Ahmadi shares passion for social justice, experience as ‘political organizer’


Jason Ahmadi facilitates an organizing meeting in New York City. He was an active political organizer before becoming a math teacher. Photo courtesy of Ahmadi.

Archer hired 15 new teachers this past year — one was a longtime political organizer before turning to education. Math teacher Jason Ahmadi currently teaches ninth and 10th grade classes. He has been active on a number of issues in the past, ranging from pursuing environmental justice to challenging tuition hikes and resisting militarism and war.

Although he has protested various injustices, Ahmadi refrains from using the term “activist,” as it can refer to violent or aggressive action taken to bring about political or social change. 

“It’s very broad, and since I have been connected to the Pacifist Movement, language is very important. When someone thinks of the word ‘activist,’ it may be the opposite of ‘pacifist,” Ahmadi said.

He prefers the word “organizer” in reference to gathering groups of people for political ends.

Although Ahmadi is now teaching and cannot devote as much time to political organizing as he has in the past, he remains very connected to causes he finds to be important. He said he is constantly in touch with a number of people who are currently in Standing Rock opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline, either as journalists or water protectors.

According to Ahmadi, however, the mainstream media did not accurately portray the ongoing crisis in North Dakota.

“The story just [wasn’t] showing up. It simply [wasn’t] being portrayed for the most part,” he said.

After The Army Corps of Engineers denied the initial route for the Dakota Access Pipeline earlier this week, Ahmadi wrote in an email, “For those who do not support the construction of this pipeline, this is definitely a victory, and I believe it is a direct result from the actions the water protectors have taken at Standing Rock.”

Ahmadi discussed the importance of seeking out independent media sources, such as Democracy Now, to gain new perspectives on issues that may be biased coming from typical news outlets that people are surrounded by, such as CNN, Fox News or NBC.

After advocating for numerous causes, Ahmadi went back to school to become a teacher. When asked about his transition from activism to teaching, Ahmadi said, “I love education and knowledge. There are many ways that we can empower ourselves, but knowledge, in my mind, is the ultimate way.”

“I am actively trying to be the best math teacher I can be for my students,” he said, “and I am putting all of my focus and energy into that.”

In addition to having an enthusiasm for mathematics, Ahmadi loves the study of language and enjoys speaking Spanish.

When asked how Archer students and other young people can become involved and well-versed in social activism, Ahmadi shared his perspective on the power of community and numbers.

“Think about what you can do as an individual,” he said. “You may, in the larger scheme of things, feel helpless. But think about what you can do with ten, twenty of your friends. Think about what you can do with your whole community.”