Journalist, activist, and artist, Sonali is the founder, host, and executive producer of Pacifica’s popular morning drive time program Uprising with Sonali which airs on KPFK and KPFA and also as a TV show on Free Speech TV.
She is a weekly columnist at Truthdig and writes for teleSUR English. Sonali is also the founding Co-Director of the Afghan Women’s Mission, a US-based non-profit solidarity organization that funds the work of RAWA.
She is the author of Bleeding Afghanistan: Washington, Warlords, and the Propaganda of Silence (2006, Seven Stories). She lives in Pasadena with her husband and co-author James Ingalls and two sons aged 8 and 2.
In addition to her journalistic and political work, Sonali is also an accomplished artist and has shown her work at several exhibits. Her favorite medium is acrylic on canvas but she also dabbles in tile mosaic, sewing, crochet, papier mache, soap and candle making.
She is a singer/songwriter and has performed with her husband James Ingalls at local coffee houses under the name “Love and Subversion.”
2015 – Winner of Best TV Anchor award, Los Angeles Press Club Awards Annual Dinner
2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 – Finalist for Best Radio Anchor, Los Angeles Press Club
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
Sonali Kolhatkar was born and raised in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, to Indian parents. She has two sisters. She is the granddaughter of the famed Indian independence leader and freedom fighter S. Y. Kolhatkar, who founded the Communist Party of India – Marxist.
In 1991, at the age of 16, Sonali left her family and moved to the United States for higher education. In 1996 she obtained a Bachelor of Science in Physics and a Bachelor of Arts in Astronomy with Special Honors from the University of Texas at Austin. In 1996 she obtained a Master of Science in Astrophysics from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
From 1998 to 2002 she worked as an Applications Developer at the California Institute of Technology. In March 2002, Sonali changed careers and left astronomy to host a morning show on KPFK, Pacifica Radio. Watch Sonali’s TEDx talk describing how she transitioned from a career in Astronomy to public radio.