As the daughter of a man born in Iran, the girlfriend of someone who immigrated to this country on an H-1B visa, and a black woman living in America, I've felt hit from all angles these past couple of weeks.
My family came to this country after having migrated from Iran to Armenia and getting caught in the bureaucracy of communism for 10 years thereafter. After a decade of attempting to emigrate to America, my family finally settled in Los Angeles. Five out of six of my grandfathers siblings would end up arriving here as well, bringing with them their children. That generation of children, my father among them, went on to become entrepreneurs, artists, teachers, and parents. But above all, they became Americans. They contributed to the very fabric of this country and have as much claim to the stars and stripes of our flag as I do.
Yet today, I see people standing in the same spot as my family all those years ago. Hoping for the same freedoms, escaping the same oppression, wishing for the same opportunities for their children and the generations to come. I was watching people who look and sound like my family members, who had legal grounds to be in this country, being detained for reasons I couldn't find logical answers to. Instead of accepting defeat I choose to stand by the notion that you should never reduce your life to the event you are facing now (no matter how trying).
My father, an immigrant, gave his blood, sweat, and tears to ensure my brother and I never wanted for anything, that we received a good education, and that we both walked into adulthood blessed with a solid financial foundation that we could build a future on. I refuse to let his hard won efforts, and the efforts of so many in pursuit of the betterment of their futures be in vain. I refuse to stand by the notion that this country would be a better place without the contributions of the very people on whose backs it was built.
But calling out injustice alone does not dismantle it. In the wake of the ban, The ACLU has been fighting back against the unconstitutional agenda of this administration. Today, I made a donation in honor of my father, my family, but also to honor my core American values. The ACLU isn't the only nonprofit fighting against the immigration ban however, and donating is not the only way to fight this injustice. Refer to this article by The Nation detailing the many ways you can be a part of the movement.
Photography by Jordan Lyle