i wish it were easier but we’ve got this.

these are the things i wish i could say to you,

i know it’s harder than it has to be, but everything happens for a reason. there are times where you might feel discouraged or tired of fighting but remember we wouldn’t endure this pain if we couldn’t handle it. you are stronger than you know so stand your ground in the midst of this chaos, it’ll be over soon.

i wish it were easier but we’ve got this.

i know no soul brighter and more full of love than yours, no love better than what you’ve shown me daily. there isn’t one thing that could get in between us, this goes to show how valid that statement is. i know that this hurts but soon we’ll be so happy we won’t remember the pain. brighter days await us darling.

i wish it were easier but we’ve got this.

i’ll support you through this all, i’ve got you no matter what you need. don’t stop fighting for what you want, everything we are going through is worth it. we just have to get through the next few months, soon i’ll see you again. please don’t ever stop fighting.

i love you

you are strong

i’m not going anywhere

It’s Who You Love.

It’s Who You Love.  

Dear …,

I want you to know that how you feel isn’t crazy.  I know that it seems scary and like you’re doing the wrong thing by loving as you want to. It takes so much courage and strength to love openly and freely…. I promise you can do it no matter how tough it may seem. I know that you’re afraid things will get messy with your family finding things out and that they may not be the most accepting at first but this doesn’t mean you need to live constantly fearing what comes next.  I’ll keep this short, I just want you to know that you are strong and you’re the author of your own life. Be bold, I love you. – MT

I’ve never understood the individuals who are hateful towards people who do not allow society to put a label on their love.  Friendships, families, communities etc. are being torn apart by the societal expectation that an individual needs a label in order to fit in.  These are the individuals that fail to understand, It’s Who You Love.  It’ll never be up to them to decide how you feel.  

This serves as a message to the individuals out there that are living in apprehension, WHO YOU LOVE, IS WHO YOU LOVE. A message to those who think they are  “different”, the ones who can’t form the same intimate connection with one gender, however, instantly click with another, the ones that fall in love with “who they shouldn’t” unexpectedly, and “mistakenly,” desperately wishing it wasn’t the case. This isn’t a topic that you need to dwell upon or let keep you up at night, it is something that you just need to accept, you need to be able to love yourself for who you are and look past the hostility.  It’s your life.

The desire to feel accepted by those who you love often acts as an impediment to truly being yourself.  Individuals are constantly living in fear of how the ones who care most will react to their truth, this isn’t how it should be.  Love shouldn’t have labels.  Love shouldn’t be circumstantial.  

Love isn’t forced, and it isn’t wrong.  These are two concepts that I feel are frequently blown out of proportion by individuals within society who believe that they are better off conforming to what the collective views as “normal.”  Despite our progressive movements within the past few years, traditionalist manners persist throughout our societies across the globe acting as an obstruction to some people’s’ freedom.

  1. You can’t be forced to fall in love.  People often forget this, they believe that just because their parents say this or their friends say that, that their emotions can only be validated through an outside or external force. This isn’t the case and it should never be, you should never attempt to fabricate your emotions in order to fit in with the “norms of society.”  WHO YOU LOVE, IS WHO YOU LOVE, no one should make you question this.  Regardless of whether those acting as “stressors” are your parents, friends, or merely a random passerby with nothing more to offer than a judgemental glance or snarky comment, you should be proud of who you are and who you love,  I can’t stress that enough.  
  2. It might feel scary but it  isn’t wrong to feel the way you do. I feel like this is such a common concept, people try to instantly convince themselves that it’s wrong to feel new emotions because it’s just, “not the way they are,” or it’s, “only this one person.”  Your emotions are not meant to scare you, listen to yourself and yourself only. There isn’t something wrong with you simply because you’re open to loving freely. Love is a beautiful thing once you find it, be open to finding it, don’t deny this from yourself.  

So if you’re an individual who needed this message, if you have been up all night wondering why you feel the way you do, if you feel like you just can’t accept how you feel, if you feel like your love depends on your friends or your family, like it isn’t in your hands…. Look further than the backlash, conquer your fear; don’t let it get to you, love yourself and others freely.  This is your life, only you get to decide what you do with it.

8-Year-Old Guatemalan Boy Dies in US Custody on Christmas Day

featured image courtesy of (Reuters/Eric Gay/Pool)

Officials reported this morning, that an 8-year-old Guatemalan boy has passed away while in custody of United States Customs and Border Protection.

The young boy was showing several signs of early illness on Christmas Eve after being previously detained with his father. On Monday afternoon the boy was treated at a hospital in New Mexico where he was prescribed ibuprofen and amoxicillin for what seemed to be a common cold. After being released, the boy returned with “nausea and vomiting” only to die a few hours later.

This event marks the second death of a migrant child following 7-year-old Jakelin Caal Maquin who passed away December 8th 2018 in El Paso, TX. Jakelin’s body was recently returned to Raxruha, northern Guatemala.

This is a developing story, information will be added as time progresses.

Get To Know Representative Anna Eskamani

As mentioned within my previous article,  Anna Eskmanai an Iranian-American woman, and representative of the Democratic party was recently elected in Florida HD 47.  She has contributed to the betterment of her community tremendously and continues to serve as an inspiration and mentor to young activists around the nation.  Last week, I had the honor of interviewing Representative Anna Eskamani over the phone. Below you can find the interview questions and answers.
1. Was there any specific event that sparked your desire to engage in civic discourse to make a change within your community and the nation?

AE: “My mother passed away to cancer when I was 13 years old, this was a traumatic experience for me and my family, however, at that moment I knew I would honor the life of my mother through empowering others and giving back.  Aside from this, my engagement with politics began at a young age. I partook in theatre within high school, however, Mr. Norris my AP Government teacher got me back into the fold of the operational side of civics. I attended, and currently attend, UCF which initially got me involved in a series of environmental movements, and Iranian organizations. I have always been  rooted in a foundation of having a professional career with constant non-profit advocacy.”
2. Throughout the duration of your campaign, it became evident the opposing side attempted to mark your actions and standpoints on progressive issues as “radical” what was your response or mindset throughout all of this.

AE: “I constantly reminded myself that my very existence was radical, the idea of a young woman of color, running for office, raising over half a million dollars, knocking on thousands and thousands of doors… they – the opposing side – would go to any extreme in the attempt to hurt or scare us, I grounded myself in knowing who I am and knowing the issues I was fighting for. I find in most cases the candidate in fire avoids talking about backlash and it’s so typical,  it is a fear of difference, and it is inappropriate, so I wanted to lead by example and clap back letting them know we weren’t afraid.”
3. Are there any current affairs that are at the top of your priority list, what do you ultimately wish to see change within the United States?

AE: “ There are many different affairs I’d like to address ranging from improving conditions for the hard-working Florida families, working to improve public schools, protecting the environment, fighting for increased health care access (mental health and reproductive health), while ensuring gun safety and regulations.  These affairs were also the root of our campaign, focusing on the many crises present today.”
4. Do you have any advice for young activists specifically in regards to getting involved within current affairs?

AE: “ Any young person should look for organizations that match their passions and if they can’t find them, then they should start their own and bring people together, I also advise the youth to look for internship opportunities and mentors. I am honored to be a mentor to so many and always show up for others. I truly believe that good leaders create new leaders and I want to make sure I can cultivate strong advocates and leaders through supporting them in any way I can.”

5. You’ve mentioned within various interviews etc. that you are very proud of your Iranian American roots do you have a message to other Iranian American individuals living in fear of their roots?

AE: “This is such an important question, throughout the campaign we were always authentic about our culture and our identity, the best advice is to just be yourself and be proud of how amazing our identity is.  Take pride in sharing your culture with others and know that you are never alone.”

I wanted to end this article with a sincere thank you to Representative Eskamani for allowing me to interview her and taking the time to have a genuine conversation with me and so many others throughout this exciting time.  I look forward to supporting Ms. Eskamani throughout all her future endeavors and witnessing the change she works for in action.

You can learn more about Representative Anna Eskamani here.

Democrats Take The House… Meet Anna Eskamani Florida’s First Iranian-American Woman Elected Into State Legislature

Featured Image Courtesy of  Anna Eskamani

As midterm elections and results came to a close Tuesday night, the Democratic party was able take back control of House.  In a series of states including: Florida, Kansas, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Colorado, Democrats were able to win formerly Republican held seats securing the 218 necessary seats to regain their control.  In Florida, Anna Eskamani became the first Iranian-American woman to be elected the state’s legislature, earning nearly 14 additional points than her opponent Republican businessman Stockton Reeves.

Who is Anna Eskamani?

Image result for anna vs stockton
Anna Eskamani (left), Stockton Reeves (right)                          Image Courtesy of Orlando Rising

Ms. Eskamani is an, “Orlando native, and daughter of immigrants […] a progressive with a proven track record of standing up for the rights […] and championing economic opportunities for all”.  Anna received her education at the University of Central Florida focusing upon environmental issues while taking part in the Iranian Student Organization, Political Science Honor Society, alongside eventually serving as the State Women’s Caucus Chair.  She earned two bachelors in Women’s Studies alongside Political Science and continued into pursuing higher education receiving a dual Masters with graduate degrees in both Public Administration and Nonprofit Management.

Anna Eskamani (right).                                                                         Image Courtesy of Anna Eskamani

Politically, she has been involved in a series of progressive reform movements and her involvement in opposition of President Trump’s imposed travel ban has been significantly noted within many communities across the nation.  Aside from this, she notably stands up for a series of current issues impacting our nation as a whole. As time has progressed Anna has continued her work in civic engagement serving as the Senior Director for Planned Parenthood, while successfully campaigning against Republican Stockton Reeves during the Midterm elections.

Her campaign focused on a series of progressive reform concepts including reproductive justice,  environmental issues, alongside LGBTQ+ rights. Prior to the election, Ms. Eskamani was well known within her community for publicly speaking out against transphobia, and attending a series of women’s rights marches. Throughout the duration of her campaign it became evident that her progressive standpoints were able to reel in a series of voters from all generations providing her 57% of the vote in comparison to the 43% her opponent received.

Anna Eskamani pictured publicly speaking out regarding health care.                              Image Courtesy of Anna Eskamani

After becoming informed of her victory, in an email announcement she stated, “together we’ve made history, in not only challenging the status quo and flipping a competitive state house seat — but in also electing the first Iranian-American to any public office in Florida”.

We look forward to the great changes she will influence and advocate for as she continues to inspire younger generations of leaders within our communities.  

“We Won”                                                                                       Image Courtesy of Anna Eskamani 

 

Tragedy Averted… America, We Have an Issue.

Featured Image courtesy of CBS News

BREAKING NEWS:

Image result for santa fe high school
Santa Fe High School 5.18.18 – Photo Courtesy of Yahoo

May 18th 2018.  7:45 a.m: A shooter opened fire on students at Santa Fe High School today killing over 8 individuals and injuring many others.  

May 18th 2017.  7:45 a.m: A shooter opened fire on students at Santa Fe High School today KILLING OVER 8 individuals  and injuring many others.  

May 18th 2017

7:45 a.m

Shooter.

Santa Fe High School.

KILLING.

OVER 8.

Santa Fe Independent School District has confirmed via Facebook that there were injuries sustained in an active shooter situation which has recently been contained with two suspects identified. One in custody the other detained.  The district has not confirmed the fatalities however it was mentioned that there could be anywhere from 8-10 deceased.

 

BREAKING NEWS:

Image result for dixon high school
Dixon High School 5.16.18  – Photo Courtesy of ABC News

May 16th 2018.  Wednesday morning.  19-year-old former student used a 9mm semiautomatic rifle to open fire near the auditorium of Dixon High School in Illinois.  Mark Dallas shot and wounded the gunman. Tragedy averted.

May 16th 2018.  Wednesday morning.  19-year-old former student used a 9mm semiautomatic rifle to open fire near the auditorium of Dixon High School in Illinois.  Mark Dallas shot and wounded the gunman. Tragedy averted.

May 16th 2018.

Wednesday morning.

Former student used a 9mm semiautomatic rifle

Suspect Matthew Milby opened fire near a graduation ceremony rehearsal.  The suspect was quickly identified and chased by Mark Dallas, Dixon Police Officer.  Milby and Dallas exchanged fire at one another until Officer Dallas shot and wounded Matthew Milby, the 19-year-old former student in possession of a 9mm semiautomatic rifle.  

Tragedy averted…. or was it.  

 

Fatalities do not mark a tragedy.  

 

The gun culture in America is a tragedy in itself encompassing, “behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs about firearms and their usage”.  To obtain a firearm federal law requires an individual to be at least 21 to purchase a handgun, and only 18 to purchase a long gun. Specific states however have decided to bypass these federal laws and allow children as old as 15 to purchase a firearm with no parental consent.  Many individuals may argue these laws are harmless and the matter of the transactions are carefully monitored and professional. This is the root of the problem. Americans are addicted to their guns and they don’t want to face this fact.

 

Unfortunately many elected officials are not helping the cause. Understanding the extent of their political abilities, their continued inaction on the legislation that could potentially prevent these inhumane acts have only opened doors for more to occur.

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Gun Control Debate – Photo Courtesy of The American View

Individuals are missing the mark, we need gun control.  Eradicating guns is unlikely, and unnecessary, we need to monitor and control the transaction, trade, and behavior of gun owners, sellers, buyers etc.  As a community we need to ensure that the background checks and mental examinations of individuals with possession of firearms are strengthened and religiously utilized.   

 

Understanding the mental stability of the individual plays a significant factor in the recently observed violence and damage,  the loosely followed laws and lack of frequent background/ update checks allow for these potentially mentally unstable individuals to obtain these firearms.  

 

While taking into mind that many mass shooters obtain their weapons through a family member or through legal purchase it is important that any individuals with firearms in their household or in an accessible place undergo examination or background checks, and that any suspicious behavior is documented and reported by friends and families.  The phrase, “If you see something, say something” cannot be stressed enough.  

Image result for background check gun
Background Check – Photo Courtesy of Dr. Deb

In comparison to other nations, the protocol to obtain firearms in the United States is seemingly inadequate.  Understanding no background check can truly identify the intended use of the firearms or the early warning signs of a potential mass shooter, psychological exams as proposed by Utah cops and lawmakers may prove extremely beneficial.  

 

Konrad Chen stated he thinks its a, “good idea to make sure that [gun owners] are sane and that they are capable mentally to handle firearms”  further Chen mentioned that if, “there were any signs of issues that they could go ahead and take care of that before issuing a firearm”. The conversation continued with Chen further stating that these psychological exams could also ensure that the prospective gun owner knows how to safely use the firearm.  

 

The issue lies in the fact that many gun owners are hesitant when approached with the idea that their ownership of a firearm may be jeopardized due to increased legal action ensuring the safety of all.  It is important for individuals to understand that increasing the security and monitoring of the transaction of firearms is imperative to ensure that firearms are being obtained by stable, and mentally capable individuals.  

 

It is our hope that individuals continue to take action and speak out against the lack of action taken in order to alleviate the pain and suffering the lack of gun control has caused.  We cannot afford to remain silent in the midst of the chaos present.

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March For Our Lives – Photo Courtesy of CNN

 

“ If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor”

– Desmond Tutu

Orange County Communities Enraged Over Viral Hate Crime

Orange County Students Face Repercussions For Hateful Image

Just recently a photo was published on social media depicting a series of Orange County high school students posed in front of swastika made from beer cups while holding out their arms in a Nazi salute. This image, taken at a party, pictures students from several schools within both Costa Mesa and Newport Beach. The students now identified via classmates etc. are facing serious repercussions and backlash from communities across the US and especially within Orange County.

Communities of Jewish individuals have come together to speak out about this topic and the sadness and anger it provokes. Students from schools within the OC/LA area mentioned they were not surprised and that, “swastikas are carved into bathroom walls and desks on campus.” Anti-Semitism still exists and it is becoming more and more prevalent as time progresses. Other students have turned to social media to express their disappointment in their community for allowing Anti-Semitic behaviors to persist while asking individuals to open their eyes and work to create change.

Angered parents of students across Orange County have spoken out about this issue, many of them members of the Jewish community as well. Amongst the parents was Mr. and Mrs. Bernstein who spoke out about this issue that touched home.

In January of 2018, college student Blaze Bernstein was murdered within Orange County, CA. Bernstein, a 19-year-old student at the University of Pennsylvania and member of both the LGBTQ+ and Jewish community, was found deceased and brutally stabbed in what seemed to be an inhumane act rooted in both homophobia and hate.

Both Blaze’s parents spoke out about the current situation recently stating it was hate like this that murdered their son. Anti-Semitic and homophobic behavior that led to the loss of a beautiful life. Truth lies in their statements as, unchecked hateful behavior within high schools not only in Orange County provides an outlet for hate crimes across the country, Blaze’s tragic death being only one of many.

What Can We Do As A Community?

Promoting the rights of all individuals within our society is imperative when looking for solutions to the wave of hate we have been facing. The behavior of these students is disgraceful and hurtful to our community, reflecting ignorance and a lack of knowledge. Many of the students have taken the defensive side justifying their actions mentioning it was merely, “fun and games” or that it was, “humorous.” It is important to speak out and report this type of behavior as it it truly has the power to divide our communities.

If you witness something it is important you report the crime to a hotline or your local police station immediately.

Hate Crime National Hotline (USA)
206-350-HATE (4283)

It is also important to support your local organizations promoting the rights and equality of all individuals despite race, ethnicity, sexual orientation etc. There are myriad organizations members of all communities can join that focus on providing protection and a sense of security to the many marginalized communities within our society.

“The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.” – Coretta Scott King.