This is the plan

Dear Iranian American,

It’s been a difficult past few weeks.  

Like most of you, I’ve spent many hours processing the election. I’ve laid awake some nights wondering what a Trump presidency means for our community. And I have heard from countless NIAC members who share the same concerns.

Many of you are worried about that your children will grow up as second class citizens and that the civil rights of all Americans are in jeopardy. You’re concerned about the US-Iran relationship drifting back towards war.

I’ve heard from members who suggest working with the administration and making the most of a difficult situation. Some of you are hopeful Trump will eventually pursue more moderate policies. Others are terrified of what is to come. We hear you all loud and clear.

With every new update about President-Elect Trump’s cabinet appointments, there is greater cause for concern.

Trump has selected a man with ties to the White Nationalist movement, Steve Bannon, as chief strategist, pro-war lawmaker Mike Pompeo as CIA Director, and noted Islamophobe Gen. Michael Flynn as National Security Advisor.

Trump has chosen to surround himself with individuals who have stated that fear of Muslims is “rational,” who want to bomb Iran, and who have called for instituting a registry for immigrants from “high-risk” countries – such as Iran. These are realities we cannot deny.

So, what is our plan now that our civil rights are at risk and war with Iran is back on the table?

  1. We must unite. No matter where you are on the political spectrum, no matter what your views are on Trump’s proposals or cabinet picks, it’s time to stick together. For decades, our community has succumbed to increasingly discriminatory policies and hateful rhetoric. From getting stopped in airports and kicked off flights, to being denied entry into the United States because of our nationality, to falling victim to vicious hate crimes. These incidents have occurred regardless of our religion, citizenship status, or skin color. If there was ever a time to set aside our differences and stand united as Iranian Americans, that time is now.
     
  2. We must stand in solidarity with any group that faces discrimination, including our Arab, Muslim, African-American, Latino and Jewish allies. The lesson from our own struggles with discrimination is not to distance or differentiate ourselves from other groups, but to stand up and declare that we are all in this together.
     
  3. We build coalitions. We worked with a diverse group of organizations in our efforts to secure the US-Iran nuclear deal and achieved strength in our numbers. We are, as you read this, further building and nurturing our relationships with groups like the American Civil Liberties Union, the Arab American Institute, the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Muslim Advocates, J Street, and countless others. The only way we can overcome bigotry is by working together and shining a light on a better path for our country.

While we face challenging times, we will never close any doors. We will continue to pursue dialogue with all parties – as we have done throughout the past 15 years – in order to advance peace, understanding and the values of tolerance and equality that we hold dear.

To those of you who are angry, worried, or fearful, know that you have a home with NIAC. We will advocate for you even in the most difficult times. We have never shied away from a tough challenge. We will resist every law that threatens to discriminate against our community and beyond, and every move that would bring us closer to war.

But we need your support to do it. It is only through your support that we can overcome bigotry and halt the drift towards war.

Please contribute $100 or an amount that is right for you to invest in the voice of our community.

We have a long road ahead of us. Let’s travel it together.

All the best,

Elham Khatami
Outreach Director

About Author

Elham KhatamiElham KhatamiElham serves as NIAC's National Outreach Director, overseeing the organization's grassroots and field operations. Prior to NIAC, Elham served as a research manager, editor, and reporter during her five-year career at the Capitol Hill news organization CQ Roll Call. She has also worked for the Sunlight Foundation, a nonprofit organization advocating for government transparency, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and CNN. Elham earned her Masters in Global Communication from George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Pittsburgh, where she received her BA in political science and writing. Elham was born in San Francisco, CA and raised in Pittsburgh, PA.
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