Reflecting on the Past Year
I started this blog in 2016 with the aim of sharing more about my work in Greece. I’d developed an educational program for youth living in refugee camps in Northern Greece and hoped to connect my community to the growing crisis. There was a shortage of Farsi/Persian speakers, as there continues to be in Greek camps, and my work with Iranian-American youth meant that I had access to a growing crop of young people interested in volunteering.
However, everything changed with the U.S. election. I realized that I had a bigger role to play in the United States. I was organizing within the Iranian-American community for more than a decade, and with the growing hatred affecting our communities post-election, I believed my relationships and ongoing organizing would provide infrastructure to support our community. We had established a sense of security after the 2014 Iran agreement, believing that the Iranian-American community was no longer vulnerable. The warning signs were there with the passing of the visa waiver legislation in December 2015. I remember being on a call with State Department personnel and having them explain that the political will to get rid of the discriminatory legislation just didn’t exist in Washington.
But it was still surprising just how quickly and dramatically we would be banned by the new administration. We were supposed to be the easy campaign promise. It took three tries to create a version of the ban to argue over in the courts.
So now this blog is a space for me to try and understand the climate we’re living in – in a country that I recognize from history books. After yesterday’s SCOTUS decision, that feels even harder.