From now until at least the midterm elections in November, we’ll be featuring essays from powerful cultural voices alongside one simple thing, chosen by the author, that you can do to take action against the paralyzing apoplexy of the daily news. Maybe it’ll be an organization that deserves your donation; maybe it’ll be an issue that deserves greater awareness. Whatever it is, our aim is to remind you, and ourselves, of the big and small things we can do to work toward justice and change.

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Xenophobia, Bigotry, and Hatred
by Mitra Jouhari

I commit to take action because every day that Trump holds office is another day I spend wondering when I’ll get to see my family again.

I am Iranian-American, first generation, which is a hard thing to be right now.

Targeted discrimination towards Middle Eastern countries is nothing new. It was happening before Trump and will continue after his reign comes to its welcome end. However, the intensity with which this administration has sought to discriminate against people from predominantly Muslim countries is new. The energy that Trump devotes to trying to shove Muslim bans through the legal system terrifies me. My family is in Iran. When will they be able to come visit? When will I see my grandpa again? Why must their travel be limited because of the actions of a select few?

I know the answer. Xenophobia, bigotry, and hatred.

As I write this, John Bolton is set to start his work as National Security Advisor in a matter of days. Time and time again, he has advocated for war with Iran. His bigotry finds a welcome home in the Trump administration and with those who empower it. I fear what he will be able to accomplish, the damage he will do along the way. I fear losing my family.

I commit to take action because I am tired of living in this state of constant terror. I am tired of hearing politicians make baseless claims about people living in countries they know nothing about and, at least in Trump’s case, probably couldn’t even find on a map. I want to do all I can to strip power from the people who elevate, spread, and embody toxic rhetoric and ideologies.

I commit to take action because I believe my love for my family is stronger than the hatred Trump has for people who look like me.

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Take action today:

Commit to vote in November.

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Mitra Jouhari is a writer and performer based in Brooklyn. Her film and television credits include The Big Sick, Broad City, and Friends from College.