One of the biggest challenges for LWVBAE, and indeed many local Leagues throughout the country, is maintaining a diverse membership that includes young people. Only younger members can ensure the League future. To lead the charge our own Social Media Manager Adena Ishii will serve as New Membership Chair. “It’s important to have diversity in a group that works with a diverse set of people,” Ishii said. “If we want involved voters we need to make sure our group represents [those] we’re serving.”
Ishii first became involved with the League through its program to hold mock elections at Berkeley High School, an event for which she volunteered while serving as president of the Civic Engagement Club at Berkeley City College. In 2014 the League awarded Ishii its Spirit of the League Award for engaging Berkeley students in community, politics and their own education as well as initiating a program to advise and assist local community college students in transferring to a four-year campus and thriving once enrolled. Ishii enrolled in community college after the 10th grade, ultimately graduating from both Berkeley City College and the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley.
Venturing to say she’s the youngest League member, Ishii applied and has served in the Social Media Manager position since October. “As an Asian young person, I felt out of place at the League,” she said. Most people see it as something only older people join, but we have the potential to have all kinds of people.” Ishii said that while it’s true some young people are apathetic or don’t believe their vote has the power to change the system, other young people care and are engaged, “but don’t know things like the League exist.”
To bridge that gap, Ishii plans to develop more social media and events to connect with the League’s underrepresented populations and adopt membership recruiting ideas from other local Leagues. Ishii summed up her optimistic outlook for her new position saying, “Sometimes the smallest changes can make the biggest difference.”
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