Mary Hayashi – Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
As an Asian American woman who has navigated the political landscape, I believe it is important to recognize and celebrate the contributions of other Asian women. Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month provides an opportunity to reflect on the achievements of Asian women in politics and the progress we have made in recent years. However, it’s also crucial to acknowledge the challenges that we have faced and the ongoing barriers that still exist.
Through my experiences, I understand the unique obstacles Asian women encounter in politics and the need for more diverse voices and perspectives in the field. I am passionate about advocating for greater representation and support for women like Sheng Thao, Michelle Wu, and Fiona Ma. I also want to profile trailblazers like Kimberly Yee, Aruna Miller, Sylvia Luke, and Nikki Haley, who are making their mark and paving the way for future generations. As we celebrate these trailblazing women and their achievements, let us also recognize the ongoing work that must be done to ensure that all voices are heard and valued in politics.
Sheng Thao is a rising star in politics, serving as the current Oakland Mayor. Before her current role, she served as Oakland City Councilmember. She previously worked as Chief of Staff for Councilmember At-Large Rebecca Kaplan, where she was instrumental in securing funding for key community programs and initiatives.
As Mayor, Thao has made a significant impact on the Oakland community, particularly in the areas of public safety and community engagement. She has spearheaded efforts to reduce violent crime in the city while also working to address issues such as homelessness and affordable housing. Thao has also been a vocal advocate for greater inclusion and representation in local government, calling for increased diversity among city officials and leadership positions.
Michelle Wu is a rising political leader and the current Mayor of Boston. Before her election as Mayor, she served as a Boston City Councilor At-Large, where she championed a range of progressive policies and initiatives to advance equity and inclusion.
As Mayor, Wu has significantly impacted the Boston community, particularly in the areas of climate action, affordable housing, and transportation. She has worked to prioritize investments in public transit and infrastructure while advocating for greater access to affordable housing for all residents. Wu has also been a vocal advocate for environmental justice, calling for greater protections for communities impacted by climate change and pollution.
Kimberly Yee is a prominent figure in Arizona politics and the current Arizona Treasurer. Before her current role, she served in the Arizona House of Representatives and the Arizona Senate, where she worked to advance conservative policies and advocate for fiscal responsibility.
As Treasurer, Yee has significantly impacted the state, overseeing a range of financial and investment activities aimed at maximizing returns for Arizona taxpayers. She has also promoted financial literacy and education, particularly among young people and underserved communities. Yee has also been a powerful advocate for greater diversity and inclusion in politics, calling for more opportunities and support for women and people of color in leadership roles.
Fiona Ma is a respected leader in California politics and the current California Treasurer. Before her current role, she served in the California State Assembly, where she worked to advance progressive policies and advocate for greater accountability and transparency in government.
As Treasurer, Ma has significantly impacted the state, overseeing a range of financial and investment activities to promote economic growth and stability. She has also promoted financial literacy and education among underserved communities and small business owners.
Ma has also been a powerful advocate for greater representation and inclusion in politics, calling for more opportunities and support for women and people of color in leadership roles. Through her example, she has inspired countless others to pursue their dreams and aspirations in public service.
Aruna Miller is a respected political figure in Maryland and the former Lieutenant Governor of the state. Before becoming Lieutenant Governor, she served in the Maryland House of Delegates, where she worked to advance progressive policies and advocate for more significant equity and justice in society.
As Lieutenant Governor, Miller significantly impacted the state, working to promote economic development, support small businesses, and increase access to affordable housing. She was also a powerful advocate for women’s rights and social justice, advancing policies that would help address systemic inequalities and promote more significant equity and inclusion in society.
Sylvia Luke is a prominent political leader in Hawaii and the state’s current Lieutenant Governor. Before her role as Lieutenant Governor, she served in the Hawaii House of Representatives, where she focused on various issues, including education, healthcare, and economic development.
As Lieutenant Governor, Luke has significantly impacted the state, working to promote sustainability, advance renewable energy, and support small businesses. She has also been a vocal advocate for environmental protection and social justice, working to ensure that Hawaii remains a vibrant and equitable place for all residents.
Nikki Haley is a well-known political figure and former Governor of South Carolina. She has had a distinguished career in politics, serving as Governor and the United States Ambassador to the United Nations. Throughout her career, Haley has been known for her strong leadership and commitment to public service.
As Governor of South Carolina, Haley significantly impacted the state, working to improve education, promote economic development, and advance environmental protection. She was also a vocal advocate for women’s rights and social justice, offering policies that would help address systemic inequalities and promote more significant equity and inclusion in society.
The seven Asian women in politics highlighted in this article have made significant contributions to their respective communities and politics. From Sheng Thao’s work as Oakland Mayor to Nikki Haley’s time as Governor of South Carolina, these women have demonstrated the power and potential of Asian women in leadership positions.
They have faced numerous challenges and obstacles throughout their careers, including discrimination and cultural stereotypes. However, they have persevered and impacted their communities, paving the way for future generations of Asian women in politics.
I, Mary Hayashi, consider it crucial to support and empower Asian women in politics as they bring unique perspectives and experiences to the table. By promoting diversity and inclusion in politics, we can create a more representative and equitable society that truly reflects the values and aspirations of all people.
As we celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, let us honor the achievements of these seven trailblazing women and all those who have paved the way for a more diverse and inclusive political landscape. Let us also continue to work towards a brighter future where all people, regardless of race or gender, can have an equal voice and opportunity to shape the future of our society.