Book Talk -- People Like Us: The New Wave of Candidates Knocking at Democracy’s Door


Thursday, April 18, 2019, 4:15pm to 5:30pm


Ash Center Foyer, 124 Mount Auburn St., Floor 2, Suite 200N

Join us for a discussion with Sayu Bhojwani, founder and president of New American Leaders, author of People Like Us: The New Wave of Candidates Knocking at Democracy’s Door. Teresa Acuña, Associate Director of the Ash Center's Democratic Governance program, will moderate. 

Book coverAbout the Book 

The system is rigged: 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 in People Like Us, political scientist Sayu Bhojwani shares the stories of a diverse and persevering range of local and state 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.

In Anaheim, California, a previously undocumented Mexican American challenges the high-powered interests of the Disney Corporation to win a city council seat. In the Midwest, a thirty-something Muslim Somali American unseats a forty-four-year incumbent in the Minnesota house of representatives. These are some of the foreign-born, lower-income, and of-color Americans who have successfully taken on leadership roles in elected office despite xenophobia, political gatekeeping, and personal financial concerns. In accessible prose, Bhojwani shines a light on the political, systemic, and cultural roadblocks that prevent our elected officials from effectively representing a rapidly changing America, and offers forward-thinking solutions on how to get rid of these barriers.

People Like Us serves as an essential guide for the burgeoning democracy that has been a long time in the making: inclusive, multiracial, and unstoppable.

Sayu BhojwaniAbout Sayu Bhojwani  

Sayu Bhojwani is the founder and president of New American Leaders, the only national organization focused on preparing immigrant leaders to run for public office. She served as New York City’s first commissioner of immigrant affairs and lives in New York.

This event is cosponsored by the Harvard South Asians in Public Service student group.