Iranian Americans Gather In Support of Congressman Mike Honda
San Francisco, CA - On Friday, April
13, 2007, a group of Iranian Americans gathered at the Northern California home
of IAPAC Trustee Faraj Aalaei, in support of U.S. Congressman Mike Honda's
(D-15th/CA) reelection to the House of Representatives.
has represented the 15th Congressional District of California since 2001.
Recently named House Democratic Senior Whip, Mr. Honda's movement in Congress
has been dynamic. He currently serves on the Appropriations Committee, and has
held posts on its Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, Commerce,
Justice, Science, and Legislative Branch subcommittees. As Vice Chair of the
Democratic National Committee, to which he was elected in 2005, Congressman
Honda is working on incorporating new and emerging constituencies into the
Democratic Party's agenda. His reaching out to the Iranian American community is
one example of that effort. As a progressive democrat, Congressman Honda has
fought for the causes of underrepresented minority groups and advocated for
their civil rights. His experience as a Japanese American, interned as a youth
in a Colorado internment camp during World War II, brings such issues very close
to home. His experiences and political posture made him an early advocate of the
Middle Eastern community, targeted after the attacks of September 11.
The gathering, comprised of Iranian Americans representing the business,
technical, and academic sectors, engaged Congressman Honda on a multitude of
issues. After the Congressman mingled individually with attendees, Mr. Aalaei
began the group discussion with an eloquent introduction, thanking the
Congressman for his support of the Iranian American community, recognizing his
political achievements, and sharing with Congressman Honda what issues are of
concern to the Iranian American community now. Participants shared their beliefs
that Iranian Americans, despite their views on the current regime in Iran, do
not want Iran to be militarily attacked by the United States, and do not want
Iran to become the next Iraq. The hour-long group discussion, and further
individual discussions, delved into issues of foreign policy, immigration, and
stem cell research, and views ranged on many of the issues.
Honda listened closely to the concerns of the group, and responded with his
thoughts on the issues, and his recommendations to help the Iranian American
community find its political voice. "We call ourselves a nation of immigrants.
It's true. But we're really a nation of diasporas," stated Congressman Honda,
evidencing his understanding of Iranian American emotion toward the plight of
the Iranian people. The theme of family unification, between Iranian Americans
and their family living in Iran, emerged in a conversation about immigration.
Congressman Honda responded to an inquiry regarding the difficulty Iranians face
in obtaining visas, stating that family unification is an important objective,
and that he and others in Congress are working to make the immigration system
more responsive and efficient in expediting visa requests - changes, he said,
that could be expected in the near future. He added that such changes include
updating the technical processes used by government agencies reviewing and
granting visa requests.
On the issues of political mobilization and the
development of the identity of the Iranian American community, Congressman Honda
emphasized the importance of the community showing the U.S. government and media
who Iranian Americans and Iranians actually are. The Congressman suggested to
achieve that goal, the Iranian American community needs to send clear and
succinct messages to government and media regarding its position on issues
important to it, by creating talking points on issues and the rationale behind
them, and providing that to government leaders, by getting more editorials
written and published in newspapers and other media outlets, and by sitting down
with government representatives and telling them the Iranian American community
wants to be involved.
Congressman Honda showed grace, warmth, and what it
means to be an accessible leader, as he later enjoyed the Persian cuisine, and
spoke individually with those gathered in his support.
here to learn more about Congressman
... Payvand News - 5/7/07 ...
... Payvand News - 5/7/07 ... --