Congratulations to David Emami, City Councilor of Happy Valley

We are excited to announce that NIAC Action endorsee David Emami has been officially appointed as City Councilor of Happy Valley in Oregon! We were proud to endorse Oregon’s first ever Iranian-American City Councilor in this competitive race. See what David had to say on his appointment:

“I am humbled, appreciative and thankful for this opportunity to serve as Oregon’s first ever Iranian-American City Councilor. I hope to inspire others out there to achieve their dreams and It is my absolute goal to represent ALL people of Happy Valley. I want to especially thank NIAC for their support and endorsement. Without organizations like NIAC that work to promote a greater understanding between the American and Iranian Community, appointments such as mine may not have been possible. Thank you all for your support!”

We look forward to seeing all that David Emami accomplishes as City Councilor!

We’re Proud to Endorse Sepi Shyne for West Hollywood City Council

We’re excited to announce our official endorsement of Sepi Shyne for West Hollywood City Council.

Sepi Shyne is a front-running Democratic candidate for the City Council seat. She’s an Iranian American, an attorney, and runs two small businesses, including a law firm. If elected, Sepi Shyne would become the first woman of color to serve on the West Hollywood City Council.

Sepi has written, “As a lesbian, Iranian immigrant and woman of color, I was never supposed to run for office … But at a time when our most basic rights are under attack and hateful legislators chip away at the foundation of our democracy, I am running.” We think she’s the most qualified candidate for this seat and are excited to give her our support.

Our endorsement for Sepi joins other notable endorsements for Sepi’s campaign, including endorsements from Congresswoman Katie Hill and John Erickson, City of West Hollywood Planning Commissioner, as well as from over a dozen other elected officials. She’s also been endorsed by the Democratic Party of San Fernando, The National Women’s Political Caucus, Stonewall Democratic Club, Equality California, and The Unite HERE Local 11! Labor Union.

Sepi is running a grassroots campaign, and is heavily focused on canvassing, phone banking, GOTV efforts, and community events.

Sepi can’t do this without our help. She’s up against three incumbents for her election on March 5th, and she needs our support to make this happen.

Electing Iranian-American candidates is a key part of building political power for our community. We hope we can count on you.

We’re Proud to Endorse Parshan Khosravi for CADEM Assembly District 73 Delegate

NIAC Action is proud to endorse Parshan Khosravi’s campaign to represent the 73rd Assembly District as a District Delegate for the California Democratic Party. If elected, Khosravi will strive to advocate for the Iranian-American community within the California Democratic Party.

A Zoroastrian, Khosravi came to the United States as a religious refugee in 2009. This experience has pushed him to empower his community. Since then, he has been a political advocate on a number of issues, from refugee advocacy, food insecurity, affordable education, and mental health advocacy, to fighting against Trump’s Muslim ban. He channeled his advocacy work through organizations like HIAS and NIAC and by taking on leadership roles in student government. As an undergrad at the University of California, Irvine, Khosravi was actively involved in the Associated Students of UCI, becoming the student body president from 2015-16. After moving along to his Master’s program at UCLA, Khosravi spent two years in the Executive committee of the UC Student Association and worked as the External Vice President for the UCLA Graduate Student Association. He not only used that role to raise student voices, but also the Westwood Iranian community, successfully advocating for what is now the North Westwood Neighborhood Council.

When recalling why Khosravi decided to get involved with the Democratic Party, he cited his desire to fight for the Iranian-American community: “While pursuing my graduate degree at UCLA, I shifted a lot of my advocacy towards protecting our Iranian refugees, many of whom were affected by the Trump ban. I remember looking at the footage of all of my fellow Iranians stuck at the airports across the country and realizing that there is no place for such hate and bigotry in our country, and decided I need to do something about it. That was the moment I started getting involved with the Democratic Party.” Since then, Khosravi was elected as the Chair of the Labor Caucus for the California Young Democrats and is now running with the Unity in the Community Slate to continue fighting for “equity-driven policies that serve to empower our communities”.

If elected, Khosravi will not only focus on policies affecting the Iranian-American community, like fighting the Muslim ban and promoting peace, but also fight for issues like infrastructure, climate change, after-school programs, senior services, and more.

If you are in CA Assembly District 73, please vote for Parshan Khosravi for CADEM Delegate on January 26. Details on where and when to vote can be found here.

You must be a registered Democrat to vote. If you are not a registered Democrat or registered to vote, but live in the district and wish to vote for Parshan, you can register or change your party affiliation on site.

We’re Proud to Endorse Reza Seena Soltanzad as CADEM Assembly District 24 Delegate

NIAC Action is proud to endorse Reza Seena Soltanzad as CADEM District Delegate for California Assembly District 24. Soltanzad is a young but thoughtful progressive candidate committed to Medicare-For-All, vigorous action on climate change, public housing, and grassroots politics instead of corporate interests.

Soltanzad majored in Political Science and communications at Santa Clara University and is a recent graduate. During college he gained experience as a refugee resettlement intern with the International Rescue Committee in San Jose and as an intern for the National Iranian American Council in Washington D.C. Progressive candidates such as Bernie Sanders inspired Soltanzad to enter grassroots politics. He believes the Democratic party must adopt a progressive platform to truly represent the working and middle classes. “I would like to see the Democratic Party adopt and endorse Medicare-For-All as a part of the domestic healthcare reform platform, endorse the Green New Deal as the strategy to combat climate change, and call for tuition-free public colleges and universities,” said Soltanzad. That’s why he decided to run with the ‘Grassroots Progressive’ slate.

Soltanzad is also deeply committed to issues that directly impact the Iranian-American community. He supports the JCPOA and opposes military conflict with Iran. He also stands firmly against the Muslim Ban which he views as unconstitutional and unethical.

If you are in CA Assembly District 24, please vote for Reza Seena Soltanzad for CADEM Delegate on January 26. Details on where and when to vote can be found here.

You must be a registered Democrat to vote. If you are not a registered Democrat or registered to vote, but live in the district and wish to vote for Soltanzad, you can register or change your party affiliation on site.

After the Midterms: Across the Country, Iran Warmongers & Muslim Ban Defenders Lost Big

Group Calls on House Democrats to Take Action to Save the JCPOA, Prevent War with Iran, and Repeal Trump’s Muslim Ban

For Immediate Release: November 7th, 2018
Contact: Yasmina Dardari | yasmina@unbendablemedia.com | (407) 922-8149 

Jamal Abdi, executive director of NIAC Action, issued the following statement:

“Across the country, candidates dedicated to overturning Trump’s outrageous and discriminatory Muslim ban and stopping war with Iran won big. To have a check on Trump is a huge victory for the Iranian-American community, our country and the global community.

“This victory was absolutely necessary given that the very foundations of our democracy, along with the security of immigrant communities in the United States, were deliberately targeted by an administration that has excelled in nothing but demagoguery. Faced with this concerted assault, Republicans either cheered Donald Trump on or stood silent as he separated us from our families and stacked his cabinet with warmongers.

“That’s why we are proud to play a key role in replacing many of Trump’s lackies with strong candidates who will defend our community. NIAC Action members donated their time and money to candidates that support the Iranian-American communities priorities, including by registering voters, organizing phone banks, text banks and canvassing trips to fight for a new Congress. All of that hard work has paid off in a major way.

“Iranian Americans also took major strides to ensure that we have a seat in the halls of power, with Anna Eskamani and Zahra Karinshak winning their races to their respective state legislatures by flipping red districts. In Utah, Shireen Ghorbani also ran an inspiring campaign in a deep red district, though fell short to the incumbent Congressman. We look forward to supporting many more Iranian Americans in the near future.

“We are tremendously excited by the Harley Rouda, Mike Levin and Jennifer Wexton elections and look to the next Congress to take action to save the vital nonproliferation accord with Iran, stop the Trump Administration’s path to war, and take serious action to repeal the President’s discriminatory Muslim ban.”

In its first ever slate of endorsements for federal office, NIAC Action, a grassroots, civic action organization advancing peace and championing the priorities of the Iranian-American community, announced its backing of Jennifer Wexton (VA-10), Harley Rouda (CA-48), Mike Levin (CA-49), Katie Porter (CA-45), and Shireen Ghorbani (UT-02) for Congress.

In addition to its federal endorsements, NIAC Action endorsed candidates running for state and local office, including Anna Eskamani running for Florida State Representative in the 47th District, Zahra Karinshak running for Georgia State Senator in the 48th District. Both Karinshak and Eskamani won their seats.

The federal candidates who won NIAC Action’s endorsement have all pledged to overturn President Trump’s Muslim Ban and oppose war with Iran. They ran against opponents who have blocked a vote in Congress overturning Trump’s Muslim ban, and have stood lockstep with Trump on his discriminatory agenda and decision to violate the Iran nuclear deal.

# # # # #

NIAC Action is the grassroots, civic action organization committed to advancing peace and championing the priorities of the Iranian-American community. We are a nonpartisan nonprofit and the 501(c)4 sister organization of the National Iranian American Council, which works to strengthen the Iranian-American community and promote greater understanding between the American and Iranian people.

Candidate Profile: Shireen Ghorbani, UT-02

“I see decisions being made everyday that violate the values that Utahns and Americans hold dear” said Shireen Ghorbani. “I am deeply troubled by the President’s actions and words that harm immigrants, specifically people of color, in this country.”

A proud first-generation Iranian American, University of Utah employee, and full-time mom, Ghorbani is running for U.S. Congress to represent Utah’s 2nd District. As the daughter of an Iranian immigrant, Shireen is “particularly distressed by the travel ban,” because “under this ban, families like [her] own are kept apart,” something that is unacceptable to her. If elected, Shireen will “support Congressional efforts to defund and rescind the Muslim ban,” including the Statue of Liberty Values Act that has been introduced in the House of Representatives. Shireen believes that “this ban is misguided and harmful” with “no evidence that it makes us any safer.”

In response to the Trump administration’s recent actions towards Iran, Shireen says she feels considerably less safe with the current president’s “saber-rattling” when there is no discernable plan in place. She also suggests Trump’s actions toward Iran are “distractions for a series of failed policies and scandals plaguing the administration.”

Hailing from outside of Bismarck, North Dakota, Shireen earned her Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and Communication Studies in 2013 from St. Cloud State University. Shireen and her fiance spent two years serving in the United States Peace Corps in the Republic of Moldova, an experience that has helped shape her campaign.

Shireen later went on to earn her Master of Arts in Communication Studies from University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and her Master of Philosophy in Organizational Communication and Policy from the University of Utah. She currently works as the Associate Director for Organizational Development and Communications for the University of Utah and is board chair of a local center that serves victims of sexual violence.

Shireen is challenging Republican incumbent Chris Stewart this November. Her campaign is focused on building grassroots support and Shireen is refusing any corporate donations.  Instead, she is focused on an “aggressive ground game…knock[ing] on thousands of doors across [the] state.” If elected, Shireen would become the first Iranian American in Congress, something she hopes will “start a movement for more people with deeper roots to the community to have a seat at the table.”  

NIAC Action Endorses Champion of Immigrant Rights, Shabnam Lotfi

NIAC Action is excited to announce our endorsement of Shabnam Lotfi, who is running for the Wisconsin State Assembly in District 77 and would become the first Iranian-American ever elected to the Wisconsin legislature!

“I was born in Tehran in 1982 and came to the US when I was just four years old. From a very early age, I wanted to be a lawyer and fight for justice.” Shabnam tells us. “The first lesson I learned in life was that democracy matters.”

Lotfi, a University of Wisconsin Law School graduate, currently serves as an attorney at her Madison-based firm Lotfi Legal LLC, focusing on immigration law. In March 2018, in the midst of Trump’s Muslim ban and the revelation that the State Department had issued a shockingly small number of waivers, she filed a class action lawsuit against the Trump Administration that is now pending in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Lotfi is also known for her popular Facebook group, Immigrants United, which she established to bring people together during times of crisis. In 2017, when the airports were a mess, Shabnam was instrumental in getting Iranian Americans the information and help they needed to navigate a difficult situation.

Shabnam is very active in the Iranian-American community and was a vocal supporter of the Iran deal, saying it “was a win-win agreement for everyone.” She lists government accountability, gun violence, and the University of Wisconsin as a few of her top priorities if elected to Wisconsin’s State Assembly.

Shabnam has been endorsed by Madison Mayor Paul Soglin, City Council President Samba Baldeh, former County Board Supervisor John Hendrich, two former Alders Robbie Webber and Eve Galanter, University of Wisconsin Law Professor Asifa Quraishi-Landes, and many others.

Wisconsin State Assembly District 77 is an open seat that has been held by retiring Representative Terese Berceau (Dem) for the past 20 years. Shabnam faces a primary that will be held in 3 weeks on August 14th. Since no Republican is running in this race, the winner of the primary will win the election in November. With our community’s support, we can help send Shabnam to the Wisconsin State Assembly.

Make a contribution to Shabnam’s campaign

To learn more about Shabnam check out the links below.

Campaign: https://www.shabnamforwisconsin.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ShabnamLotfi77/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ShabnamLotfi77

Candidate Profile: Melody Shekari, TN-28

“As the daughter of immigrants, I have watched firsthand our family’s fulfillment of the American Dream,” says Melody Shekari, “through hard work, struggle, and the many kindnesses of so many people, we have built a comfortable life in the US and have been able to give back to our community as well.”

As a proud first-generation Iranian American, and an accomplished attorney and community advocate, Shekari is running to represent the 28th District in Tennessee’s State House of Representatives. Born in Texas and raised in Chattanooga, Melody went on to earn a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Economics from Bentley University, a Masters of Public Administration from the University of Washington, and a Juris Doctor from the University of Southern California Gould School of Law.

Shekari decided to return to Chattanooga following her education and serve her community in various capacities, including as a board member on both the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee (ACLU) and the American Red Cross of Southeast Tennessee, as well as a founding member of the Empower Women PAC.

Advocating for the rights of all immigrants is a key issue to Melody and educating the immigrant community on these issues is vital: “As an attorney, I have become concerned with the infringement of the civil rights of all immigrants. I work with immigrant communities (including Iranian-Americans) to help them understand and advocate for their rights.” Melody is highly critical of President Trump’s Executive order, banning immigration from five Muslim majority countries, “I absolutely oppose Trump’s ban on immigration from Muslim countries. This is nothing more than blatant discrimination.”

In response to President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Melody has pledged to oppose any and all efforts at the state level that would undermine the tenants of the agreement. “By all accounts (even independent inspectors), Iran has been in compliance with this treaty.  There is no reason to rescind this agreement. What does it say to the world, if the US cannot be counted on to keep its word? We must continue to stand with our allies in support of the JCPOA,” says Melody.

In 2016, Melody decided to run for a House seat in Tennessee’s 3rd Congressional District. While she was ultimately not able to pull off an upset in this heavily Republican district, she did manage to win the Democratic nomination. Now, as she runs for a seat in the state legislature, she comes to the campaign with a unique set of skills honed on the trail in 2016.

With incumbent Democrat JoAnne Favors vacating her seat in the 28th district of the Tennessee House, a highly competitive field of five candidates is facing off in the Democratic primary. The winner will face Republican Lemon C. Williams in the November 6th general election.

Melody truly believes if she is elected she can institute change and improve the lives of her constituents, “I am running for State Legislature in Tennessee to make sure that every person can achieve his or her unique American Dream. There is nothing that cannot be achieved if we all work together. I want to move beyond today’s divisive partisan politics, and work with my colleagues to begin to get things done.”

To learn more about Melody’s campaign visit: http://www.melodyshekari.com/.

Melody’s primary election is set for August 2nd.