fresh voices from the front lines of change







Last Saturday, millions of us poured into the streets from Barrow, Alaska, to Washington, D.C., to Tallahassee, Florida at the Women’s Marches. I myself was proud to march with my family in our nation’s capitol. Our display of unity showed the world how powerful we are when we rise up together.

Now, Donald Trump is lashing out against values held by the majority of people in this country – and against families just like mine.

Yesterday the President signed executive orders beginning construction on a destructive and unnecessary border wall, creating a much-expanded deportation force, and exacting retribution against sanctuary cities.

Reports are that in the next few days Trump will sign another order attacking refugees – people fleeing war and seeking protection. This order will likely include what amounts to a Muslim ban. People needing refuge will be turned away because of Trump’s fear and hatred.

Years ago, my family immigrated here from Iran and we’ve been happy to call the U.S. our home ever since. If Trump’s ban on Muslims had been in place, my family would have never made it here. We arrived and saw our home country of Iran separated by a Revolution and wounded by the Iran-Iraq War. We stayed in the U.S., worked hard in face of uncertainty, went to school, and built communities and careers.

And while we faced a string of hostility during and after the Iran Hostage Crisis in the late 1970’s and after, I have always found that there is something beautiful and deeply good about the American soul. We have shared values of decency and compassion that bind us together. These are values that we strengthen only by practicing them, not just writing or thinking or tweeting about them. So after September 11th, in the wake of a tidal wave of Islamophobia, I was heartened by the number of friends and acquaintances who reached out and offered help, or asked how my family and I were really doing.

Yet Trump’s vision of our country is based on fear – not hope. That’s not the country we marched for on Saturday. That’s not the country that my family adopted as our home.

Like all bullies, Trump is a coward. He attacks those who are most vulnerable, thinking no one will stand up for them. But he’s wrong. The country will stand for hope not fear, and I know you will stand with us to say no to Trump’s border wall, refugee ban and discrimination against Muslims.

If you agree, post a “Solidarity Selfie” on social media:

1. Write a short note on a piece of paper – something like “Refugees Welcome,” “Here to Stay” or “I Stand with Immigrants” “#AllAreWelcomeHere” or your own message

2. Take a picture of yourself with the paper

3. Tweet the photo of yourself, along with a note, at @POTUS. Make sure to include the hashtag #SolidaritySelfie and mention @PplsAction if you have room!

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