Dear members volunteers and supporters,
We write to you in heartbreaking times. We are all saddened by the death and destruction we see in our motherland. It is a stressful time for our Iranian-American community.
We encourage individuals to use their free speech and free expression rights for positive change to help Iran and our community instead of spreading hate, rumors, and division. Divide and conquer is an old tactic that unfortunately works. The more time people spend spreading false rumors about the Center or people in our community, the less attention and focus is on what matters: helping people in Iran and our community.
Now is the time to stay united and support one another. The Center is doing what it can in line with our non-political, non-denominational, non profit bylaws and 501(c)(3) tax exempt legal status. We must act within boundaries set by US federal tax law. There are consequences if we do not.
Within its educational and cultural mission the Center hosts programs about human rights, Iranian political history, and issues of importance to our community. We have shared information about the ongoing situation in Iran including those killed and have provided our community an outlet to grieve during this immensely difficult time.
Some have started vicious rumors and attacks against our Cultural Center and our directors, members, and volunteers. Some have accused us of moving too slowly. Please remember this Board is entirely all-volunteer unpaid part time directors. All of our dear members, volunteers and supporters do everything they do for our community out of the goodness of their hearts in their free time. Some have accused us of not doing anything to raise awareness of the situation in Iran and help our community. The rumors get only worse from there, unfortunately.
We invite those who are spreading hateful rumors to stop hurting our community and instead offer constructive solutions to help our Center grow. Our community thrives when people participate in a positive way to help one another.
Here are just some of the wild rumors we have heard along with the actual facts. We do not dignify every nasty rumor with a response now, nor will we respond to every rumor in the future.
1) Rumor: Center has done nothing to raise awareness of the situation in Iran.
Fact: Center has posted information about the death of Mahsa Amini and many others killed on social media and website both soon after her death and the start of protests, and on an ongoing basis.
2) Rumor: Center has done nothing to bring community together and remember those killed recently in Iran.
Fact: Center hosted a discussion with a prominent local psychologist to help our community process its emotions and grief during this difficult time on Sunday Oct 9.
On Friday Oct 14th the Center hosted candlelight vigil on Oct with an attendance of 60 people. The vigil was advertised on Facebook, Instagram and our website. The Center will continue to host memorials to raise awareness and support our community.
3) Rumor: Center is political and pro regime.
Fact: Center is not political; this is in our bylaws. The Center does not donate to, or receive money from the US government or Iranian government. The Center does not support or endorse any Iranian political candidates, does not support or endorse the unelected clerics, and does not support or endorse any part of the Iranian government. The Center does not support, endorse, or oppose any candidates for office or any current officeholders in the United States. This is in line with our non-political requirements from the IRS.
4)Rumor: Center supports NIAC or NIAC supports center.
Fact: The Center does not support and has never supported NIAC. NIAC has never endorsed, supported or funded the Center. The Centers finances are available online for everyone to view. They have been available on our website for years.
Now is the time to stay united and support one another.