At three years old, your choices are limited. You eat what’s prepared for you and listen to the music waking you up from the kitchen. Your parents tug your arm, gently but with purpose, and you move. You move to where they want you to go, like your amoo’s (Persian word for ‘uncle’) house, a party hosted by a relative, the market on a busy afternoon, or…the United States of America.

Like many of you it’s many years since my family and I first arrived here as immigrants. We are now proudly integrated into our local communities, contributing our own special brand of cultural flavor and energy to our adopted country; a country with a rich tradition of embracing refugees and immigrants from all over the world.

Yet, this historically long and inspiring American tradition is being challenged. And, as such, so are all Iranians, Arabs, Latinos, Muslims, and other minorities, regardless of where they live.

Efforts to “other-ize”, and dehumanize in an effort to cynically shape how we are perceived is evidenced by the Muslim travel ban, concentration camps at the U.S./Mexico border, march towards war with Iran and daily racism seething through the mouth of pundits. We do not need to rebut or debate these false narratives; such an approach would only add to the cacophony of disinformation and co-opt our attention capital.

This is where you come in…

While the fires of conflict continue to be stoked by Trump’s administration, halls of Congress, mainstream media and other capitals, let’s instead persist in our joy. Let’s stand in solidarity with our peace-loving Brothers and Sisters, within the wider marginalized communities of this country and beyond, and share our relentless optimism in the midst of the cycles of aggression, racism, and heartache.

Let’s proudly go organic and celebrate the beauty of culture, each other, and our best selves. That joy emanating from each of us isn’t a gift, though — it’s a Revolution. That radical kindness we extend to our families, friends, neighbors, and strangers is a device for change, empowerment and most importantly, self-love.

Let’s affectionately embrace each other and our community the same way we wish to be embraced.

Shift the conversation

The #MakeLoveNotWar social media campaign against racism and war

Through the power of intentions, pictures, words and hashtags, the #Make Love Not War campaign’s mission is to showcase the authentic and diverse truth of who we are. We are loving dads, mothers, sons, daughters, friends, relatives, and neighbors. We are diversity, proud of our rich history and culture.

Please join us in sharing your most inspiring photos, videos, memes, art, music, and words on Instagram with any of the following hashtags #MakeLoveNotWar #LoveExpands. Together, we’ll spread the power of optimism, joy, and peace. After all, love is contagious.

Shine,

-Saïd

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