By Ryan Khojasteh
I would first like to thank Professor Montfort and Professor Pellettieri for allowing me to share this good news with the Santa Clara community. My name is Ryan Khojasteh, Santa Clara class of 2016, and I am a current first year law student at UC Hastings. I majored in Political Science and minored in French and Francophone Studies.
I take our school’s motto very seriously, that of being a man and woman for others, with competence, conscience, and compassion. I believe this holistic Jesuit education has prepared me for a life dedicated to public service and playing my part in the world.
In December, in the midst of my law school finals, I testified before the San Francisco Board of Supervisors for an appointment to the Immigrant Rights Commission. The purpose of the Immigrant Rights Commission is to advise the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors on issues and policies related to immigrants who live or work in San Francisco. I was honored and humbled to be recommended after my testimony, and then unanimously appointed by the full board.
The values and lessons I have learned at Santa Clara created a sense of urgency within me to do whatever I could to combat the divisive and discriminatory rhetoric so often used throughout this tumultuous election cycle. Now with this new president, we need new young leaders to bring hope to our communities. And that’s what I set out to do.
What I would like for the Santa Clara community to take away from this is that if I can do it, anyone can. All it takes is being proactive with good intentions, and then you are on your way to making a difference. When we take a foreign language course, we are not solely learning how to speak a new language, we are learning about a different culture. There is a reason, for example, the subject matter is called “French and Francophone Studies” – not French Language. It is always crucial to learn about other countries and their way of life, and to respect that which is different from ourselves.
This election was an attack on difference. It was filled with xenophobic and discriminatory rhetoric. Regardless of your political affiliation, it is a truth that we would not be America without the diversity of cuisine, culture, music and language present in our country. This all stems from our immigrant communities. We must always respect, protect, include and cherish them in order to be the United States of America.
Please do not let this election take away your hope in the goodness of our country. Let this motivate you to rise up and do what you can to play your part. Become involved in a campaign, advocate for an issue, or seek an office down the line. We need you, our Broncos and our future leaders.
Watch Ryan's testimony to the San Francisco Immigrant Rights Commission