#ICYMI: NIAC’s Annual Ruby Gala in New York

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. 

Missed the event? No problem! Check out our highlight reel of the night here and visit our events page to learn more about our upcoming galas in Washington DC and San Francisco!

#ICYMI: NIAC’s Annual Sapphire Gala in Los Angeles

On September 21st, NIAC was pleased to host its annual Sapphire Gala in Los Angeles. The evening was marked by an outstanding group of NIAC friends and allies, exceptional speakers, food and entertainment, and, of course, some laughter and levity, thanks to our master of ceremony, Iranian-American comedian K-von

We had the pleasure of hearing not one, but two incredible Congresswomen who work everyday to champion the priorities of the Iranian-American community and the progressive values our country so deserves. NIAC Research Fellow, Dr. Assal Rad, after remarks of her own, welcomed Congresswoman Katie Porter (CA-45) to the stage.

Congresswoman Porter regaled the audience with the importance of holding the White House accountable and with her experiences working with the Iranian-American community. She has been integral in the fight to protect our community against the discriminatory Muslim Ban. Moreover, she remains an ardent proponent of advancing peace and diplomacy by preventing war with Iran and advocating for the United States to return to the Iran nuclear deal.

NIAC President Jamal Abdi also took to the stage to share his own story: his family’s immigrant journey, navigating being Iranian and American, and underscoring the importance of our community doing everything possible to build the political power we need to secure our seat at the table. 

We were proud to give Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-48) NIAC’s first ever Courage Award. NIAC Board Member Siobhan Amin presented Congressman Waters with the award for her commitment to peace, equality, and justice. In today’s political environment, she has been an oasis of the sound policy needed to ensure our children and all future generations can live in a more peaceful world. We are fortunate to call Congresswoman Waters our friend and ally and to have had such an amazing keynote speaker captivate the room with her story about fighting for the foundational values of this country.

All of us at NIAC are so grateful to have the incredible support of our community. Even in the hardest times, we find strength through solidarity. This year has been marked by a flurry of politics that have impacted our community in undeniable ways. Only together—and of course assisted sometimes by good food, amazing friends, and powerful words—can we build political power for the Iranian-American community and ensure our voices are heard all across the country, from Los Angeles to New York to Washington DC. 

And make sure to check out our events page to learn more about our upcoming galas in Washington DC and San Francisco!