Presented By
Rafael Cardenas—AP

Activist, human rights journalist and radio host Wendy Carrillo is running for Congress — with an endorsement from top organizers of the Women’s March.

Carrillo, who grew up in Los Angeles as an “unrecognized refugee” from El Salvador, is the first national political candidate to receive the support of all the co-chairs and the artistic director of the Women’s March. The 36-year-old Democrat is running to represent California’s 34th Congressional District in a special election to fill the seat of the state’s new attorney general, Xavier Becerra. The vote will take place Tuesday.

In a December post on Medium, Carrillo wrote: “I am running to represent the 34th because the people… who woke up on November 9th feeling assaulted by our nation’s politics deserve a fighter who will go to Washington who is unafraid to say that we all should Fight for 15, defend LGBTQ rights, make sure there is Not One More Deportation, that Black Lives Matter, and Mni Wiconi (that Water is Life!).”

Carrillo was the only political candidate invited to speak at the Women’s March on Washington. Tamika Mallory, the national co-chair of the Women’s March, told Elle that the organizers chose Carrillo out of a list of many possible people to speak at the Washington march in January because she came from “a very authentic space.” Carrillo “was exactly the type of person we needed to have on the program ― not just talking the talk, but walking the walk,” Mallory said.

“I think it’s a testament to the power that we’re feeling right now in the streets,” Carrillo told Elle. “The Women’s March has the potential to have incredible impact in this election and across the country.”

Since announcing her plans to run for congress, Carrillo and her team, most of whom are women, have spent their time connecting with young Americans and promoting the campaign. During this time, Carrillo has received hateful messages from white supremacist David Duke.

However, she has not let that put her off from pursuing her goal. “As women we have too much self-doubt about our skill set and what we’re capable of,” Carrillo told Elle. “And ultimately it is not okay to just simply run, we need to win.”


More Must-Reads From TIME

Write to Kate Samuelson at

You May Also Like