One Year of Women, Life, Freedom
September, 16th 2023
On September 16th, 2022, Mahsa Zhina Amini was murdered by the Islamic Regime of Iran after she was arrested by the morality police for showing too much hair. In her death, she revived a movement much older than her under the banner of the Women, Life, Freedom movement that showed the world the strength and resilience of Iranian women. The killing made clear the oppression, the utter lack of human rights, and the horrific police brutality that Iranians are facing.
Iranians were devastated and outraged. People all around the world showed up to stand with Iranians, amplify their voices, and explicitly condemn the Islamic Regime of Iran. We shared our personal and family stories of what it was like in Iran, and drafted issue statements, and calls to action encouraging allies to join us. We will not stand idly by while a dictatorial regime kills our siblings, we must continue to speak up.
Yet, over this last year, when we needed to come together and advocate for our siblings more than ever an internal conflict has torn us apart. We’ve fallen victim to an insidious disinformation campaign that has accused almost every organization and community leader of working for the regime. Community members I’ve never met and even some that I’ve known since childhood have chosen to believe what is an outrageous lie, accusing me of working for the regime. It has been a heartbreaking and terrifying year as my family and I combat isolation and fend off wild accusations, death threats, and threats of sexual violence while I try to stay focused on serving my constituents.
We spent the last year being terrorized by a witch hunt instead of focusing on what is most important- human rights and democracy for Iranians. Enough is enough. This disinformation has hurt Iranian Americans deeply sending a chilling effect through the community and effectively silencing anyone who disagrees with Trump's failed “maximum pressure” policy. This has done nothing but distract from Iranian's pleas for human rights and democracy while undermining our efforts to keep the conversation alive abroad. I will not be intimidated any longer and I refuse to be silent.
That’s why for this year’s anniversary I’m honoring my determined and justice-minded ancestors by speaking up for every Iranian who has been silenced. I thank The Stranger for giving me a platform to tell my story and I hope you will take a few minutes to read it. Please remember that the fight is far from over, that my siblings are still dying, that we must be led by those with direct lived experience, and that by spreading this disinformation we are doing the dirty work for the regime, dividing ourselves to be conquered by them.
Rest in power, Mahsa Amini.
Zan, Zendeghi, Azadi. Jin, Jian, Azadi. Women, Life, Freedom
State Representative, 46th Legislative District