Jocelyn Yow has made history of becoming by becoming the youngest woman to become a mayor in California. The 25-year-old mayor was born to a Malaysian father and a Vietnamese mother. Although she was born in the US and therefore a US citizen by birthright, she considers Alor Setar her hometown.
Jocelyn Yow is proud to be a Malaysian-Vietnamese-Chinese-American
Jocelyn’s father went to the US in the 1980s to pursue his studies in engineering at the University of Arizona while her mother was from a refugee family who moved to the US in the 1980s. Her parents settled in San Jose, California which is also where Jocelyn was born.
The family then returned to Alor Setar, Kedah in 1996 while she was still a baby after her paternal grandfather was diagnosed with cancer.
She ended up spending over 10 years in Malaysia where she lived and grew up in Alor Setar, Kedah. She went to SMJK Keat Hwa in Alor Setar.
Later in 2011, when she was 16 years old, she returned to the US with her brother to attend college. Her parents then followed them a few years later to settle down in Eastvale.
Jocelyn studied at Norco College and the University of California, Berkeley. Currently, she is pursuing a master’s degree in government at Harvard Extension School.
Joclyn’s appointment was historical as she is the youngest woman of colour to serve as a mayor of a Californian city
Jocelyn Yow is the first Malaysian-American in US public office. In fact, she is the youngest woman of colour to be elected mayor in a California city. She was officially sworn in on 10 December as the Mayor of Eastvale in Riverside County – a town located an hour east of Los Angeles, California.
She was elected to the Eastvale city council in 2018 and served in the position as Mayor pro-term this year before officially being appointed after the city’s council meeting in December.
Her first agenda as Mayor of Eastvale is to create the city’s first library and to increase representative for people of colour in the city
Besides being Mayor of Eastvale, she is also the policy manager for IGNITE – a national nonprofit to elect more women to positions of power.
In the past, she has worked as a district representative for California State Senate and as an aide for the US House of Representatives where she helped seniors, families, small businesses, nonprofit organisations, and children access valuable government services.
The mother of one shared that she wants to be the pioneer for other young women and mothers to follow her example.
“It is crucial we include the perspective of young women and mothers while making important decisions that impact the familes we serve.”
“While I will be the youngest woman of colour and one of the very few young mothers to serve as Mayor in the state of California, I am hopeful that more young women and mothers will follow suit,” she said.