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?

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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 

 

Florida Shooting: What We Know

Nikolas Cruz, a 19 year old former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School opened fire on students and faculty Wednesday afternoon killing 17, and wounding others.  Students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High had a planned fire drill Wednesday morning, so when the second alarm blared through the speakers students were confused but didn’t think much of the situation.  It was not until they heard gunshot that students  began to frantically flee and barricade themselves desperate to stay alive.

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Nikolas Cruz, 19, Time

Cruz had been previously expelled and recognized as a danger on school grounds by the schools administrators, his expulsion was a product of his violence presented towards his ex-girlfriends current boyfriend.   Recent statements from students attending Marjory Stoneman mention Cruz had a tendency to “obsessively stalk”  or “threaten” many females within the school.  Classmates had also mentioned Nikolas would make, “dark, gun-related jokes” joking about, “shooting people or shooting up establishments” (USA Today).  Many students were able to immediately identify their former classmate equipped with smoke grenades, an AR-15 style weapon, and a gas mask.

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Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, Wikipedia

After arriving at the campus, Cruz entered buildings where he immediately opened chaotic fire shooting through windows, computer screens, ceilings etc.  Many students hid inside closets, bathroom stalls, and classrooms however others found themselves attempting to flee the campus in order to reach a safe ground.  Students remaining on campus witnessed bullets spraying through classrooms in no particular direction hitting their classmates, and shattering windows.  Students used their mobile phones, specifically Snapchat, to record these traumatizing moments, while others texted their friends and families what they thought was their final goodbye.

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Students evacuating Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, France 24

Cruz had killed the majority of the victims on campus however did shoot and kill an individual down the street.  It was mentioned that Cruz did not remain on campus throughout the duration of the shootings, and was constantly, “on and off campus”.  Cruz was eventually identified and taken into custody by local law enforcement officers, and has since been charged with 17 counts of murder.

The moment Nikolas Cruz was taken into custody by local law enforcement after killing 17 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County, Fla. Wednesday. 
Nikolas Cruz being taken into custody by the law enforcement after brutally murdering 17, WPTV West Palm Beach

12 bodies were found on campus, one off campus, and others succumbed to their fatal injuries on the way to the hospital or at the hospital.  The known victims are as listed:

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Aaron Feis, MassLive.com

Aaron Feis – Assistant football coach killed after throwing himself in front of  the spray of bullets to shield the students.

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Nicholas Dworet, NY Daily News

Nicholas Dworet – Nicholas was a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, and a  swimmer recruited by the University of Indianapolis.

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Jaime Guttenberg, Sky News

Jaime Guttenberg – Jaime was among the 17 individuals who lost their lives in this inhumane tragedy.

Meadow Pollack was killed on February 14, 2018 when Nikolas Cruz, 19, shot and killed 17 people at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on February 14, 2018.
Meadow Pollack, Facebook

Meadow Pollack – Meadow was among many who were thought to be missing until her father confirmed her passing this morning.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10211229977607668&set=gm.1801617480134672&type=3&theater
Gina Montalto, Facebook

Gina Montalto – Gina was a member of her school’s color guard team, and unfortunately succumbed to her injuries Wednesday night.

Luke Hoyer was killed by a gunman who shot and killed 17 people at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Luke Hoyer, Family Handout

Luke Hoyer – Luke was one among the 17 individuals shot and killed by Nikolas Cruz.

Martin Duque was killed when Nikolas Cruz Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on February 14, 2018.
Martin Duque, GOFUNDME

Martin Duque – Martin, a freshman, was also a victim to the school shooting Wednesday.

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Peter Wang, Facebook

Peter Wang – Peter, a freshman, was also a victim to the school shooting Wednesday.

 Joaquin Oliver's family are searching for the young man, saying he was at the school when the shooting started
Joaquin Oliver, Facebook

Joaquin Oliver – Joaquin’s passing was confirmed by his cousin Thursday morning.

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Cara Loughran, Facebook

Cara Loughran – Cara’s passing was confirmed by a peer counselor at the church in which she attended.

Scott Beigel, Facebook

Scott Beigel – Mr.Beigel was a geography teacher at the school, aiding students in reaching safety however unfortunately being shot and killed during the process.

Alaina Petty, Facebook

Alaina Petty – Alaina was confirmed deceased by the Bishop of the Coral Springs Ward, alongside her great aunt Thursday morning.

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Alyssa Alhadeff, Facebook

Alyssa Alhadeff – Alyssa’s death was confirmed by her soccer club Thursday morning via Facebook.

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Chris Hixon, Facebook

Chris Hixon – Chris was an athletic director at the High School who fell upon the 17 victims of the shooting.

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Madeleine Wilford, Facebook

Madeleine Wilford – Madeleine was among the victims of the school shooting Wednesday.

Our hearts and condolences go to the families of the victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High Shooting.

*this is a developing story as updates become available they will be posted*