On September 26th, NIAC took New York by storm to host the organization’s annual Ruby Gala. From a diverse array of inspiring speakers to a lively cocktail hour, the evening brought together our dearest friends and our most valuable partners to celebrate the Iranian-American community’s successes over the past year.
MSNBC’s Ari Melber, host of “The Beat with Ari Melber,” emphasized the notion that political power is in fact “zero sum” and that the Iranian-American community must work to build its power to ensure they have a seat at the table.
New York Assemblyman and Congressional candidate Michael Blake took to the stage to share his own story of his Jamaican background, emphasizing the common struggles that immigrants of all creeds and countries face. Florida State Representative Anna V. Eskamani also wowed the crowd with her own family’s history of settling in the United States, of navigating her identity in a state with few Iranian-Americans, and lauded event attendees for their support in ensuring she became the first Iranian-American to serve in the Florida Legislature.
NIAC President Jamal Abdi also shared his own story of his family’s immigrant journey and underscored the importance of our community doing everything possible to build the political power Iranian Americans need to secure a seat at the table: “NIAC is here to protect the American dream for everyone of us,” Jamal shared during his address. “We wake up every single morning and ask ourselves: what do we need to do today? What battle do we need to fight? What do we need to do to protect the civil and human rights of Iranian Americans?”
Among the evening’s highlights was the awarding of NIAC’s Courage Award to J Street, which Dylan Williams, J Street’s Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, accepted on the organization’s behalf. NIAC is proud to work alongside J Street to advocate for Iran policies in the White House that will advance peace and diplomacy—not lead to war. J Street’s tireless dedication to peace, equality, and justice has made them an invaluable friend and partner, and we’re pleased to have had the chance to acknowledge the organization’s outstanding work.
Gathering so many amazing members of our community in one room to reflect on the successes we’ve secured and the challenges we’re working to overcome is always a highlight of our year. Particularly now, as we face a tumultuous political environment, our community’s solidarity ensures our community’s strength. A chance to gather around food, friends, and powerful words, to garner support and connect with our community, means that NIAC can continue to build on the foundation needed to secure political power and ensure our voices are heard all across the country, from New York to Washington DC.