IAPAC Holds Kick-Off Event in Boston with Senator Kennedy and Congressman Meehan
Boston, Massachusetts - The Iranian American Political Action Committee (IAPAC) held its New England kick-off reception on Sunday, April 10, 2005 at the MIT Faculty Club in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The event, graciously hosted by Mr. Mahmood Malihi and IAPAC Trustees Taeiss and Ross Haghighat, brought local Boston Iranian Americans to discuss IAPAC’s role in enhancing community participation in the American electoral process. The event also highlighted presentations and discussion from U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy, U.S. Congressman Martin Meehan and Ms. Banafsheh Akhlaghi of the National Legal Sanctuary for Community Advancement (NLSCA). The reception, through the help of local Jr. Trustee Behrad Mahdi, was able to cultivate local Iranian American graduate students from the Boston area as well.
Senator Kennedy and Congressman Meehan have been key champions for the Iranian American community in both the U.S. Senate and House. Senator Kennedy spoke with attendees regarding the disturbing amount of regulations and bureaucracy placed on Iranian immigrants during exit and entry into this country. The senator also pointed to strength of the Iranian community here in America and his admiration for the Persian heritage: “Those of us who have had the opportunity to visit Iran and befriend Iranian Americans here understand the source of your pride and the tremendous contributions you make to our country. You must become involved and stay involved to ensure that your voice is heard.”
Congressman Meehan also shared the Senator’s admiration for the Iranian community as well as his respect for the work of IAPAC by engaging the Iranian American community in the American political process: “I have a tremendous amount of respect for the work IAPAC does by engaging this community in the American political process. This work is so important and I want to congratulate each and every one of you for being active and getting involved.”
“The support of Senator Kennedy and Congressman Meehan has been a powerful pillar for the Iranian American community within our political system,” said IAPAC Political Director, Morad Ghorban. Both leaders offered the help of their staff to assist members of the audience and their families with issues regarding civil liberties and exit/entry from the country.
Ms. Banafsheh Akhlaghi concluded the evening by speaking of her work at the NLSCA. The NLSCA provides pro-bono and sliding scale counsel for individuals in need of legal services related to issues arising from civil rights, FBI interrogations, immigration, employment and educational discrimination. “IAPAC has been instrumental in providing a channel to the government and a voice that can be heard on Capitol Hill. With IAPAC’s assistance we were able to raise congressional awareness of the government's mistreatment of Iranian nationals through the special registration program," said Ms. Akhlaghi.
IAPAC is a registered bipartisan federal political committee that contributes to candidates for federal office who are attuned to the domestic concerns of the Iranian American community. During the 2004 Election cycle, IAPAC contributed to 13 candidates, plus two national party committees. In accordance to its mission, IAPAC supported two Iranian American candidates running for office: (i) Goli Ameri, the first Iranian American to win a congressional primary; (ii) Ross Mirkarimi, the first Iranian American elected to San Francisco Board of Supervisors.