DC - "There are still a large number of voices in Washington who want to
isolate and ostracize immigrants. We need to leverage resources to reach those
in Congress, in local government and the community at large. The message should
be: 'We are all patriotic Americans!'"
These were the words of Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-9th/NY), guest speaker at the Iranian American Political Action Committee's (IAPAC) New York City Junior Trustee Fundraising reception on August 4, 2005. The event, held at the home of Laleh Bashirrad and Neil Foster, was a great success; spreading the mission and goals of IAPAC to a new and interested group of Iranian Americans and acquainting Congressman Weiner with the community. A member of the House Judiciary Committee, Congressman Weiner is a cosponsor of the Civil Liberties Restoration Act (CLRA), which restores the rights of individuals unfairly targeted by the NSEERS registration program, including Iranian nationals.
The night began with a short presentation given by Morad Ghorban, IAPAC's Political Director. He discussed the importance of the Iranian American community coming together to create a political action committee to influence and gain access to lawmakers on the domestic issues of importance to the Iranian American community. "Whether you're a Republican or Democrat, a Nationalist or Monarchist, Iranian American domestic concerns, such as civil liberties and immigration, are similar," said Mr. Ghorban. In his presentation, he outlined a few of the past achievements of IAPAC, including the introduction of a Congressional resolution condemning bigotry and discrimination against Iranian Americans.
Shortly after Mr. Ghorban concluded his presentation, Congressman Weiner arrived eager to address the audience. After a brief introduction by Ms. Bashirrad and an announcement that Congressman Weiner officially intends to run for Mayor of New York City, the Congressman took the floor. He began with a warm and humorous anecdote and thanked the community for devoting time and effort to such a significant issue - American civic life. Congressman Weiner emphasized the need for more people to be aware of the role they can and should play in the political arena. He highlighted the role of political action committees, not only on a fundraising and monetary contribution level, but also, and more importantly, in providing the organization and fundamental structure necessary to reach out to Congress and the community.
Congressman Weiner said, "In New York, we understand how important immigration is to the economy and its positive influence on our city. Yet, on the national level, there is a conflicted view on immigration, which manifests itself during national strife and stress." He further discussed how to deal with these challenges, both federally and on a personal level. He stressed the importance of attracting creative and intelligent minds from all over the world as a means of competing as a country. "We can thrive economically only if we provide the people with tolerance and ensure that they are treated with respect."
As his speech came to a close, Congressman Weiner thanked the audience "for being involved, writing checks, being here, speaking out and spreading the word." There was a question and answer segment, in which the Congressman answered a multitude of questions. Before leaving the reception, Congressman Weiner took pictures and spoke individually to many people.
IAPAC would like to thank Host Committee members Ms. Laleh Bashirrad, Mr. Neil Foster, Ms. Marjun Ayati, Ms. Mina Guiahi, Mr. E. Ali Nodjoumi and Mr. Babak Yaghmaie as well as the guests whose participation made the evening a success. As Congressman Weiner noted at the end of his speech, "We must celebrate our freedoms. Democracy is about individual citizens talking to each other about what's important."
... Payvand News - 8/15/05 ... --