Distinguished Speaker Series

Distinguished Speaker Series
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Sonali Kolhatkar

Sonali Kolhatkar is the host and producer of Rising Up with Sonali, a weekly television and radio program that airs on Free Speech TV and on Pacifica Radio station affiliates around the United States. Winner of numerous awards, including Best TV Anchor and Best National Political Commentary from the LA Press Club, she is currently the Racial Justice editor at Yes! Magazine and a Writing Fellow with the Independent Media Institute. Co-author of Bleeding Afghanistan: Washington, Warlords, and the Propaganda of Silence with Jim Ingalls, Kolhatkar also serves as co-director of the Afghan Women's Mission.

Sonali has a master's in astronomy from the University of Hawaii, and two undergraduate degrees in physics and astronomy from the University of Texas at Austin.

Originally from India and born and raised in the United Arab Emirates, Sonali is also an artist, musician, baker and cook and lives with her husband and two children in Pasadena, California.


2022 – Winner of Best National Political Commentary, Los Angeles Press Club Awards

2017 – Winner of Best Election Related Political Commentary, Los Angeles Press Club Awards

2015 – Winner of Best TV Anchor award, Los Angeles Press Club Awards

2015 – Historian of the Lions award, Center for the Study of Political Graphics

2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 – Finalist for Best Radio Anchor, Los Angeles Press Club Awards

2006, 2010 – South Asian Network Community Solidarity Awards

2010 – Families to Amend California’s Three Strikes Media Award

2004 – Phenomenal Woman Award, Cal State Northridge Women’s Studies Department

2004 – American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee Media Award