After President Donald Trump initially tried to pass his travel ban that targeted seven mostly Muslim countries following his inauguration in January, a group of Iranian émigrés created the Iranian Community of the Northeast (ICON).
“At that time, it became apparent that we needed to take action; another serious period of hostile attitude toward Muslims and Middle Easterners has started,” Soshyan Petroulas of ICON told Metro of the collective that includes “whoever identifies as a member of the larger Iranian diaspora in New York City or the Northeast and is willing to work with others for advancement of mutual causes.”
To that end, ICON will hold A City for Us All, which will take place Saturday at Brooklyn Borough Hall and will feature performances by Iranian musicians Mohsen Namjoo and Yahya Alkhansa and will also feature yet-to-be-determined city officials.
“The reason for holding the event at a city-owned space and inviting the mayor’s office and other political representatives is to promote the idea that Iranians have rights to the city and its resources and can both actively participate in the city’s political life and have a voice and impact on it,” Petroulas said.
ICON hopes the takeaway from the event, which quickly sold out its 500 free tickets, is a better understanding among New York’s diverse community — and within its Iranian one as well.
“We hope we get to know each other better, to get familiar with organizations and institutions active in our community, and get to know services provided by the mayor’s office and other city agencies for immigrants,” Petroulas said. “We want to proactively develop our community in order to be more resilient to face positive and negative changes in the future easier. … We believe the more organizations, institutions [and] grassroots and volunteer groups active within our population, the better. After all, our democracy and quality of life greatly depend on these types of collective efforts.”
Though ICON doesn’t have another event in the works beyond A City for Us All, Saturday’s event is a good starting point.
“We need more events and institutions to serve as facilitators within this diverse body of people if we want to consider ourselves as a vibrant and, at the same time, united community,” Petroulas said.