Coalition to Launch Iranian American Know Your Rights Campaign
Washington, DC - Over the past six months, civil rights and liberty organizations have documented increased patterns of discrimination against Iranian Americans. The most common manifestations of this discrimination against Iranian Americans have been inequity in employment practices, immigration discrimination, problems in obtaining security clearance and unwarranted FBI surveillance and interrogation. One significant reason for this rise in discrimination may be attributed to the general lack of understanding about Iranian Americans. This, coupled with efforts to better educate Iranian Americans about their constitutional and civil rights, has led to a unified nationwide campaign to address these issues and provide a safety net for the Iranian American community.
Spearheaded by the National Legal Sanctuary for Community Advancement (NLSCA), the Iranian American Know Your Rights Campaign comprises a coalition of national organizations, which include the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Amnesty International USA, Iranian American Bar Association (IABA), and Iranian American Political Action Committee (IAPAC), with the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) as a collaborator. The purpose of the campaign is to: (1) educate Iranian Americans of their civil rights and liberties under the Constitution and Bill of Rights; (2) offer legal protection where civil rights of the Iranian American community are being infringed upon; (3) Educate mainstream America on the Iranian American community; and (4) Create media outreach both within the Iranian American media and mainstream media sources.
To mark the launch of the Iranian American Know Your Rights Campaign, there will be a Press briefing on June 2 at the ACLU headquarters in California. On the agenda is a look at stories that are being documented as well as legal rights education to prevent discrimination. Resources will be available for helping people deal with the ever-present issues of new employer and government profiling.
Since the tragic events of 9/11 there has been an understandable sense of concern about national security throughout the nation. Like all Americans, the Iranian American community supports government efforts in maintaining homeland security and deterring future acts of terrorism. However, such efforts need not be at the expense of preserving the dignity and rights of a particular ethnic community. As part of the greater American community, it is integral for Iranian Americans to be both educated about their rights and also to educate the general public and policy makers about issues concerning the Iranian American community.