Tonight, after the pledge of allegiance, the Irvine City Council will hold a moment of silence for the 176 innocent passengers and crew who tragically lost their lives last week when Iran shot down a commercial airliner.
Many of the airliner’s passengers were Iranian Canadians who were affiliated with Canadian universities as students or researchers and had traveled to Iran during Christmas break.
Some victims had ties to our own Iranian American community, which includes more than 11,000 Iranian Americans in Irvine and 36,000 Iranian Americans in Orange County. Irvine is also the home of UCI’s Samuel Jordan Center for Persian Studies and Culture, one of the world’s leading interdisciplinary institutions for the study of Iranian culture and history.
As my friend, Irvine resident, and community leader Neda Mottaghi-Movahed has said, this has been “a very sad few weeks for all of us” in the Iranian American community, which has held memorials in Irvine for those whose lives were lost.
We are proud of saying that our city is not only among the most diverse cities in the nation, it is also the most fully integrated. There are no ethnic, linguistic, religious, or cultural enclaves in Irvine: every neighborhood reflects Irvine’s harmonious ethnic, linguistic, religious, and cultural diversity.
In most cases, this means that we share in each other’s holidays and celebrations.
In this case, it means we share in each other’s sorrow.
My deepest condolences to the families and friends of all who were lost, as well as to the entire Iranian American community.
My heart reaches out to my many Iranian American friends and neighbors.
I join with the Iranian American community in mourning the senseless loss of so many lives and in praying for peace.