From a young age, Miya Yoshitani’s father was a source of inspiration. An environmental engineer, he cleaned hazardous waste sites next to neighborhoods that were home to communities of color struggling with poverty. She grew to understand that residents in these communities need the technical skills and power to advocate for healthy, clean environments where everyone can thrive.
Today, Yoshitani is the Executive Director of the Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN), where she plays an instrumental role in helping hundreds of Bay Area Asian immigrants and refugees become powerful community leaders who hold elected officials accountable and have a voice in the decisions that impact their lives. Together, they are leading a movement to shift economies away from reliance on hazardous fossil fuels toward green economies that benefit everyone.
Under Yoshitani’s leadership, APEN runs one of the largest multilingual Asian American voter mobilization programs in the nation. They engage voters in seven different languages, during and between election cycles. This is critical because Asian Americans are the fastest-growing racial group in California; yet, they remain underrepresented in the electorate. Yoshitani is changing that. APEN has grown a base of over 20,000 Asian immigrants and refugees who support policies that improve living, working, and environmental conditions for communities of color.