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Re-purposing a Dream: Speaking on NPR's TED Radio Hour, TC alumna Sayu Bhojwani argues for immigrants' importance in revitalizing U.S. democracy

Sayu Bhojwani (Ph.D. '14), Founding President of The New American Leaders Project
Sayu Bhojwani (Ph.D. '14), Founding President of The New American Leaders Project
In the latest  installment of National Public Radio's TED Radio Hour episode Democracy On Trial, TC alumna Sayu Bhojwani (Ph.D. '14) posed the question, "Are Immigrants the Key to a Stronger Democracy?",  answering it with a resounding yes.

Bhojwani was New York City's first Commissioner of Immigrant Affairs and subsequently founded South Asian Youth Action, a community-based organization in Queens. Since 2010, she has served as Founding President of The New American Leaders Project, a New York City-based organization that trains immigrants to run for public office.

In her TED talk, Bhojwani shared that she is one of 84 million Americans who are immigrants or children of immigrants. She was born in India, she said -- "the world's largest democracy" -- moved with her family at age 4 to Belize ("the world's smallest democracy, perhaps") and at age 17 came to the United States, "the world's greatest democracy."

"Each of us has a dream when we come here," she said, "a dream that usually has to be rewritten and always has to be re-purposed.  

"Maybe it was the optimism I felt about America, that made me take a while to understand that things were not going to change -- that the door that I thought was open was actually just slightly ajar," Bhojwani added. That door "could just slam in your face if you had the wrong religion, the wrong immigration status, the wrong skin color."

Listen to her talk below:

Published Monday, Nov 7, 2016

Sayu Bhojwani (Ph.D. '14), Founding President of The New American Leaders Project
Sayu Bhojwani (Ph.D. '14), Founding President of The New American Leaders Project
In the latest  installment of National Public Radio's TED Radio Hour episode Democracy On Trial, TC alumna Sayu Bhojwani (Ph.D. '14) posed the question, "Are Immigrants the Key to a Stronger Democracy?",  answering it with a resounding yes.

Bhojwani was New York City's first Commissioner of Immigrant Affairs and subsequently founded South Asian Youth Action, a community-based organization in Queens. Since 2010, she has served as Founding President of The New American Leaders Project, a New York City-based organization that trains immigrants to run for public office.

In her TED talk, Bhojwani shared that she is one of 84 million Americans who are immigrants or children of immigrants. She was born in India, she said -- "the world's largest democracy" -- moved with her family at age 4 to Belize ("the world's smallest democracy, perhaps") and at age 17 came to the United States, "the world's greatest democracy."

"Each of us has a dream when we come here," she said, "a dream that usually has to be rewritten and always has to be re-purposed.  

"Maybe it was the optimism I felt about America, that made me take a while to understand that things were not going to change -- that the door that I thought was open was actually just slightly ajar," Bhojwani added. That door "could just slam in your face if you had the wrong religion, the wrong immigration status, the wrong skin color."

Listen to her talk below:

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