Letter to the Editor: Why I am Supporting Mondaire Jones for Congress

Mondaire Jones

I am supporting Mondaire Jones for Congress. I first met Mondaire on January 9, 2020. My father and I drove to a rally in Hastings on a very frigid winter’s night to protest the threat of war against Iran. For me, this hit especially hard, as my father immigrated from Iran to the United States as a student over 50 years ago. Iran is home to my uncle and cousins and a large part of who I am today.

It had been a hard week between the insensitive jokes of World War III, painful tweets from politicians calling for chaos, and listening to folks talk about a country they really know little about.

At the protest, I made a short speech mentioning America’s 1953 coup designed to destroy newfound democracy in Iran and how that forgotten piece of history is the catalyst for much tension between the two countries. “It’s America’s fault, we started it.” And how years later, Iran sieged our embassy (and they shouldn’t have) but it was a reaction to years of interference from America and Britain. “We need to understand our past to realize our present. There was a beginning to this crisis, and therefore, can be an end.” Speech over, I gave up the microphone

And then…someone else was given a chance to speak, Mondaire Jones. He was clear, thoughtful, genuine and warm. He said “We as a country should not be assassinating foreign officials in other nations.”

To you, that may not mean much. To me, it meant the world. It takes a deep understanding to speak a sentence like that to a crowd and mean it. No wavering. No disclaimer. Stop interfering in other countries, stop hurting and killing their people, stop the senseless death.

I approached Mondaire afterwards to let him know how meaningful his speech was to me. He told me he had heard my speech as well, and thought it was strong. (Wow, a congressional candidate actually listening to a speech I made!) He said the campaign needed my help. I signed up to volunteer and have been honored to be a part of his historic candidacy ever since.

But the real reason I am supporting Mondaire Jones is that HE WON’T FORGET ABOUT US IN CONGRESS. He won’t disappear into the DC network. Mondaire isn’t beholden to special interest, or ego or fame.

Mondaire will come back and show up in our community. He will appear on a frigid, winter night to make a speech to re-assure a nervous guy like me that there are people who will fight to make sure my family in Iran isn’t bombed and killed by my country.

In fact, as I write this letter, he is out there protesting and fighting once again against brutality and injustice. No surprise, he’s putting in the hard work.

That is why I am voting for Mondaire Jones. He gives me hope.

Kamran Saliani,
Irvington, NY

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