It’s not everyday that we have a fellow Zarthushti running for office in America. In fact, we have never had a Zoroastrian run for city council before in California. That is all the more reason our community has been so excited about the prospects of Parshan Khosravi, one of the long-standing young leaders of the Zarthushti community, and the chair of the 2019 World Zoroastrian Youth Congress, declaring his candidacy for Laguna Hills City Council earlier this summer. As we approach this year’s election day (remember to vote on November 8th, we had the chance to sit down with Parshan and have an interview with him, about his aspirations, his vision, and his passion for our community. Below, you can find the transcript of this interview. We hope that you will be just as proud as we are about having a fellow Zarthushti representing our community in politics and wish him luck in his race.
Enjoy this interview:
Hey Parshan! Thanks for taking the time to sit with us and do this interview. You must be super busy right now with less than a week left until elections. How are you feeling about the race?
Yes, indeed these are wild times, as we’re knocking on doors, calling voters, sending postcards, and engaging on social media… But I’m feeling quite content about things, because I know win or lose, we’ve done everything we could do and now it’s just up to the will of the voters! Plus, I’m always excited whenever I have the opportunity to spend time with Parsi Khabar!
Well alright then! Glad to hear you’re approaching this race with grace and optimism. So tell me, why now? What inspired you to run?
Well, what better time than now? It has always been a dream of mine to be at a place where I can represent my community and effectuate positive change, pursuing Huvarshta the way our Zarthushti faith teaches us. I have always known I wanted to engage in public policy in one way or another, ever since I came to the U.S. as a refugee over a decade ago. When I had the honor of chairing and commencing the 7th World Zoroastrian Youth Congress, I remember telling our young Zoroastrians that the only way our community can truly be recognized and respected as the world’s first monotheistic and one of the oldest living religions of the world is by taking it upon ourselves to be engaged in public policy and social causes around us, and to proudly represent our religion as we do good in the world. I remember then-president Homi uncle approaching me and encouraging me to consider running for office. All of those years later, after I came back from the World Zoroastrian Congress in New York this summer, I knew that this was my time and my calling to run, so here I am, four months later, days away from potentially becoming the first ever Zarthushti to hold an elected local office in California, second only to be elected to any office in California behind our very own Judge Mody who got elected in 2020.
Indeed an inspiring story, and what a time it has been for you, especially with everything going on in Iran right now. How are you feeling about that?
Well, just like many others in my community, I’m outraged. I’m outraged as an Iranian American, I’m outraged as a Zoroastrian, and I’m outraged as a human being. Quite frankly, at this point, if there are any elected officials out there who have not spoken up against the human rights violations in Iran, they are not different to me than the oppressive regime that is brutally murdering innocent people like Mahsa Amini simply for speaking up and wanting to live their lives in peace. This is not the time for silence, this is the time to use every power at our hands to fight back and to say it louder than ever: Woman. Life. Freedom.
Thank you for saying that. It seems like you’ve had a lot on your mind! Can you tell me what are some issues you want to work on if you get elected in Laguna Hills?
Absolutely! My first priority as a council member would be to push for a Disability Advisory Commission in Laguna Hills. 1 in every 8 Laguna Hills residents are individuals over 65, with my own father being one of them. Our city needs to invest in stronger partnerships and programs to support the aging and elderly adults in our community, as well as expand accessible pathways, both in our physical and digital infrastructure, and that is the top issue I want to focus on. I also want to expand affordable housing, increase businesses and economic development, and invest in arts, sports, and cultural programming more broadly. There is a lot of untapped potential in Laguna Hills, and I believe I can help elevate the city to the heights it can reach.
Well this has been a great conversation. Are there any last words you’d like to share with those viewing this article?
Firstly, thank you again for allowing me to take part in this. As I approach the final stretch of the campaign, my heart is full knowing that no matter win or lose, we’ve put in our all. And I hope in doing so we’ve been able to inspire other Zoroastrians to run for office as well! I am proud of what we’ve accomplished and look forward to celebrating this journey with my family, friends, and community on Tuesday night.