Annahid Dashtgard was born into a supportive, mixed-race, middle-class family in 1970s Iran. Then came the 1979 Islamic Revolution, which ushered in a powerful and orthodox religious regime. Her family was forced to flee their homeland, immigrating to a small town in Alberta, Canada. As a young girl, Dashtgard was bullied, shunned, and ostracized by both her peers at school and adults in the community. Home offered little respite as her parents were embroiled in their own struggles, exposing the sharp contrasts between her British mother and Persian father.
Determined to break free from her past, Dashtgard created a new identity for herself as a driven young woman who found strength through political activism, eventually becoming a leader in the anti-corporate globalization movement of the late 1990s. But her unhealed trauma was re-activated following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Suffering burnout, Dashtgard checked out of her life and took the first steps towards personal healing, a journey that continues to this day.
Breaking the Ocean introduces a unique perspective on how micro-inequities and broad-scale discrimination result in social trauma and ongoing PTSD. It is a wake-up call to acknowledge our differences, offering new possibilities for healing and understanding through the revolutionary power of resilience. Dashtgard answers the universal questions of what it means to belong, what it takes to become whole, and ultimately what is required to create change in ourselves and in society.
ANNAHID DASHTGARD (M.Ed.) is the co-founder of Anima Leadership, a highly respected international consulting company specializing in issues of diversity and inclusion. Previously she was a leader in the anti-corporate globalization movement, responsible for several national political campaigns and frequently referred to as one of the top activists to watch in the 1990s. She is the host of the podcast series Breaking the Ocean: Soundwaves of Belonging and the director of two award-winning documentaries, Buy-Bye World: The Battle of Seattle and Bread. Her writing has appeared in the Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star, and Briarpatch magazine. Dashtgard lives in Toronto with her husband and children. Breaking the Ocean is her first book.
“Annahid Dashtgard’s Breaking the Ocean: Race, Rebellion, and Reconciliation is a deeply intimate and provocative memoir of the explorations of a young immigrant mixed-race woman trying to find her way to belonging through social change. A profound and important read at this time of the intersections of our struggles. We need more voices like hers.” — Judy Rebick