Mind, body, and soul are connected.
I want to tell you a story about my mother in law, Maryam. Imagine a brunette woman with beautiful crystal blue eyes worn from years of raising children and doing what needs to be done. Her hair has faded to gray around her temples and her hugs are sincere. You will often find her creating the most magnificent meals in her kitchen, which is the center of her universe. She loves her family fiercely and let’s just tell it like it is: if were up to her, we’d be over at her house every night of the week for a full blown feast, because cooking more food than is truly necessary is the only way she does it! Her words are thick with the most comforting accent I’ve EVER heard. I could listen to her say my name over and over again. Nee-koleare you hungry sweeeetieeee? Nee-kole do you want some tea? Be still my heart. How lucky I am to have the kindest, most loyal woman as my mother in law? She goes out of her way to help anyone in need. And I mean anyone! If you know her personally, you know she shines bright with her generous spirit.
This wonderful beam of light is from Iran. She has been living in the United States for 25 years (legally) and came here in search of a better life for her young family. She has many family members still living in Iran and she eagerly makes the 22 hour annual flight to reconnect, take in the sights and smells of the country from which her roots came. In return she hosts those same family members a few times per year when they make the long journey here to reunite again in a different space with different things to see and yet more family to reconnect with. Although traveling back and forth for visits on both continents is a large commitment, it’s a wonderful and important way for my husband’s family to reunite and celebrate their beautiful culture.
Now imagine these things stripped away.
“Privilege is when you think something is not a problem because it’s not a problem for you.” This statement rings more true now than ever. Appalling discrimination is happening right now. We are a nation built by immigrants. It’s what makes our country the wonderful melting pot it is. If we trace our heritage back, we are ALL immigrants, unless you are full blood native American. My grandparents, my in-laws, and my husband are all immigrants who moved here in search of greater opportunity, education, and freedom.
When I heard the news this morning of the immigration ban of LEGAL Iranians, my heart sank. My phone started buzzing with messages from my husband’s distraught cousin. Our computer was running on full blast trying to sort out the exact details of what the heck was going on. Quite frankly, this horrific situation has stoked fear in my family that had slowly started to fade over the last 8 years. We are better than this, America!
PLEASE put yourself in Maryam’s shoes. How would you feel if a government in a free country told you that you could not see your family members for an undefined amount of time? In my eyes it is completely Un-American. No one, NO ONE, should have to live with the fear that if you leave your country, you might not be allowed back in.
I urge you to help us take action in anyway you can. There are so many “Maryam’s” out there with families who have suddenly been cut off from one another. There are three things we can immediately do:
1. Call or donate to the ACLU
2. Contact local representatives
Rep. Earl Blumenauer
Sen. Ron Wyden
Sen. Jeff Merkley
3. Give your Iranian or a Muslim friends/family a big hug and let them know you’re with them! ❤Follow Nicole Darabi on Instagram.