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.