Women's March Napa Valley 2019
I was honored to be able to speak at the Women’s March Napa Valley.
Here is my speech and it transcribed below. I invite you to share your thoughts in the comments below.
Januar 19th, 2019
My name is Sara Agah Franti and I am proud to be standing with you here at the 3rd Women’s March in solidarity with Women and their allies all over the country have decided to stand up for truth!!!
I am a mother, I am a wife, a sister, a daughter, a woman of color.
I am first-generation Canadian and currently in the middle of navigating the maze-like immigration system here in the United States.
I am the child of two people who 37 years ago were seeking asylum.
My parent’s - a young couple from Iran were persecuted by the Iranian government because of their religious belief, being members of the Baha’i Faith. At the time, a political revolution brought on a new regime and civil war to their country. Homes of Baha’is and other religious minorities were being broken into, set on fire, people were being imprisoned, tortured and executed if they did not conform to the new government that was founded on hate and segregation. My parents had been temporarily living abroad and left with only 2 options. Return home and face persecution and maybe even death or seek refuge and safety for themselves and their now 1 year old daughter.
Canada was the first country to answer their call. So, they packed up their belongings and with their baby traveled to the other side of the world to begin a life of unknowns. A life that wasn’t easy. A life that began with many challenges, obstacles and hardships. They sacrificed so much to provide safety and a hopeful future for my sister.
Because my parents made a difficult decision and took the risk to escape discrimination and war, I am now able to stand here as an empowered woman, sharing the message that respect, love, empathy compassion, equality and equity are necessary human rights.
But what if there wasn’t a community who heard their call, what if their basic need for security wasn’t valued or deemed important. What if their life was believed less significant than another. Where would they be today? Where would I be?
We are living in a time that demands us to stand up for what is good, for what is right and for truth.
The United States is a nation of immigrants who occupied this land. Some of us came here by choice, some were unwillingly brought as slaves, some came to find refuge and safety.
Now are now facing a massive crisis. We have travel bans and anti-immigration policies that are divisive, breaking down family systems and fueling feelings of racism and hate.
1000’s of children separated from their parents who are seeking asylum just like mine did. The generational impact of this separation and trauma is yet to be understood.
But what we do know and understand is that just as it was wrong to intern Japanese families during WW2 it is equally wrong to be interning Central and South American Families who are now seeking refuge today.
I consider myself one of the lucky ones. I was born in Canada and will likely not have to fear protecting my son from gang violence, starvation, war, or fear of being forcibly separated. My life is not better or more important. The love for my child is not any stronger than the love of a mother from south of our border.
As mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, we stand here together as sisters and brothers…we cannot close our eyes and move blindly through life with these injustices in front of us.
You may have heard the expression “Strong people stand up for themselves, but stronger people stand up for others”
Well this is it. This is your opportunity to show your strength. If you have ever felt a calling to do more, be more, give more in your life. Let it start now, in this moment.
Look around you. Look with intention and empathy. You will see that there are those among us who’s voices are unheard. We can be the voice for the voiceless.
If you came here today with someone you love put both hands in the air. Now put your arms around the people next to you. Don’t leave anybody out even if you don’t know them.
We are a community of people of all walks, faiths, colors, ancestries and that is what makes America and our planet beautiful.
It is all of our responsibility to bridge differences and provide real opportunities to those who are seeking a life of safety and hope, just like the one that was offered to my parents that kept my family safe. And perhaps to your ancestors too.
You chose to be today to be a part of this great gathering of energy. Take the feeling you have inside you now. This feeling of optimism and change.
Take it to your homes, take it your schools, take it your places of work and share this fire that is in your heart right now, that it might ignite others to do the same!!!
Don’t be afraid to use your voice to speak Truth to Power.
Remember that we are all human, we are all one, and we all stand together in truth. So raise your voice and let me hear you make some noise!
You are not alone so stand firm. Stay Human.