Even in our darkest moments, we can find hope in the next generation.

Meet Emily Moghadam.

Emily is a student at San Juan Hills High School in South Orange County.

I recently met her in the campaign headquarters of Congressmember Mike Levin where she was calling voters – just as she does twice a week – to motivate them to vote in the upcoming election.

But it is more than her commitment to doing her part to elect Democrats that inspires me.

Emily is the daughter of Iranian immigrants. At a time when young women are courageously lifting their voices to bring change in Iran, she’s doing the same here in California.

Even at a young age, she’s built the resume that would be the envy of folks twice her age. Teaching English to Vietnamese children via Zoom. Founding an organization to promote young women in STEM. All while finding time to serve as a choir section leader and a Marvel and Star Wars aficionado. Needless to say, she’s busy!

But, she tells me her passion is politics. Why? She says, “Some people see politics as an uncomfortable divisive aspect of society, but I see it as the only means for change.” I’m not sure I agree with her that politics is the only vehicle for change. But, it’s certainly an important one.

And at a time in which our basic rights are under attack, we need her hopeful optimism and her willingness to enter the fray now more than ever before.   

Emily carries with her the stories shared by her family and the voices of strong women leaders who’ve come before her – Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to her own aunt, Superior Court Judge Tamila Ipema.

There’s no question that Emily is doing the hard work to improve the community around her. But, more importantly, she draws on her family’s history and generations of women leaders that urge her and her generation onward.  

Emily’s future is incredibly bright. And, even in our darkest moments, I know our future is incredibly bright because of the many young leaders like her.

So, remember the name, Emily Moghadam. I know we’ll hear it again.