NIACast Episode #10 – Councilwoman Mitra Jalali on Black Lives Matter & anti-Blackness in the Iranian-American Community

Mana and Assal sat down with Saint Paul Councilwoman, organizer, and former teacher Mitra Jalali one month after the brutal killing of George Floyd at the hands of police. Mitra spoke of her own experience as a Councilwoman close to the site of Floyd’s murder and protests and the responsibility of non-Black Iranian Americans to support Black Lives Matter and confront the anti-Blackness within our own community.

Ensuring Black Lives Matter: Learning about the Movement

On 06/22, NIAC hosted a panel discussing the Black Lives Matter movement and the perpetual structures which affect Black American lives.

How has systemic racism shaped the Black American lives? What are movement leaders demanding at this time? Is reform possible and what does defunding the police mean? How does the U.S’s militaristic approach to global “safety” connect our experiences? How can we take steps to ensure that Black lives DO matter in the U.S? 

Watch the panel discussion to address these questions and more, with James Burch, Policy Director at the Anti-Police Terror Project and Azadeh Shahshahani, Legal & Advocacy Director at Project South.

Why Black Lives Matter Is Important to Iranian Americans

A letter is circulating among minority communities, seeking to explain why the Black Lives Matter movement is important to many first- and second-generation immigrants, many of whom are not Black themselves. It seeks to show that the roots of problems affecting Black communities are the same roots of many of our own troubles.

NIAC believes it important to share this within our own community — as many other immigrant and minority communities are sharing with themselves — in solidarity with Black Lives Matter. As Iranian Americans face our own issues and struggle to repeal the discriminatory laws that affect us, we must also look to those who have carried the weight of minority issues in this country for centuries and do our part to help.

Understanding BLM: Addressing Anti-Blackness in Our Community

The Black Lives Matter protests that have swept the nation reveal a historic moment of activism across the U.S., which demands racial equality, police accountability, and social justice. That Black Americans are at the center of these efforts is no surprise given that Black history is at the center of the American story. The distinct struggle of Black Americans for freedom and equality, which has spanned centuries, has paved the way for the civil liberties of other marginalized groups, a struggle that has helped us move towards the fulfilling the foundational ideals of the United States of America.

Kyle Rittenhouse Verdict Statement

We are deeply disturbed by the failure of the courts to deliver accountability for the murder of protesters at a Black Lives Matter demonstration last summer. This verdict sets a dangerous precedent and threatens the civil rights of all Americans by condoning and upholding violent vigilantism.

Letter from 400 Organizations to Congress: Help End Systemic Racism

NIAC Action joined over 400 civil rights, immigrant, and civil society groups today, including the National Action Network, NAACP, ACLU, and Black Lives Matter, calling on the U.S. Congress to enact reforms in response to national protests against police brutality and systemic racism. The killing of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and centuries of violence and oppression necessitate a robust response from our nation’s representatives in order to help create a system where Black lives are valued. 

Justice for George Floyd

While the struggle of black Americans for equality has spanned centuries, events in recent weeks have reignited outrage and illustrated the urgency of the Black Lives Matter movement. From George Floyd’s heinous death at the hands of police officers, to the disturbing video of Ahmaud Arbery’s murder in broad daylight, to the racist threats of Amy Cooper against Christian Cooper, it is clear that the deeply rooted racism that is endemic in American society continues to torment the lives of black Americans. 

NIAC Statement on the killing of Tyre Nichols

We are devastated by yet another killing of an unarmed Black man by police, this time 29 year-old Tyre Nichols of Memphis, Tennessee. Nichols – a father to a 4 year-old boy – was pulled over in a traffic stop on January 7th and then brutally beaten by police officers, which led to his hospitalization […]

Supported #BLM

Stood in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement in the wake of the brutal police killing of George Floyd, including by hosting a panel discussion with James Burch of the Anti-Police Terror Project and Azadeh Shahshahani of Project South to discuss systemic racism in the U.S.

Protest is a Human Right

Today, the world is watching us in horror, as demonstrations have been met with disturbing violence, repression, and even attacks on journalists. Scenes of tanks in Washington D.C. and calls by U.S. officials to have the military turned on its own citizens is unacceptable. The outcry that sparked these protests came after a distressing video surfaced showing the murder of George Floyd, in yet another killing of black Americans at the hands of police. But much like the case of Iran, the protests that have moved across the entire nation reveal profound cleavages in American society and a history of racial injustice that spans centuries.