Miyako Iwata is a student leader who is passionate about voting and civic engagement. As a member of the Associated Students of University of California (ASUC) Vote Coalition and an Andrew Goodman Vote Everywhere Ambassador, Miyako has been instrumental in working with her peers to design and implement strategies for encouraging students to vote. This year Miyako will be serving as the campus representative for the PAC 12 vote challenge, a multi university coalition committed to increasing student voter participation she co-founded, as well as co-leading numerous student voter participation activities on campus.
Growing up mixed-race in Oregon, I struggled to find reflections of myself in my hometown, on TV screens, and among the public officials who represented me in Congress. Yet it wasn’t until college that I became more aware of Oregon’s representation problem, and realized that this struggle was not mine alone, but one that affected other Americans, too.
That's why, during my sophomore year at UC Berkeley, I focused on registering my peers to vote during the 2018 midterm elections, and have continued to fight to make voting more inclusive — and our democracy more reflective — ever since.
In my role as Lead Andrew Goodman Ambassador, I founded the PAC-12 Voting Challenge — a cross-campus initiative which has brought together a coalition of schools committed to increasing student voter turnout across the West Coast. I have also worked with underrepresented communities on campus, including the Queer Alliance Resource Center and Transfer Student Center, to ensure that voting is made accessible to every Berkeley student.
By registering my peers to vote and getting them out to the polls, my hope is to create a democracy where every American can look up to their representatives and see a reflection of themselves.