One of my first memories as a child was going with my mother to phone bank for Al Gore in the 2000 presidential election. During the car ride, I remember asking her why we were going and she said “We’re going to make a difference.”
My mother is a bold and fierce woman who is a single mother, a scholar, and a working professional. During my pre-school years, she re-enrolled in college to receive her Bachelor’s, and then Master’s degree, and would stay up late at night to work on her thesis before dropping me off at school early in the mornings. I spent my youngest years in the campus library, where I would sit next to my mother in one of her night classes, drawing in my coloring book.
It’s hard to express the impact of watching my mother go through all of the hardship that she did and then come out victoriously. She instilled within me the belief that women were powerful and intelligent, and that they could achieve anything if they set their mind to it. Growing up with her as a role model made me a fierce feminist: she instilled within me the reality that the glass ceiling can always be shattered.
My mother and I were very politically engaged all through my years of school, going to rallies, and phone banking for Kerry, and then Obama. She said that it was crucial to support candidates who would support people like her, single mothers who worked incredibly hard to ensure that there was food on table and that their children had every resource possible.
Last year, I became involved in the Eskamani campaign because Anna is a strong woman who will fight for the same values that my mother instilled within me. She believes in a women’s right to choose, lowering income inequality, and common sense gun control.She supports many key issues that are inline with progressive values. I know that she will fight for me and represent my voice in Tallahassee.
This instinct was solidified when I recently went on a school trip to our state capitol. Every hallway that you walk down in the capitol building is filled with pictures from moments in Tallahassee history, but most of those pictures lack female or minority representation. When you sit in the area where legislation is made, the framed faces of dozens of years of white male Speakers of the Florida House look down upon you.
It is amazing to think of a female, first-generation, feminist, Iranian-American sitting in that room,working while all those faces line the wall. That’s the kind of sight that would make my mother proud.