With over 20 years of social justice experience, Bakhtiari has advocated for women’s and children’s health, refugee resettlement, environmental justice.
Liliana Bakhtiari was born in Atlanta, Georgia to an immigrant father who escaped into the United States in 1981, and a first generation Iranian mother. As someone who often became a victim of discrimination due to her race, religion and gender identity, Bakhtiari learned first hand about the importance of social justice and committed to pursuing humanitarian work across the globe at an early age.
With over 20 years of social justice experience, Bakhtiari has advocated for women’s and children’s health, refugee resettlement, environmental justice and career training with orphans and human trafficking victims across 24 countries across the globe.
Bakhtiari spent most of her youth years pursuing her passion, traveling the world and becoming a social advocate. She has participated in archaeological excavations in Kenya, been a part of political rallies in France, and assisted with cultural studies on genocide and Buddhist culture in Cambodia. She has trekked through Southeast Asia, various parts of Europe, Kenya, and eastern Australia. Along the way, she made her living doing everything from caring for orphan kangaroos to harvesting fruit in the rainforest. Her activist work has included aiding refugees build new homes, working with sex trafficking victims, and volunteering at orphanages. Capturing her experiences through photography, film, and writing became an integral part of Bakhtiari’s journeys. Not only did she document the individuals and events she encountered, but through her lens, she found she was able to share the impact traveling had on her by documenting her journey in words, pictures and video through blogging.
Bakhtiari hopes to make global epidemics relatable through the stories of everyday people.
“Rather than overwhelm people with statistics and stories of heartbreak, I hope to show them people who are surviving day to day lives. I want to give these stories a face, not just numbers. If I can show readers that these survivors are people who laugh, cry, and bleed just like they do, perhaps the issues stop being so unknown. Perhaps people stop willingly choosing ignorance. Perhaps people start getting invested and educating themselves,” says Bakhtiari.
In 2017, Bakhtiari successfully ran the municipal campaign for Atlanta election as a first time candidate, receiving 23 endorsements after launching and managing a multi-platform media campaign with over 20K person reach, planning 30+ events, raising $132K, and receiving 49% of the vote. This elevated Bakhtiari’s profile in Atlanta with state representatives/legislators, neighborhood captains, religious leaders, business owners and city planners.
Bakhtiari continues her work outside of political candidacy by remaining active in Atlanta through different social and political initiatives of impact. Most recently, she launched a mobile art installation in the form of a Georgia school bus, targeting voter mobilization using hope as stronger tool than hate. Painted in collaboration with Living Melody Collective, the bus toured Georgia, engaging suburban and rural voters, and inspiring them to make their voices heard during a critical election season.
Bakhtiari attended Georgia State University to study Anthropology and Journalism/Telecommunications and minor in Political Science.
Bakhtiari is currently the Public Affairs Manager of Planned Parenthood Southeast, assisting the VP of Public Policy in our overall goal of increasing public and legislative support Planned Parenthood’s mission. She also sits as a board member in the following organizations: GloATL, Victory Fund, WinList, Georgia Equality (also a chair of the Advancement Committee), and a Governor for Red Clay Democrats.