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What Did We Learn from HR158

What Did We Learn These Past Two Weeks

1. The Iranian-American community can be mobilized quickly but not always effectively. A group was created around a cause (this FB page, HR158) and 120,000 people signed on. That is very good. But only 1/3 of them bothered to sign a petition that regardless of whether the President signed the bill or not (he now has) would send a protest signal to the White House. Friends you cannot swim without getting wet: you want action you need to take action –clever posts and comments are not enough. (btw you can still sign the petition until Jan. 11th.)


2. To be effective we need both united grassroots voices and, also effective one-on-one dialogue with top policy makers by those members of our community who have access. Both methods are effective and essential. Our community is maturing and we are learning how the game is played. Over the years IAs have supported and raised funds for both Democratic and Republican candidates and have developed relationships. While grassroots mobilization is best done through the social media, the one-on-one lobbying is done quietly without much fanfare and publicity. You may not have seen or heard it these past two weeks but it was done.
3. This fight is not over yet. There is wiggle room on how this law is going to be implemented.
4. We need to support all organizations that represent us. These past two weeks PAAIA, NIAC & ACLU have been working hard on our behalf. While I am active within PAAIA I commend NIAC for the great work that they do. We need everybody.
5. But unfortunately we also do have the do-nothing mudslingers whose only contribution to our community has been through labeling people. Their favorite? Calling anyone who does not support their delusional pursuit “IRI sympathizers or agents”. Little people with little minds. I for one dismiss them.
6. This is not the last discrimination act we are going to fight. Unfortunately America is vey much polarized now with a large segment of population being riled up through fear mongering to take hostile position against minorities based on race, ethnicity, religion and nationality. We cannot tolerate that.

Some final thoughts …..

America — I do not consider myself a guest in this country. I never have. I am an American not due to an accident of birth but a conscious decision. This is my country I chose it. I have done well by it and it has done well by me. It is not perfect but it is based on ideals that I support. I love this country.

Iran – it is the country of my birth. Love its history, culture, and food. It is a land of my parents and my ancestors. Love the warmth and hospitality of its people. I wish them freedom of choice and means to express it. They are our brothers and sisters.

I am an unapologetic (in fact quite proud) Iranian-American and will strive to stand up for my rights and that of my community in the country that I love. I do not consider myself “Second Class Citizen” nor do I like that label. You say it often enough and you will become so.


Author: ِDr. Firouz Naderi
Date: 12-20-2015
Source: Click Here


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