By Darya Minovi
I never quite understood why my dad seemed to locate every Iranian within a 10-mile radius of us. The car mechanic down the road is Iranian? Let's take our car to him. That new cafe is owned by Iranians? Let's try it. It seemed also obsessive, how much we tried to forge connections with these strangers with whom we shared a common heritage. These people and my family were all I knew of Iran while growing up. I had done the wholemehmooni thing; playing with my many cousins in the basement while our parents chatted upstairs until we all converged for a feast of loobia polo, kabob, tahdig, and chai to end the night.
"I always felt like I was on the outside looking in to what it meant to be an Iranian.
As much as I loved these nights, I felt that my sense of "Iranian-ness" did not go much farther. With American stepparents, my Persian became broken, and there was often only one other Iranian at school. This is not a complaint - I had a wonderful childhood, but even still, I would look with envy at my cousins who seemed so grounded in identity. I always felt like I was on the outside looking in to what it meant to be an Iranian. Whenever anyone asked me where I was from, I never quite knew what to say.
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Darya Minovi is a recent graduate of The College of William and Mary where she completed her BA in Environmental Policy and Public Health. She was an active member of Amnesty International, Photography and Project Phoenix Tutoring. She also served as an Officer of the Kappa Delta Sorority. Ms. Minovi focuses on recruitment and retention, student organizing and public engagement as a member of IAAB's staff.
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For more information about the 2014 IAAB Summer Leadership Institute, including camper applications, please visit IAAB's website. For photo, video, and blog from the 2013 SLI, please visit Camp Ayandeh and Javan 2013's Blog.
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