The Tahirih Justice Center is inspired by principles of the Bahá’í Faith – the oneness of mankind, the search for universal peace, the investigation of truth, the elimination of prejudice – and most importantly, the belief that full equality between women and men is essential for society to progress. Each year, our Bahá’í Service Fellowships are an important part of this journey to equality and justice for all. Created to empower young leaders in their service to humanity and learn from the work of a well-established, Bahá’í-inspired organization, these Fellowships bring to Tahirih the exquisite knowledge and passion of the next generation. In this group of inspiring and devoted fellows is Tahirih San Francisco Bay Area Bahá’í Service Fellow, Nikki Mobini.
Raised in the Bahá’í community, Nikki was introduced to human rights advocacy at a young age. She was exposed to a diligent community that was constantly engaging in social action, either through grassroots community service or involvement in nonprofit organizations dedicated to gender equality and the alleviation of global poverty. At home, conversations with her family regarding social issues and how to address them were the norm.
Part of me always knew that I was destined to go into this line of work. And as a child of immigrants who fled their home country to escape religious persecution, I have always felt a deep personal connection to the plights of the immigrant communities in the United States and had a desire to serve them in any way possible.
Nikki’s passion for human rights led her to study environmental health, women’s rights, global poverty, and human migration, and she was determined to find a career that would tie together the interests that were incredibly meaningful to her. Soon she was introduced to Tahirih’s Baha’i Service Fellowship and was excited to learn that the opportunity would allow her to gain insight in the field of direct client services, develop her career, and allow her to serve in the most direct and meaningful capacity.
As a Baha’i Service Fellow, Nikki is part of the Social Services team where she provides holistic, interdisciplinary services to Tahirih clients in the San Francisco Bay Area.
I do my best to find as many community resources as possible that will help each client obtain their basic needs and, if needed, assist them in accessing them. On any given day, I navigate the plentiful yet confusing systems and structures of housing, public benefits, mental health, work, education, and more that the Bay Area has to offer. Depending on the urgency of a client’s situation, I also help connect them with emergency assistance like shelters or mental health hotlines.
Nikki understands that though her service may not mean much to some, she sees the bigger picture of her work and the importance of it in our society. The determination, courage, and persistence of survivors of violence inspire her to go above and beyond her call of duty to strive for social change.
In a society that is constantly telling our clients ‘no’ or giving them unnecessary, inexplicable restrictions to accessing their basic needs, it feels so rewarding to be able to provide our services free of charge, with no limitations. It’s almost like we can demonstrate small glimpses of what the world might look like once true justice and equality are achieved.
However, despite the Bay Area’s plethora of resources and opportunities for immigrants and survivors of gender-based violence, Nikki has also learned about the unjust systems and structures built into the foundations of this country – making her job challenging.
It can consequently be very easy for our clients to feel dismayed or pessimistic about ever escaping the tough situations that life has handed them. One of the most challenging yet important parts of my job is to assure them that there are people in this country who are on their side and prepared to work hand-in-hand with them to attain justice.
Working at Tahirih has taught Nikki not to let our society’s injustices get the best of her as she knows her efforts are meaningful and will impact others to get involved as well.
I have noticed that many people who are engaged in this work tend to feel jaded and fatigued by the seemingly never-ending injustices that our client populations face on a day-to-day basis. And although it can be easy to submit to this feeling of hopelessness, through working at Tahirih and alongside my devoted colleagues, I have seen how these frustrations can be transformed into an even stronger dedication to contribute to positive social change.
Nikki is confident in Tahirih’s efforts to support immigrant and survivor communities and believes it will extend beyond Tahirih’s limits.
The symbiotic relationship that we have with our clients not only helps them obtain justice, but also helps us as allies and advocates to understand their circumstances and their needs even further. Through our direct, on the ground service, we are able to show survivors that, although it might not seem like it, there are people out there who want to help.