The other day—during our first 70-degree day in Seattle this year—I was lucky enough to join hundreds of my fellow organizers, community leaders, friends, family, and neighbors at the Crocodile to launch my re-election campaign to continue representing Washington’s 7th Congressional District.

Throughout the day, we looked back on how our campaign and our broad progressive movement have achieved incredible things to lift up poor and working people across the country. But we all also recognized that despite what we’ve achieved, our movement, our country, and our democracy are still facing some of the greatest threats and challenges we’ve ever encountered.

I say this not to be discouraging, but to keep us engaged! In order to change the world, we need to recognize what we’re up against.

It’s not just the looming threat of Donald Trump. Here in Seattle, we see the costs of historic levels of wealth inequality and a housing crisis that has reached a fever pitch. On the national front, there is a growing xenophobic neo-fascist movement spreading hateful rhetoric that dehumanizes immigrants, Black, Brown, and trans people. Overseas, we are witnessing the horrific massacre of innocent civilians in Gaza, all while the majority of people support a permanent ceasefire. The list goes on.  

But one thing was clear for everyone joining me at the Crocodile: there is hope. There is a strong, overwhelming belief that a better world is possible. A certainty that we can and we will–win again. We have taken on the most powerful special interests our country has ever known and we’ve defeated them time and time again—because that is what we do! And we will do it again—but we need your help. 

Yes, we need help from you reading this in The Stranger right now. 

We need you to join our movement. We need you to pitch in to help build our grassroots campaign. Your work will not only help us build a better Seattle, you will help strengthen our progressive movement nationwide. 

I know some of you reading this want to sit this election out right now. You may be frustrated with the status quo–and rightfully so! You’re right to be angry about the war in Gaza. You’re right to be upset about the mistreatment of asylum seekers at our southern border. And I know this means we have a lot of work to do to rebuild trust with so many of our communities. But I believe we can do it, and we must do it.

Perfection is not on the ballot, but real progress is. Working people’s lives are on the ballot. Climate justice is on the ballot. Reproductive justice is on the ballot. There is simply too much at stake to sit this out. 

This is a battle for our democracy. Corporate PACs and right-wing megadonors are spending billions to influence our elections. Income inequality is at an all-time high, and three billionaires hold more wealth than the bottom 50% of our country combined. A corrupt right-wing majority on the Supreme Court is stripping away constitutional rights. All of these are blatant, dangerous attacks on our democracy.  

And when our democracy is under attack, we all must come together to defend it. Yes, including you.

We kicked off this election year with early endorsements from over 35 unions, abortion rights organizations, and community leaders. But if we are going to do everything we can to defend our democracy, to uplift marginalized communities, and to protect our environment—we need you to join this team. 

You can join our campaign and help us fight for a record investment in affordable housing. You can help us defend abortion rights everywhere and help working people fight for higher wages. You can join me in standing up for an immediate, permanent ceasefire in Gaza. That is what our campaign is about. 

As the Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, I’ve spent the last seven years taking what I learned as a community organizer to organize inside the halls of Congress and build a powerful voting bloc that pushes for progressive policies that just a few years ago would have been unthinkable. The single-largest investment in climate action in United States history. The first major gun safety law in over 30 years. Forcing Big Pharma to negotiate drug prices with Medicare and cap the cost of insulin at $35 for seniors. 

We’re not done yet, and we cannot afford to have our progress rolled back. 

As one of the one-in-four women in the United States who has had an abortion, I will never rest until we restore abortion rights nationally. Everyone in Seattle knows the rent is too damn high, and it’s near impossible to buy a house, so I will never stop fighting for a massive new investment in affordable housing. We can advocate for the protection of humanitarian aid workers and a ceasefire in Gaza, and also push as hard as we can to negotiate for permanent peace where Israelis and Palestinians can live side by side with security, self-determination, and freedom. 

That’s only a taste of what we can accomplish together. 

If you’re ready to fight for our democracy, build our progressive movement, and organize for our future, please join us today.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal is now serving her fourth term in Congress representing Washington’s 7th District, which encompasses most of Seattle and its surrounding areas, including Shoreline, Vashon Island, Lake Forest Park, and parts of Burien and Normandy Park. She is the first South Asian American woman elected to the US House of Representatives and one of only two dozen naturalized citizens currently serving in the United States Congress.