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Iranian Jewish Life in Los Angeles: Past and Present

Saba Soomekh, Author

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Jasmine Shamolian: Serving Tehrangeles

Jasmine Shamolian current serves as a Westwood Field Deputy Council District 5 under Council Member Paul Koretz, whose district includes Bel Air, Beverly Crest, Beverlywood, California Country Club, Carthay Circle, Century City, Cheviot Hills, Comstock Hills, Encino, Fairfax, Hollywood, Melrose, Palms, Pico-Robertson, Westside Village, Westwood, and other communities on the westside. Council District 5 is home to a diverse community with a district population of 10% Asian, 3% Black non-Hispanic, 8% Hispanic/Latino, 74% White non-Hispanic, and 4% mixed race.

Jasmine works as a field representative of the Westwood area, where she is responsible for inspection work, street resurfacing, policy issues and many others. She thinks that it is valuable for the council member to have staff who are representative of the large Persian Jewish community in his district which included Beverly Hills, Westwood and Encino, areas with high concentrations of Iranian Jews. She thinks it is important to have someone who is able to connect with those constituents (both Persian and Jewish), and has an understanding of the Persian Jewish culture and traditions. Jasmine is happy to be working in this position because she has always wanted to be involved in public policy with social justice as a goal. She believes that being able to work for someone like Paul Koretz in a macro setting is a great experience, because it enables her to make an impact on policies which affect her own community and others as well.

Jasmine’s transition from social work to public policy was an organic process, since she has always strived to combine policy with social justice. She informed us during the interview that those who are the most marginalized in our communities do not necessarily have the means or connections to implement permanent change, and are by default “greatly impacted by the local policies that are currently in place.” Many of these policies were made by privileged individuals who most likely have limited experience or understanding of the socioeconomic circumstances and obstacles faced by these underprivileged communities. Jasmine sees her work as an opportunity to bridge this gap by helping to formulate new policies that can directly change the lives of the most vulnerable at the macro level. Her professional aspirations include working her way up to the Los Angeles City Hall, with the goal of working specifically for the legislation department, where she can combine her social work experience with policy formulation to help promote the welfare of minority communities and greater Los Angeles.
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