Thursday, June 20, 2024

From the Nadya Okamoto campaign, March 29, 2017: Nadya Okamoto, a 19-year-old nonprofit director and global advocate for youth empowerment and gender equality, officially launched her campaign for City Council early today. Okamoto announced her candidacy in a video discussing her background, commitment to Cambridge and key issues addressed in her progressive campaign platform.

“Right now, Cambridge as a city needs to highlight and implement specific solutions for affordable housing, economic opportunity and education equity,” Okamoto said.

She announced that her run for City Council is for:

bullet-gray-small Young people in Cambridge to have direct representation and trust in their government

bullet-gray-small Families struggling to find adequate and stable housing

bullet-gray-small Maximizing the potential of how local universities can contribute to Cambridge

bullet-gray-small Equitable opportunities in education and employment for all Cambridge residents

bullet-gray-small Progress toward an even more environmentally friendly city

Nadya is the founder and executive director of Period, a global organization providing and celebrating menstrual hygiene through advocacy, education and service. She founded the organization when she was just 16, after her family experienced living without a home of their own. Since its founding in 2014, the organization has addressed almost 80,000 periods, reaching student advocates at more than 65 campuses and engaging more than 5 million people in the message of normalizing periods.

With her background in grassroots organizing, activism and community capacity building – and her personal connection to the key issues many underserved Cantabrigians face every day – Okamoto will bring a much needed, complementary perspective to the council. “Whether it be fighting for affordable housing, educational equity, worker’s rights or our environment, I’ll be right there with you as one of your city councillors, acting as a megaphone for all Cambridge residents,” Okamoto said.

Okamoto, a first-year student at Harvard College, is working with a full-time campaign team of young people eager to engage Cambridge voters – and not just student voters. Okamoto says this campaign is bigger than her and her team, and hopes the initiative will spur young people across the United States to have confidence in the value of their voices and necessity of their civic leadership. While Nadya is excited by the unexpected national and international media attention she has already received and the opportunity to model civic leadership for youth, she emphasizes that her campaign intends to win and above all to bring attention to long-standing issues that demand greater participation and innovative solutions.

“I do what I do because my purpose is to love and build community while uplifting others, and reconcile the privilege, voice and passion that I have to serve and make a difference wherever I am and with whatever I have,” she said.

To learn more about Nadya and her platform, visit