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Today’s the big day.

NIAC Action has raised over $600,000 for the Biden campaign, key Senate candidates, House champions and challengers, and Iranian Americans running in state and local elections.

Our volunteers have made tens of thousands of phone calls and helped register and turn out thousands of Iranian American voters.

Now, election night is upon us and here is what we will be watching for (you can also follow along in real time with us on our staff’s Election Hub tracking doc here):

Presidential

Biden’s path to victory is winning back Wisconsin and Michigan — two Democratic strongholds where he is heavily favored but which were key to Trump’s surprise victory in 2016 — and there is a decent chance we will know the results in these two states on election night.


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Our members have spoken: by a margin of 85%, NIAC Action members have voted to endorse Joe Biden for President!

Now it’s time to roll up our sleeves and get to work.

We have never endorsed in a presidential election before, instead focusing our efforts on Congressional races and Iranian-American candidates. But this year, the stakes are too high and the differences at the top of the ballot are too stark for the largest grassroots Iranian-American organization not to pick a side.

Donald Trump has been an absolute nightmare for our community. He banned Iranians and separated our families in his first week in office, he has fanned the flames of racism against communities like ours, he has detained Iranian Americans and deported Iranians for no crime other than their heritage. He has put the U.S. and Iran on the brink of war and dramatically escalated the suffering of ordinary Iranians with cruel sanctions. …


By Jamal Abdi and Adam Weinstein

Donald Trump’s two-year old Muslim Ban presents a simple but important test for the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives and any Republicans who claim independence from President Trump: will they fight unconditionally for the rights of all Americans? Two new pieces of legislation offer an opportunity to meaningfully fight against the Muslim Ban and not allow this draconian policy to become the new status quo.

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The stories behind the Muslim Ban should shock all Americans. Everyday, our organization is contacted by Iranian Americans who are separated from their family and have no place to turn. We have been heard from multiple people with life-threatening illnesses who simply want to be visited by their siblings and parents. We have received numerous pleas for help from students, who are supposed to be exempt from the ban, but who are unable to complete years of doctoral studies in the U.S. because they are unable to renew their visa after visiting home. Parents of Americans now attend weddings via Skype and even married couples remain separated by the ban. In one case this past summer, an American doctor finally obtained a waiver for his wife to come to the U.S. after multiple denials — despite being married to a U.S. citizen and suffering from a serious heart condition. …


As the world celebrates International Women’s Day 2019, I’m pleased to announce a new gender equity initiative we are undertaking at the National Iranian American Council. This year’s International Women’s Day theme, #BalanceforBetter, is moving organizations all across the world in forging a more gender-balanced world – and for the Iranian-American community, we are proud to join that effort.

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NIAC is dedicated to protecting the civil rights of all Americans and amplifying the voices of the Iranian-American community. As such, we take seriously our responsibility to lead by example. …


I remember this day two years ago, a few days after Trump’s inauguration, when the murmurs started. Trump was reportedly pressing forward with a promise rooted in hate. A leaked memo outlined how the Muslim Ban would be instituted: a total ban on Muslim-majority countries that had weak political positions in the U.S. A ban on the countries Trump could get away with, for now.

The largest banned group would be my community — Iranians. And, based on our reading of the leaked memo, it wouldn’t matter if you had a visa or even a green card — if you were from Iran or one of the other banned countries and were not inside the U.S., you would be banned for the indefinite future. This represented a big, beautiful wall but instead of concrete or steel slats, it would be erected at American consulates throughout the world and keep people out based on their national origin and religious background. …


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Ever since Election Day 2016, there has been a prevailing feeling that has haunted many Americans, but particularly minority communities like Iranian Americans: a sense that we lack agency and do not have control of our own civic lives.

I understand why many people may feel beaten down and hopeless as Trump bans our families, levels inhumane sanctions and empowers people like John Bolton and the MEK who are intent on starting a war.

But I promise you: this is a temporary illness. We are the antibodies who can defeat Trumpism and take back control of our body politic. We may not all be interested in politics, but politics is certainly interested in us — which is why NIAC is organizing our first-ever action summit in DC later this month. …


Today is my first day as President of the National Iranian American Council. I could not be more proud to take the helm of this organization that my friend and mentor Trita founded and developed into a powerhouse with influence throughout Washington, a dynamic staff in D.C. and California, and tens of thousands of members and supporters across the country. But at this critical juncture, we have a lot of work ahead of us to fight for the priorities of the Iranian-American community.

I joined NIAC’s team in 2009 as Policy Director, became the founding Executive Director of NIAC Action to ensure our voices were heard at the ballot box, and most recently served as NIAC’s Vice President. Over that time, we have been through it all — from the hopes of the 2009 Iranian elections to human rights crackdowns and crippling sanctions. From a historic diplomatic opening and the promise of building bridges between Americans and Iranians, to a ban that divides us from our families. …

About

Jamal Abdi

President of @NIACouncil

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