March 28, 2014, Los Angeles, CA – On Friday, March 21, the Los Angeles City Hall celebrated Nowruz alongside the Iranian American community.
The President of the City Council, Herb J. Wesson, Jr., opened the event by thanking Congressman Tony Cardenas (D-CA/29th) for visiting from Washington, D.C. in order to attend the ceremony. Jose Huizar, Los Angeles City Councilmember representing the 14th district, proceeded to introduce important members of the Los Angeles community who gave their warm wishes for the New Year.
“A big part of what makes us unique as Angelinos is that we embrace our diversity, we celebrate the beauty of our communities and our many cultures,” said Huizar. “Through the Nowruz celebration, the Persian American community brings hundreds of years of culture, history, and rich tradition to the city of Los Angeles. Nowruz proclaims spring as a time of rejuvenation of nature, rekindling of friendships, and bringing about hope for a brighter future for all. It is truly a timeless celebration and strengthening of our common resolve to be better and do better.”
Mayor Eric Garcetti joined the celebrations via video. “Our Persian community adds so much to the vibrancy of our neighborhoods and our economy, whether it’s in culture, politics, business, or academia,” he said. “I can’t wait to celebrate this time of renewal, and know that this great Persian city called Los Angeles celebrates with the rest of the world another new year.”
Paul Krekorian, Los Angeles City Councilmember representing the 2nd district and the first Armenian American elected to the council, spoke about the importance of the holiday as well as the close relations between Armenian Americans and Iranian Americans. Nowruz “is a celebration that should be important to people of all backgrounds,” he said. “It’s the marking of the opportunity of rebirth and recreation of ourselves and the beginning of spring.”
Congressman Tony Cardenas told the story of how he helped start the Nowruz celebrations in City Hall with PAAIA Board Member Pouria Abbassi in 2004. “It’s unfortunate that too many people in this country, who’ve been blessed to be here for generations, end up trying to encourage immigrants to forget their roots, to forget their language, forget their culture. And that is a shame,” he said. “So I just want to say thank you so much to my former council colleagues, to all of you, to Jose Huizar, for continuing this wonderful, beautiful presentation of Nowruz, which celebrates a new beginning.”
PAAIA Board Member Pouria Abbassi closed the event by thanking sponsors and wishing the audience a new year in Farsi. Others who spoke at the celebration included Bob Blumenfield, Los Angeles City Councilmember representing the 3rd district, Tom LaBonge Los Angeles City Councilmember representing the 4th district, Paul Koretz, Los Angeles City Councilmember representing the 5th district, Mike Fuer, Los Angeles City Attorney, Ron Galperin, Los Angeles City Controller, Gita Vahid-Tehrani, the first Iranian American immigration judge, Kamran Sadaghiani, a Navy & Marine Corps Commendation Medal winner, and Ali Razi, Vice Chairman of The Midnight Mission.
Click here to watch the full celebration, starting at 36:00.