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Mon Oct 30, 2017, 08:43 PM

Candidates 2017: Liliana Bakhtiari for Atlanta City Council

My name is Liliana Bakhtiari, or “Leila” to my family, and I am proud to be running for Atlanta City Council, District 5. Our district is a diverse patchwork including: ADNA, Fourth and Sand, Central Atlanta Neighbors, Old Fourth Ward, Sweet Auburn Neighborhood, Fourth Ward West, Edgewood Neighborhood, Kirkwood, Cabbagetown, Reynoldstown, East Atlanta, Lake Claire, East Lake, Ormewood Park, and Grant Park.

I was born and raised right here in the heart of Atlanta. My father, an Iranian immigrant, was a pharmacist and my mother was a dental hygienist who worked hard to put him through medical school. I was born at Piedmont Hospital during a time when my father was working at Grady, going to school at GSU, and raising a family here in Atlanta, thousands of miles away from his Middle Eastern upbringing. All the while my tenacious mother balanced her dental career, publishing her writing, and raising me and my younger brother Sina. With such busy and driven parents, I learned from a young age how to pitch in and help, often taking care of my brother, who had asthma and needed to be looked after.

My father has owned a pharmacy on Edgewood Avenue across from the Sweet Auburn Market almost my entire life, and I grew up working there on weekends. It’s where I learned the value of hard work and what it takes to run a small business, and the difference between living on a street and being a part of a living, breathing community. Auburn Avenue was and is home to me.

My parents bought a bigger house in Lilburn when the pharmacy started to take off, and I graduated from Parkview High School in Gwinnett County before moving back downtown and becoming a GSU student just like my dad. I lived in the dorms and worked hard to pay my own way through college. I was very active in the district while remaining informed and active in international issues – for example, my friends and I began a non-governmental organization our first semester of college dedicated to protesting the tragedies in Darfur. I invested my time in student led coalitions and causes such as the Georgia Dreamers program and affordable education, and also fought for awareness surrounding gentrification, predatory lending, and the growing wealth gap in Atlanta throughout my time as a student.

I followed my passions for people abroad, fighting for every cause from student rights, to women’s rights, and the environment.

I followed these passions to Kenya for an archeological expedition where I also did independent cultural studies on multiple issues including female circumcision, food scarcity, and water accessibility. Soon after, I headed to Cambodia to study the cultural after effects of genocide, to work with women and children who were victims sex trafficking, and also to build housing and hygienic systems for different families in rural parts of the country. I spent additional time in Thailand, Laos and Vietnam working with refugees, volunteering in orphanages and schools for the disabled, organizing with various nonprofits, working in women’s health, studying public infrastructure, and volunteering with small businesses focused on job training and education. I backpacked through Australia for a month on my own, exploring at risk rainforests to the north, and witnessing first hand the destruction of the reefs on the coast. Back in the United States, I found my way to Washington D.C. and worked with The Pulitzer Center for Global Crisis Reporting as well as United Press International. While I was there, I honed my skills in film and photography, and began to focus on storytelling and giving a voice to the voiceless. I founded my own photography company and learned what it took to make ends meet while trying to make the world a better place.


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Reply Candidates 2017: Liliana Bakhtiari for Atlanta City Council (Original post)
RandySF Oct 2017 OP
Blue_true Oct 2017 #1

Response to RandySF (Original post)

Mon Oct 30, 2017, 08:55 PM

1. Looks like an excellent choice. nt

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