In honor and celebration of Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month this May, we interviewed Kid Reporter Siroos Pasdar as part of a series highlighting the voices of our Scholastic Kid Reporters and the AANHPI stories that made an impact to them. Siroos chatted with us about his experience covering the Iranian protests and interviewing Iranian American activist Ariana Romero.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am 14 years old and live in NYC. I enjoy playing tennis, playing the drums, and spending time with my parents and my younger sister.
What has your experience been like as a Scholastic Kid Reporter?
My experience has been fantastic. It has been filled with so many opportunities to learn, write, and continue to acquire new skills. My favorite part about being a Kid Reporter is being able to interview and meet so many people. It’s interesting to see people’s perspectives on certain issues, or how their work can positively contribute to their community.
How do you decide what stories to write about?
Sometimes I receive inspiration from my parents. Otherwise, I write about topics I enjoy learning about or that feel interesting to me, but might not have too much recognition in the news. For this article, for example, I thought that a lot of people would not know too much about the protests in Iran, so I figured writing an article to educate them about it would be a good idea. I try to think of stories that can really open up somebody's mind and teach someone something new, or make someone think of something new. Obviously, all over the news and all over TV there are a lot of negative, big headline stories. I think educating readers on smaller, more positive stories can have just as big of an impact, so I try to focus on those.
What was it like to interview Iranian American activist Ariana Romero?
It’s always great to find a new perspective, and this interview did just that. It was interesting to see how Ms. Romero, as an Iranian, felt about the events unfolding. She told me that it’s sad and difficult to see, especially because she has family in Iran. But it’s also interesting to get the perspective of an activist. As an activist, she described some methods she uses, and other people can use too, to raise awareness about the events in Iran.
What did you learn from meeting Ariana?
I learned a lot about the response to the protests from the organization she is with, the Iranian American Women Foundation (IAWF). She described some of the actions the organization has taken, such as a visibility campaign and a billboard in Times Square. A big objective for the organization, she said, was to raise awareness about the events in Iran.
What do you hope other kids and adults will take away from this interview?
As Ms. Romero mentioned in our interview, my biggest hope for my articles was to raise awareness about the events happening in Iran, and to educate readers who may already know a little bit about them. I also want people to see the positive work Ms. Romeo and the IAWF organization have done. In general, I think something people can take away from stories like these is how important activists are. Activists like Ms. Romero can have a big impact on our world.
Is there a leader you dream of interviewing? Why?
I’m currently reading a book my dad recommended to me about Starbucks. It’s called Onward by Howard Schultz, the founder and former CEO of the company. It has really interested me because I saw a lot of the complicated operations involved in running a business. But what interests me more is how much love, care, and passion are involved in running a business. At the start of the book, Howard was not the CEO. But he saw a lot of little flaws in the company, and he felt it was going in the wrong direction. As a result, he decided to come back as CEO and was determined to help Starbucks fight “for its life, without losing its soul,” as the book description reads. I haven’t finished the book yet, but it has been super interesting so far. Interviewing him would definitely be interesting, and I would love to discuss why he came back to the company and what he hoped for Starbucks.
What does Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month mean to you?
My Iranian heritage means a lot to me. I enjoy Iranian food and have learned Farsi, which is the language spoken in Iran. I also enjoy playing Backgammon with my grandfathers, which is an important game in Iranian culture, and cooking Iranian food on the grill with my grandfather.