I don’t think I ever remember a midterm election that had so many involved and so much at stake. I don’t have any numbers to back this up but after speaking to many Iranian Americans, I felt like many who had not voted before in the community stepped out of their comfort zone and made their voice heard.
We have many firsts in this election:
- Rashida Tlaib is the first Palestinian American Congresswoman
- Ilhan Omar will be the first Somali-American Congresswoman
- Jared Polis is the first openly gay male governor in Colorado
- Sharice Davids & Deb Haaland are the first Native American Congresswomen
- Marsha Blackburn became Tennessee’s first female senator
- Janet Mills became Maine’s first female governor
- Ayanna Pressley, Massachusetts’ first black member of Congress
- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez became the youngest woman in Congress
- Abby Finkenauer became Iowa’s first Congresswoman
There were 94 women that son the House seats, 12 women that won the Senate seats and 8 Governor seats.
We made our own history in the Iranian American Community. Anna Eskamani (Florida), Anna Kaplan (New York), Zahra Karinshak (Georgia) and Sam Hamadani (North Carolina) became the first Iranian Americans elected to these states.
It’s critically important that Iranians remain engaged in the political process, even after election season.
I asked them how we can continue to support them and this is what Eskamani said: “I am beyond honored to be the newly elected State House Representative for Florida State House District 47, and to be the first Iranian-American elected to any public office in Florida. It’s critically important that Iranians remain engaged in the political process, even after election season. Consider getting involved on an issue that matters to you, or work with fellow Iranians to organize a voter registration drive. If you want to support me and my work, consider following us on social media and making a donation to our political committee, People Power for Florida. We are building a community for peace and progress in Florida, and appreciate your support.”
Shireen Ghorbani (Utah) was ahead of her opponent for the first part of the evening but did not win this time. I reached out to her for this article. She said, “I’m so proud of all we were able to accomplish with our team and was so grateful for all the Iranian Americans living in Utah and beyond who were excited about our race. Please continue to find candidates you can get excited about, continue to support their races by volunteering coordinating, it is so important to have a seat at the table.” She has an incredible spirit and amazing courage. I have a feeling we have not seen the last of her.
For this midterm, we also reached out to several candidates and asked them if they wanted to provide their message to the Iranian American community. Of these six candidates, 4 of them won the election. A small recap from the article below. Please keep the conversation going with these elected officials, provide them your support in any way you can and also get to know the elected officials in your area.
In his video message to the Iranian American community, Congressman Harley Rouda said, “I would like to talk about the Persian American community and how engaged they are in so many different aspects of American culture from celebrities to stars in sports to running major businesses like Dropbox and Twitter and so many of the other major corporations in the united states creating thousands of jobs across the country. We need to celebrate the Persian American culture and the Persian American individuals who play such important roles in our country.”
Congressman Mike Levin’s Q & A noted: “Your voice matters. Your community’s voice matters. Iranian Americans are one of the reasons that the United States is as strong as it is.” He then encouraged every to get to now the candidates and vote and stay engaged.
Congresswoman Katie Hill Q & A noted: “Iranian American community is sick of being divided for political gain.” She continued, “The Iranian American community plays a very important role in the success of California and the United States.”
I want to personally thank everyone that got out there to vote, volunteer and fundraise. A special thank you to the incredibly talented celebrities and prominent Iranian Americans that took time out of their hectic schedules to share their powerful messages and encourage the Iranian Americans to vote on the video we released on Monday. I’ve listed them in the order they appear in the video and provided links to their social media accounts. Please show them some love. Please keep engaged and keep making your voices heard.
Anna Eskamani (@AnnaForFlorida), Congresswoman Anna Eskamani
Shireen Ghorbani (@ShireenGhorbani), Congressional Candidate for Utah’s 2nd District
Ahmad Kiarostami (@akiarostami), Entrepreneur
Dr. Shokooh Miry (@DrMiry) & Cyrus, Clinical Psychologist
Sunny Toreihi (@sunnaaaaaay), Field Team Leader for Anna Eskamani
Cover image: Anna Eskamani and supporters celebrating last evening’s victory