Date: Sunday May 18, 2003, 4:00-8:00 PM
Place: 1015 Battery (Piperade), San Francisco, California
Six months ago, a group of concerned Iranian-Americans got together and established the Bay Area Iranian-American Voter Association (baivoter.org). As a non-partisan, nonprofit, volunteer organization, we set out to encourage and facilitate the informed and active participation of Iranian-Americans in the democratic process.
What prompted us to embark on this road was the need we all saw in educating ourselves and others on issues affecting the Iranian-American community, and on our rights and responsibilities as effective citizens. We believed that by exercising our right to vote and through active civic participation, Iranian-Americans would be able to establish a real voice that would not only empower us to hold our elected representatives accountable, but would also enable our community to safeguard its civil liberties, as guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States. Taking into account the post 9-11 environment, with the general erosion of civil liberties and the specter of Japanese-American style concentration camps hanging over our community, it was clear that this latter point was no longer an academic one. Since then, the INS roundup and mistreatment of Iranian immigrants under the rubric of the 'War on Terrorism' has brought greater urgency to our community's need for a stronger voice and a more active civic presence.
During the past six months, we have been successful in achieving a number of our organizational goals. We have incorporated baivoter as a nonprofit California public benefit corporation and are in the process of obtaining recognition of tax exemption under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. We have also registered the baivoter.org domain and hosted it with a service provider. Our web site is currently light on content and functionality but as soon as our resources allow, it will become an effective empowerment tool, providing Iranian-Americans with reliable election information, congressional report cards, issues polling, as well as news, articles, and opinions on matters of importance to the community.
Since we started last year, we have been attending a number of local Iranian-American events, where we have been doing non-partisan voter registration and community outreach activities. The positive reception we have got from the community has been very encouraging, validating our belief that the time has come for our community to establish a more active civic presence. A number of people we have met at events have volunteered to help us in our activities. The support we have received from other community-based groups has also been heartwarming. There seems to be a consensus among our community on the need to address our common concerns and safeguard our common interests.
It goes without saying that, as a community-based organization that is being built solely on the voluntary efforts and dedication of concerned Iranian-American citizens, our success is entirely dependent not only on the contributions of those who would volunteer their time and resources, but also on the support of the community at large. So far we have used our own financial resources to cover organizational costs. However, in order to take baivoter to the next level and continue to move forward, we need the financial support of members of the community. To this end, we have decided to hold a fundraising event on May 18, 2003. There will be a number of prominent personalities speaking at the event. There will also be finger foods, drinks, and entertainment. The details of the event are attached.
As part of preparations for this event, we are contacting our circle of friends in order to compile a guest list from those who might be interested in attending.
If you think you would be attending, please respond by Friday May 2 to email@example.com, with your mailing address, so we can mail you an invitation card.
If you cannot make it to the event, but would still like to help baivoter, you can send your tax-deductible contribution to:
Bay Area Iranian-American Voter Association
544 Weddell Drive Suite 11
Sunnyvale, Ca 94089
... Payvand News - 4/24/03 ... --