudice when interviewing for a job (ddr-densho-1000-156-17) - 00:01:55
Incomplete knowledge of details of U.S. history (ddr-densho-1000-156-18) - 00:05:46
Choosing a major in college: personal desires versus father's wishes (ddr-densho-1000-156-19) - 00:03:26
Dissatisfaction with the investment banking world: standing out as a woman of color (ddr-densho-1000-156-20) - 00:02:56
Encountering stereotypes and prejudice in work as an investment banker and later as a sales rep (ddr-densho-1000-156-21) - 00:05:00
Description of the fast-paced, corporate culture, the bad and the good (ddr-densho-1000-156-22) - 00:03:22
Changing careers: enrolling at business school, finding an internship in Thailand, and working for a company that manufactured heart equipment (ddr-densho-1000-156-23) - 00:04:44
Thoughts on decision to leave investment banking (ddr-densho-1000-156-24) - 00:02:58
Encountering hostility and overcoming hurdles in the Midwest while working as a high-end sales rep for Physio-Control (ddr-densho-1000-156-25) - 00:03:07
Getting married and traveling abroad (ddr-densho-1000-156-26) - 00:04:17
Taking a job with the Fund for Technology Transfer; becoming interested in international development (ddr-densho-1000-156-27) - 00:04:22
Discussion of the dangers of traveling alone in countries with unstable governments (ddr-densho-1000-156-28) - 00:04:13
Thoughts on own identity: feeling like an "insider" versus an "outsider" (ddr-densho-1000-156-29) - 00:03:02
Returning to live in India for two years on a fellowship: "a pilgrimage to find out who I really was" (ddr-densho-1000-156-30) - 00:05:35
Living in India immersed in village life (ddr-densho-1000-156-31) - 00:03:05
Observing the effects of technology and globalization on Indian society (ddr-densho-1000-156-32) - 00:04:34
Thoughts on the concept of "progress" through observations in India (ddr-densho-1000-156-33) - 00:03:24
Learning about Swadhyaya, an evolving spiritual movement in India (ddr-densho-1000-156-34) - 00:08:46
Giving birth to an ill child in India: grappling with the issues of Indian versus Western medical care (ddr-densho-1000-156-35) - 00:05:33
While coping with difficult birth of son in India, being forced to deal with U.S. immigration system and the threat of having green card revoked (ddr-densho-1000-156-36) - 00:06:54
Deciding to write a book about experiences in India (ddr-densho-1000-156-37) - 00:03:41
Becoming a U.S. citizen: feeling moved by the ceremony, yet struggling with the requirement to renounce allegiance and emotional ties to any other country (ddr-densho-1000-156-38) - 00:03:03
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ddr-densho-1000-156-1 (Legacy UID: denshovh-jpramila-01-0001)

Family background: born in Madras, India

00:04:15 — Segment 1 of 38

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May 10, 2004

Densho Visual History Collection


Courtesy of Densho


Pramila Jayapal

Pramila Jayapal Interview I

02:49:05 — 38 segments

May 10, 2004

Seattle, Washington

Born September 21, 1965 in Madras, India. Attended the Jakarta International School in Indonesia before moving to the United States to attend college at Georgetown University. Worked as an investment banker in New York City as well as in the management development program for Physio-Control.

Currently, Pramila is the founder and Executive Director of Hate Free Zone Washington. An activist and writer, Pramila has been actively involved in international and domestic social justice issues for over 12 years, working across Africa, Asia and Latin America as well as domestically with immigrant and refugee communities in Washington state. She speaks frequently at universities and community events on issues of gender, globalization, development and community. She serves on several boards including Chaya, a non-profit organization serving South Asian women in crisis; the Institute of Current World Affairs; and Hedgebrook Women Writers Retreat. Pramila has a Masters in Business Administration from Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management, and a B.A. from Georgetown University in English and Economics. She is also the author of Pilgrimage to India: A Woman Revisits Her Homeland (Seal Press, 2000).

Pramila and HFZ Campaign have received several awards and recognitions for its work, including the City of Seattle's 2002 Civil Rights Award, the Washington Bar Association's Access to Justice Community Leadership Award, the Japanese American Citizens League Leadership Award, the Northwest Asian Weekly Foundation's Community Leaders Award, a leadership award from Congressman Jim McDermott, and the Ecumenical Leadership Award from the Washington Association of Churches. In January 2004, Pramila was named one of the top ten Puget Sound regional leaders by the Seattle Times Editorial Board.

Alice Ito, interviewer; Dana Hoshide, videographer


Courtesy of Densho