Rostam Released New Merch Benefiting The ACLU

“My American citizenship is something I should be able to be proud of, my middle-eastern descent, alongside it.”

March 01, 2017

I was born in America. Sort of just barely, but after fleeing Iran as refugees to France, my parents, with my 3 yr old brother and me in my mother's belly made it to DC, where I was born. That said there have been countless times, in light of disastrous, thoughtless, and selfish motives on the part of the American government where I have felt embarrassed to be American. I've expressed these feelings to close friends and one conversation stayed with me; one in which a person challenged me, saying, "You have to be a citizen of some country? Which one would you rather?" It was with this conversation in mind that I tried to find my internal response to the definition of the word "citizen" in America narrowing—as opposed to widening—in recent months. In airports and border crossings around the country, citizens, like me, are being treated differently than they have been before, because of their middle-eastern descent and no other reason. It was with a response to this in mind that I came up with this design: as a political statement but also as a reminder to myself. A reminder to myself of what America could be if we fight for its ideals, and as a reminder of what America was to my parents when they chose to have me here in 1983. My American citizenship is something I should be able to be proud of, my middle-eastern descent, alongside it. I am a product of the two. So the first piece of Rostam merch is a black Champion hoodie with this flag with my name in Persian across the front and all proceeds from these hoodies will be donated to the ACLU. i'm going to do more merch and donate the proceeds to more non-profits. I know there are more people affected by what's been happening recently than I've addressed in this post and I want to address all of it but this is where I want to start. you can pre-order a flag hoodie online starting today.

A post shared by Rostam Batmanglij (@matsor) on

Rostam has released some new merchandise that is going to a special cause. His new Champion hoodie features an american flag with his name written in Persian above the year he was born, 1983. All proceeds from the hoodies will go to the ACLU.

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In a lengthy post on Instagram, Rostam describes the inspiration behind the artwork. "My American citizenship is something I should be able to be proud of, my middle-eastern descent, alongside it," he said in the post. "I am a product of the two. So the first piece of Rostam merch is a black Champion hoodie with this flag with my name in Persian across the front and all proceeds from these hoodies will be donated to the ACLU."

The hoodies are on sale now for $50 at Rostam's online store.

Rostam Released New Merch Benefiting The ACLU