By Shahrzad Daneshvar and Shervin Boloorian, National Iranian American Council
panelist perspectives and expertise, the “Iranian American Know Your Rights
Campaign” meeting was moderated by Robert Babayi, Executive Director of the
District Director of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) of
“The bad news is that it is not always something that people who experience this kind of discrimination will come to us about. There are many who understandably fear the government or are intimidated by it, so one of my aims is to go to meetings like this and let people know that we are here…I want you to know that our doors are open to you,” said Director Hutter.
Speaking passionately about the extremity of Iranian-American discrimination cases she had witnessed, the President and Founder of the National Legal Sanctuary for Community Advancement, Banafsheh Akhlaghi, spoke about the urgent need to inform the Iranian-American community of their civil rights and to build coalitions with other impacted ethnic communities.
According to Ms. Akhlaghi, the Know Your Rights Coalition was launched in response to the rise in FBI surveillance of families and students and was intended to keep law enforcement agencies accountable. She noted several country-of-origin discrimination cases affecting Iranian Americans which led to improper workplace background checks, interrogations and surveillances, deportation proceedings against US citizens, and inappropriate recruitment of law enforcement informants within the community.
The Campaign, which was launched in Los Angeles at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Southern California headquarters, fueled the introduction of HRes 367 in July 2005—a non-binding resolution condemning bigotry, violence, and discrimination against Iranian Americans.
“Hate crimes are
nothing new to this country,” said Congressman Meehan, “We need to educate the
public about hate crimes against the Iranian American community and that is why
I passed HRes 367. I look forward to a day in
spotlighted the discriminatory practices of the
Ms. Akhlaghi emphasized that all Iranian Americans are vulnerable to deportation and government profiling regardless of their legal status. “The events of today do not immune any of you based on your status in this country. My status can be revoked from me based on what the government may find or believe to find.”
concurred that educating citizens of their rights can help fight discrimination;
however, no concrete legislative recommendations were outlined to address the
issues. Dalia Hashad, Director of Amnesty International’s
criticized the alleged rampant discrimination being carried out by federal law
enforcement agencies, Akhlaghi fervently defended the
... Payvand News - 7/14/06 ... --