By Dean Dastvar
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
– Margaret Mead
July 21, 2010, Washington, D.C. – On the heels of historical youth and first time voter turnout in the 2008 Presidential Election, PAAIA’s Washington DC NexGen Chapter mobilizes to launch a voter registration drive for Iranian Americans in the DC metropolitan area. The non-partisan voter registration drive is part of an effort to encourage Iranian Americans to participate more in American civic life, and to increase Iranian American voter turnout for this year’s upcoming elections.
As individuals, Iranian Americans have garnered significant achievements in all aspects of American life over the past three decades. However, despite many individual achievements, the Iranian American community lacks an effective, nationally recognized voice in the United States. After more than 30 years, the time has come to fill this void.
Changes now in Iranian American civic participation will affect future Iranian American generations for years to come. This is not some directive that can however be issued from top down, nor does anyone organization speak for the entire community; rather, individual Iranian Americans must volunteer to help out at the local level, and embark on a grass roots campaign to increase Iranian American civic involvement.
Iranian Americans can play a pivotal role in improving the future by participating more in local and national elections. By voting, you can change your congressmen, senators, state judges, presidents, and countless other elected officials. Moreover, grass roots level involvement in politics will mean you can influence your representatives, and hold them accountable for their commitments and promises that are important to you and your community.
PAAIA NexGen DC has a Facebook group you can join and volunteer to register voters, educate your community about who is running, and help in many other ways that suit your talents.
PAAIA NexGenis an affinity group comprised of the younger generation of Iranian Americans that identify with PAAIA and implement its mission in accordance with the sociology of their age group. The NexGen host events and mixers and organize activities that cultivate friendships among their members, reinforce their relationship with PAAIA, and ultimately serve the IA community. The local Chapters and NexGen are registered Members of PAAIA.
Dean Dastvar graduated from the University of Virginia with a major in Cognitive Science and a minor in Foreign Affairs. He received his MBA from George Mason University in 2008 and is currently a JD candidate at the Washington College of Law at American University, Class of 2011. He has worked for a public affairs lobby in Washington and an international IT consulting firm, The InnoVest Group, for several years. He has also completed a Congressional Fellowship within the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission within the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs. He currently works for the Department of Transportation’s Office of the Inspector General. He is also a Dean’s Fellow for a project to create online libraries of war crimes cases in Afghanistan.For more information on PAAIA NexGen DC, please contact Dean Dastvar at email@example.com.