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Nashville Mayor declares March as Kurdish Heritage Month

Kurdish History Month
Posted at 9:44 PM, Mar 18, 2022

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Mayor John Cooper has signed a proclamation declaring March as Kurdish History Month — a designation that members of the Kurdish community say sends an important message.

"We've been here since the late '80s early '90s and we think it's really time for Kurds to be recognized as being a body of people who help the economy, grow the culture, and grow the community here," said Wan Rashid, executive director of Effendi Foundation,

Effendi Foundation is a group that works to unite Kurds living in Nashville. Rashid said the recognition came at a perfect time.

"One of the reasons is because we have Newroz, and as you can see, Newroz is very established in our community it basically means the new year. And the folktale of Newroz is this man that defeated a terrible leader and freed the people," she said.

There are around 20,000 Kurds living in Music City. Rashid said united they're a strong force.

"Organizations today from Effendi Foundation to Kurdish Professionals really want to honor the Kurds in the community here," she said.

Many Kurds arrived in Nashville seeking refuge from violence and persecution. Rashid said a proclamation at a local level is only the start.

"Of it happening on the local level that gives us credibility to then go to the governor and ask them for a proclamation on the state level to where Kurds in Knoxville and Memphis can also say this is a month that is for the Kurds," Rashid said.

She says she hopes people take this as an opportunity to learn more about the Kurdish culture and celebrate it together.

"If you go through all of Nolensville and Murfreesboro Pike you'll see a lot of different businesses that are operated and owned by Kurds. And it's really influential to go and support these communities and these businesses to help them to continue thriving," Rashid said.