International Women’s Day 2019 | Think Equal, Foster Change | Full Program

we have an exciting engaging educating
and empowering program plan for you today ICWIN has been a great partner the past three years of women’s March
Los Angeles Foundation and they have participated immensely and greatly and
every single one of our marches where we’re very happy about this involvement
and we hope to grow it to a level where thank you so much Narges June for
being here my name is Bita Milanian and I have the
privilege of being your emcee here to help coordinate this wonderful program
that all the volunteers here at the organization has put together so before
anything let’s give a round of applause to all the volunteers who put this
program together across the globe the 2018 was recognized as the year of women
women continue to claim their time by being more present more vocal brave and
bold for change in 2019 women across the globe continue to strive for equality
and justice for all hence the theme of this program today is
think equal faster change what a beautiful topic thank you so much
for coming up with this creative yet to the point theme for today we’re also
commemorating 40 years of resistance of Iranian women in Iran and in diaspora
many of them represented here so round of applause for all of those women were
working hard and fighting for justice in 2018 we saw many women succeeding in our
community across the globe but for specifically for Iranian women made
history as follows Anna v Ekamani Florida State House Anna Kaplan New York
State Senate Zahra Karinshak Georgia State Senate and Sam Hamadani Wake
County District Court Judge I mean come on amazing.i all of that real-time as I’m
sure many of you did and it just was so joyful and so rewarding and so
inspirational to watch these women when one after another and be able to share
that news with everybody so with that are delighted that we have the good
fortune to have two of the young brave Iranian women who have stepped out the
plate and representing us very well in the you know global community and
specifically here United States the two young women are twin sisters Anna and
Ida v Eskamani yes they’re beautiful twins the Honourable esq money is the
first Iranian to become an Assemblywoman in state of Florida sanction States yes prior to that Anna serve as the senior
director of public affairs and communications for Planned Parenthood of
Southwest and Central Florida she’s known across the nation as an advocate
for women’s health and equality please welcome the Honorable Anna vs
Cavani together with Anna June we have I the Ida V Eskamani play who played a key role
in her twin sisters successful campaign she currently facilitates statewide and
local public policy efforts for several progressive organizations in Florida
including organized Florida new Florida majority and Florida immigrant coalition
and she’s previously she proceeded serve as chief of staff to Florida House
Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith welcome don’t we love technology because it
solves so many problems I have a tech background so I love this happening here
because you know things happen in life so due to Ana’s schedule at Florida
assembly and considering flight delays due to unusual weather pattern it was
determined that traveling to lovely California who also has now
unpredictable weather these days it was best that you with this virtually so it
feels like you’re here so welcome and my dear friend Judy Jones she’s going to
moderate this special yes round applause Judy who’s been working on some irony
she has had much sleep organizing this who herself was recently appointed
delegate to the California state Democratic Party to moderate this lovely
conversation hi everyone it’s so exciting to be here so today since
unfortunately we could not have these lovely sisters present here so you
couldn’t hug them you couldn’t take pictures with them we thought that you
should have the opportunity to at least we get engaged with them so after I
asked if some questions moderated question we you will have an opportunity
to also ask some questions from the audience all right let them all right so
energy first of all I want to congratulate you for writing your first
bill and I think it was it passed wonderful so you are you’re on the right
track so your bio into indicates that you have held prestigious and strategic
positions can you tell our audience why did you get involved in these
organizations and as importantly how did you find your way in that sphere that’s
a fantastic question and thank you again sue detuning everyone for inviting us to
join you through Skype you know our our foundation is very much grounded in
Iranian women I think many people know that arm
passed away to cancer when we were 13 years old our parents came to from parts
Iran but they met in Florida and we were working-class so our parents worked hard
their entire lives I’m sacrificing for us to be able to you know go to college
and and really advocate for families like ours and so my passion port for
women’s issues in particular it was very much grounded in losing our mom at a
young age because when we lost our mom actually started reading literature by
irani women for Iran equipment to get a better understanding of our struggles
but not just our struggles but of the talents strengths of Iran during
learning and that inspired me every day to want to do more to support women and
girls here the United States and abroad and that was really my beginning you
know that identifying feminism and really understanding the issues that
impact women and girls each and every day hi Joe what about you how did you
get in love got involved our first kind of activism ever was actually regarding
Iran and human right we were both at the University of Central Florida in Orlando
and it was around when the Green Revolution was happening you know 2009
her and I launched a petition campaign it was all about student solidarity
about American students standing in solidarity with Iranian students because
we know so much of the movement in Iran has often been rooted in young people
and young woman and so that’s really how we kind of first got you know engage
activism kind of cut our teeth in this work and so we both wrote under graduate
theses around avaya you know our parents raised us
with so much pride in our people and also they never shied away from sharing
their struggle and our people struggle and so piranha and I it’s always been
very much ingrained to the work that we do and for us you know our parents
sacrificed everything to to allow us to live the American dream and so we have
sort of manifested with that into doing whatever we can to help marginalize
people so much is rooted in just you know our being strong Persian women and
knowing that from the show and I’ll add to that too
you know in 2009 when you and you saw the green movement happen in Iran I
didn’t I were president and vice president of the Iranian student
organization at our university and it was very much a cultural organization
and we kind of embraced that but also made it a king the rights organization
and we were agree wristbands every day and like I just said we collected
petitions at UCF to have our your American friends show up for the Iranian
community and show solidarity with the struggles happening in Iran and now that
was so foundational for us and we matched our academics you know with our
activism so both Ida and I would have massacres I’m getting my doctor right
now and so we continue to see you know the history of our people and how that
motivates us to be brave because especially for running women you know so
much has been sacrificed to earn a more equal standing in society and yet we’re
still so far from achieving that and we feel that same struggle here United
States as well very well very well said and so that actually leads me I’m gonna
jump because I was going to ask this question later but one thing that really
stood out in your campaign anagen was the fact that you not only did not hide
your Iranian heritage you put it out there in volumes you know and I remember
my mom came and told me you know I have you noticed she has a father Behar on in
every picture so kudos to you so so tell us you know strategically I’m sure you
had campaign managers and all that well how was that decision made to stood yeah
to express all of you all that you know is within you and represents you yeah is
a really great question you know so our our campaign we actually pushed back
against traditional consultants and managers because to your point many
people would tell us not to do that they would tell us don’t let people know
you’re Rania a state like Florida you know most
people automatically assume that we might be latina you know Iran is not a
it’s not a major demographic in Florida you know growing up we were usually the
only Iranians in our school so so you know if I had listened to consultants
and managers they would have told me to actually hide from it and to not tell my
story and to pretend to be you know something more comfortable I think for
everyday people and our district to district 47 is actually 85% white and so
this is a community that you know it’s very it’s not people come from immigrant
backgrounds but it’s very well established it’s like American community
but it’s also my hometown and I’ve always been very proud of my ronnie and
identity in large part because of our mom really teaching us the cultures and
we celebrate Nowruz every year we drove over by her every year and we really are
proud of that and I didn’t want to run for office if I couldn’t be myself you
know I didn’t want people to support me not knowing who I really am and my fuck
for heart not only is it culturally very impressed me but this is my mom’s and
when she got really sick I put it on and told myself I wouldn’t take it off until
she got better but since she never got better I just never took it off so I’ve
been wearing this necklace for gosh you know at this point 1718 years so it’s a
part of me I refuse to take it off no matter you know who gives me that type
of advice and at the same time I think my culture identity it’s it’s it’s the
foundation for my values you know good deeds good boxing third words are an
incredible foundation to be a public official and even our campaign logo
anyone’s ever seen it you know our campaign logo is my name with Ali and
the vias are mom’s made a name the sky and the three stripes our good deed good
thoughts and good words so I even wanted to be a part of our story in the sense
of the logo that everyone sees the logo that everyone puts in their front yard
on a yard sign precise you know that if we’re a nation of immigrants and I
remember stories should matter and we should be
honest and open about it and I have to tell you it was really incredible
because we were so open about our identity there were so many people who
would come to me and say oh I went to school with in Iranian or my first boss
was Iranian and my roommate was Iranian and he started really getting you know a
sense of connectivity people were proud to say they knew an Iranian because they
wanted to support us and and you know that’s transformational that’s that’s
really you know that’s reprogramming people’s perceptions of Iran and that
was a part of our mission as well and one last thought to that the number of
young brown girls who were so proud and inspired by us I mean girls of every
background but it’s specifically girls that looked like us you know they they
were really really excited and proud and even when I go to any any environment
you know I get recognized a lot especially in Central Florida but it’s
so funny how you know on campus environments it’s but it’s the Iranians
it’s the Indian Americans if the girls who look like a Johnny Rockets Danny you
know see us and are inspired by us and they want to run for office themselves
so you know if someone like me a working-class daughter of immigrants you
know with the Irani last name someone like me can win for win a race a
competitive race I might I might hope as it inspires others so to not only run
for office but to run as themselves and to inspire people to join them in action
yes not at my sister’s but first-ever
Iranian American elected to any office in Florida yes and you played a big role
in that I know you were on the vaccine but you play the big role and I even
told Ana I said you’re the elected official but it’s harder to get in touch
with either than it is to get in touch with you know keeps you busy they were both cut from the same cloth
and I who was actually the one who started the the GoFundMe campaign for
pulse nightclub and raised over nine million dollars for pulse survivors and
the victims families and so you know we’ve both been involved in this work
for a long time and we care we care deeply about people and I think that’s
again grounded and our lived experiences knowing what it feels like to be judged
because the color of our skin or you know because of our name and I also
think I think in like Persian culture we are so giving right you can’t go to
someone’s house without leaving with you know bags and bags of food the rest of
the week and you know we gave our heart and our soul and everything we had to
our to our neighbors for Kinley to our friends and so ever on and I we apply
that same mentality to this work we just we want to stir people and I mean I
always think back to this is this is all I know is how to is how to help and
support and serve people and it’s so much of how we were raised and just in
our culture like I could get like giving nature in a culture that’s very sweet
so mostly Iranian Americans migrated to us after the Revolution and really trade
and try to stay on the radar and I’m so happy that your parents did not
Institute that in you and they you know and they also would tell us you know you
know there was this memo that we all got that you know politics is evil stay away
from it you know apparently none of us really listened so that’s a good thing
very good exactly so did you ladies grow up hearing about Iranian women’s
struggles and achievements I know you culturally got a lot of lessons from
your parents but were you following you know the whole struggle the compulsory
hijab you know the struggles that the iranian women’s movement has had not
just in the 40 years from you know at least the the last decade that they’ve
been liberated and they’ve been looking for equal rights what can you tell us
that crime has stood out for you yeah uh my mom never hid from us the struggle of
Iran and of Iranian woman so she would tell at that moment where you know she
had to wear a hijab she would talk about how you know Iran is such a rich
beautiful history but you know that his she was often stifled by you know by the
regime and things like that and so we were always nothing was ever
sugar-coated for us growing up our mom always spoke so much about the struggle
of Iran and her own personal struggles and and also just growing up working
class in America the struggles of that and and you know our dad some things
would tell us you know trying to protect us he would say don’t tell people you’re
Romani and tell them you’re Indian tell me you’re Pakistani
because he was scared of us getting bullied or going picked on or or or
something like that and our mom would always come in and say
no no you were Persian you need to tell everybody you were prison and she would
actually come to our school and teach our classmates about purging – bring
Ghormeh sabzi yeah so much like we’re here and who we are is because we had
such a you know amazing strong woman mentor our mom but also her mom our
mommy John is incredible you know she raised five kids work girls one boy and
so we came from a long line a fairly strong woman but I think when you look
at Persian culture that’s no surprise right so I think for us we were always
just taught you know we were things were kept real for us you knew what the
struggle was we watched news all the time we list
and PR you know we kind of kept updated and then it just became really natural
for us when we got to college to really start getting engaged in activism you
can’t afford that you know on a rant our friends class president campaign in
elementary school and you were just always encouraged to follow our passions
whatever their play for us one and I’ll add to I remember our mom talking about
how politics had really tarnished Iran and she wanted to go back and see her
sisters and she never had a chance to shoot himself at the political he was
too hard I mean was also expensive for us but she was she didn’t want to put a
headscarf on you no she really she really felt that the the Islamic
Republic of Iran was burning the country and she would talk about that all the
time about you know just how oppressive it was and each I remember her you know
writing letters to her sisters because it was too expensive for us to call the
time but she really yearned to go back to Iran and felt like she couldn’t and
actually when she passed away she hadn’t seen her sisters in over a decade and
our first time in Iran was in 2005 to bring our mom’s ashes to the Caspian Sea
and that was such a transformational experience for us you know meeting our
family for the first time really connecting to our culture in such a
meaningful way but also developing that appreciation for the people of Iran but
also recognizing the struggle and recognizing the fear that so many
Iranians live in you know if they get political if they speak out and we were
encouraged you know not to talk in the cab because the driver might hear us say
something political we might get in trouble I’d be a lot of it’s paranoia
too but understand understandably because the you just don’t know an Iran
that it’s such a um arbitrary system of of Justice that you don’t know you know
what’s gonna happen to you and and you know I dream to go back to Iran but I
know with the current political climate between our two governments and just you
know our presidents as progressives I know it becomes more challenging but you
know the the I’m a firm believer that my struggle connected to your struggle and
none of us are parental role free and it’s one reason why I try really
hard even though I’m afford a house represented in him I can’t make
decisions on a federal level with international relations I try really
hard to teach my Republican colleagues in the Florida House the Florida Senate
who we are as Iranian and and what what drives us and and where our values come
from with the hope that they could be supportive you know in building better
relationships with the Iranian people and inviting peace in Iran versus what
tends to be a very you know inaccurate portrayal of the Iranian people very
well said and you just ask that my next question so I’m just gonna skip it so
honored you also mentioned about you know in your campaign also you said that
you’re unapologetically progressive what are your top five items on your agenda
perhaps maybe you can talk about your first victorious bill that you wrote I
love to subsist to give people more perspective you know the Florida
Legislature has a florida house and a Florida Senate and so I served in the
Florida House District 47 and we’re in downtown Orlando Winter Park in Belle
Isle so we’re very much the heart of Florida one of the most important parts
of the state when it comes to elections for presidents I mean it’s called the
i-4 corridor it’s it’s one of the most important parts when it comes to termini
national and statewide races we can’t paint as as you mentioned as an
unapologetic progressive fighting for issues that impact working families some
of our priorities have always included environmental protection you know
Florida is a Sunshine State we have to some of the best potential for renewable
energy yet we are decades behind on compared to other states and I’m an
educational enhancement I’m we’re both proud graduates of public school and we
want to make sure that our public schools are strong for next future
generations and for their parents so we’re fighting to protect public
education on the fronts of health care access I mean our personal story of
watching our mom have to navigate a really
health insurance environment struggling to pay bills and struggling to get the
care she deserved inspires us to fight for health care access for every
Floridian we have an expanded Medicaid in Florida so that’s a big conversation
for us all the time florida ranks 48 out of 50 on mental health funding so that’s
a big issue for us too and then of course you mentioned in my bio that I
worked at Planned Parenthood and I you know my Planned Parenthood story started
as a patient because her mom had passed away I went to Planned Parenthood when I
was 18 years old to seek access to contraception to find a method of birth
control that was right for me and I’m eternally grateful that Planned
Parenthood was there for me and I started volunteering at Planned
Parenthood and worked there for six years fighting for access to
reproductive health that’s always one of my passions and it’s my novel and my
connections to women’s issues we also care deeply about gun violence puls
night club is in my district and those who don’t might not remember in a pulse
nightclub was the was the the place where 49 people were killed by a gunman
and it’s it’s scarred our community it was primarily the lgbtq+ community that
was damaged by this this act of mass murder and so we feel really
unapologetic about banning assault weapons high-capacity magazines and one
of the bills that I didn’t file would keep firearms out of the hands of
domestic violence abusers because time and time again we see a connection
between domestic violence and gun violence and I want to make sure that
those who have a conviction of domestic violence cannot have access to a firearm
and then finally you know really looking at a better economic structure you know
Florida is a very service industry states we’re very much driven by Minna
wage workers it’s it’s tough to survive in Florida if you’re a working-class
rents is in front to give you perspective the rent in orlando is
actually comparable to the rent in los angeles
and I know the rent is high in Los Angeles but Orlando shouldn’t be like
that you know we don’t have the same quality of life or the same income
levels it’s really hard for 30 uns to afford housing and so we’re looking at
solutions to really ensure that ordiance can have a roof over their head and that
you can reach your fullest potential by having a place to call home
so we campaigned on all those issues and more and you know coming to the Florida
Legislature as a progressive is tough because not only is it still majority
white men who represent the state of Florida but its majority Republican both
in the house and the Senate and the governor so you have to get really
Prieta when it comes to pushing forward your vision for the world and at the
same time build relationships and again I’m really humbled by the fact that both
Ida and I have many Republican friends you know we’re very authentic and
genuine when it comes to building relationships and even later this month
we’re hosting a no-lose party in the Florida capital robbery first-ever
naruse party in the Florida Capitol and we’re inviting every member of the
Florida Legislature and I’ve gotten really great feedback from Republicans
who once they saw the note about jumping over fire we’re very excited so we know
we want to do our part to build relationships then you know you brought
up the bill that I just caught so you know as a member of the Florida House we
sponsor policy bills and we also sponsor a funding request and and I’ve been
trying I’ve been doing work in a low-income community called bit float
for about five years now we grew up in that and near that community and have
many childhood friends who grew up in this part of Florida and so we’re trying
to open a a federally qualified health clinic in the area and so my request was
for a funding allocation and it was a prude namelessly you know by this
committee that is made up of majority Republicans so it was a good first step
for us and you know we’ll continue to keep pushing forward on all these
that matter to us alongside building meaningful relationships so we can keep
fighting for the values that define us as young progressives very well so my
next question is for either June and since you already mentioned that the
rent is pretty much like Los Angeles any chance either one of you want to move to
California because not that Florida doesn’t need you and they haven’t served
you well you know but I have to tell you I’m just gonna you know you missed out
for you being present here and I gotta tell you you missed out for being here
because we got some hardcore Democrats in this all right now we we have several
new appointed or elected delegates to the Democratic Party here myself one of
them chammiya Moya B’s another one Michael Saul is here where’s my Emma
Emma Jensen is here and then we also have the chair of the Democratic Party
of Orange County Arizona here and we got Michael Sheen right who
started the indivisible OSI 45 I’m sure many others but I can you know these are
the folks that they’re my new peeps you know y’all can help save Florida maybe
we should travel back and forth so so I did you’ve had intense campaign
experience I want to know what’s next for you any chance you are considering
to run for office right now the funny thing is I’m currently in public in
public policy so I’m actually a lobbyist for several progressive organizations in
Florida and so I’m currently working on immigration issues
unfortunately the immigrant community is again under attack here in the Florida
Legislature and so we are working nonstop to try to stop these really
dangerous anti-immigrant bills from passing I’m also working on criminal
justice reforms here in Florida we’re looking at doing something similar to
the federal first step act or criminal justice reform is up here in Florida
calling it the Florida first step act I’m also working with my sister and
other lawmakers on issues around affordable housing as well and also
really really engaged in the long list progressive issues and so the question I like you know Ana is older I know she’s
7 minutes older than you see the amount of people who call me represented in
such a rush I just text her and I say hey just so you know so-and-so saw you
and you know people call her representative all the time and I tell
her just to go with it I see all of us operating in this ecosystem and so good
lawmakers need good advocate to give them the right information right
to help drop legislation to make sure they’re connected to the people on the
ground because some of the affordable housing stuff and honor is doing was
literally written by renters people who can’t afford rent it wasn’t just an idea
that you know some think it came up with yeah that on I thought up which is all
still good and important but more and more of the work we do we have to
empower people who actually live these experiences to write these laws and put
their ideas forward and so my current role in many ways I’m a conduit of that
I’m that connector between the community and the lawmaker and we definitely need
more people like that so I’m currently really grateful for the role that I can
play but if I never say never currently focus on this session and just and doing
everything I can to help people and if there’s a role that would help me help
more people I would certainly I would certainly consider it but for me it’s
about that the ecosystem and all of us doing doing as much as we can to help
marginalized people have their voices heard I completely understand that and
thank you for that and that’s suggestion to everyone I have one more question for
you but I want to know if our volunteers have gathered any questions if I if you
can deliver them here and ice I can’t start taking those questions but the one
question is you know of course that we had the pink wave in 2018 highest number
of women to be elected that state and federal level and this is particularly
important to us because us here at ICWIN we are always our slogan is embrace diversity and be bold for change so what
is your recommendation or suggestion for our audience why should they care and
get involved that’s a great question Aziz am I mean and it’s one reason why I
ran for office in the first place you know I watched the so both an Ida and I
have been in advocacy for about 10 years you know we’ve been behind the scenes
we’ve been empowering the community and and I
pretty content like where I was and worked up Planned Parenthood I had a
staff of six across 22 counties imagining eleven health centers going to
Tallahassee not full-time but going to Tallahassee when necessary you know I
was saving to buy a house like I was doing all the things that a that a 28
year old would be doing and then President Trump won and that changed
everything for me and I looked around my community and I realized that if we
really want to have a representative democracy it was gonna take more people
like us to build that and we needed to run for office but again even for me
someone who has all this experience and you know was well suited to run for
office I didn’t see myself as that person I actually started asking all my
girlfriend’s to do it instead so one by one I was like you shrimper office you
should run for office I’ll help you I didn’t see myself you know in that role
and one by one it was other women who would look to me and say well why aren’t
you gonna do it you know why aren’t you thinking about it and that’s what
inspired me to start seeing myself as as someone you could be that that
representative you know being that reflection of a diverse and
transformational democracy one that listens to people one not is held
accountable by the people and that’s what pushed me run for office and so my
advice to everyone is is that you’re needed right now
you know we can have a representative democracy unless you’re a part of the
process and it doesn’t mean you have to run for office though I encourage folks
to think about that and to pursue it but you know you have people in the room who
are involved in their local Democratic Party people who serve on our profit
boards people who donate people who volunteer you know every way you give is
transformational and a move that moves us away from what we often call
transactional politics which is very much the notion of I do this breed if
you do this for me it moves away from that to a place
that’s more transformational where we’re giving what that expectation with a bold
inspiring you to join us in social change and that’s not gonna happen
unless it comes from the ground apples it comes from everyday people getting
involved gain to know their elected officials and ex
sizing their power and I think that as Iranian Americans we have a lot of power
but we don’t always come together you know around these issues then and even
our campaign you know we raised five hundred and
twenty three thousand dollars we raised more than half a million on our campaign
for a Statehouse race we raised that from four thousand individual donations
I took not one penny from fossil fuel companies or big sugar or pharmaceutical
companies we ran a really strong grassroots campaign but majority of our
donors were we’re not Iranian sand so part of me thinks too looking to the
future of what can we do as now irani and elected officials to really build
our political efficacy as a community to rally around issues that impact us
whether it’s the travel ban whether it’s some issues around around visas right
now you know what can we do as a community that come together and to
build tower around issues that matter to us and I’m really hopeful that you know
in my new position not only can I fight for Florida every way possible but
helper your audience together to push for an agenda that we can all unite
around one that supports irani Americans here and Iranians who wish to come to
United States and for even our families that are still in Iran wonderful well I
didn’t do you would like to add anything to that I think good I would say is that
we need more women involved you know men have been in charge for a while and
there’s a lot wrong a lot going on guys and we need some women to come in and
help fix in it really to do all the work that’s kind of we do you know we we need
that we need to change shake things up and so if you are
considering running or getting involved in advocacy you know now is the time you
know it’s it’s already it’s already it should happen yesterday right so just
get involved be fearless be bold and if there’s anything that we can do to help
support to you and we’re happy to do that
wonderful so we got some tough questions for you
ready ready ready okay what is your answer to the
following question where are you from American Iranian American with Iranian
heritage Iranian American that’s a great question I usually identify as irani an
American but I’ll tell people that I was you know I’m the daughter of immigrants
born in Orlando but I usually define myself as Iranian American yeah I’ll see
you around an American to some may say Persian I go back and forth but I really
enjoy saying Iranian American because I think it’s really important that we
remind people that you relevance our country and yes your mom could be a
controversial place there’s a lot of misinformation about the Iranian people
because of the ugly rhetoric that we see so for me it’s really important that I’m
very explicit about where we’re from and in this country to help redefine it to
people and also when people say Iranian you know I correct them on that too yeah
I’d really help meet the picture of that like because I think when most people
hear Iran they’re thinking about the Ayatollah they’re thinking about you
know burning American flags like they they have this perception of what they
watch in the news and so for for us to say we’re Iranian American it pauses
them and helps them reevaluate like the stigma that they have associated with
our with our community and and so I just point like I think there’s a lot of time
to that if I told people that I was Persian they might not put the
connection to Iran and I feel like it’s my responsibility to you know help
redefine what Iran looks like to everyday Americans wonderful so next
question I’m trying to move on so we can get to all these questions so do you
believe the energy of women immigrants and male allies can flip Florida in 2020
I told you they’re kind of good questions we also have to remember maybe
on his election really helped with it is that we also need to work to talk to or
all working class people regardless of where they’re from and in a non its
discharge you know again it’s majority white and it’s in the perp or
neighborhoods and and traditionally more conservative neighborhoods when I would
go knock on doors and those communities I had some of the best conversations
because I would tell folks that you know our family we’re working poor and I’m
all worked at Kmart for 15 years and struggle to make ends meet and they
would then start telling you their stories and oftentimes it would be in
the afternoon folks be getting cold from work you know they’d be in like their
uniform of like a fast-food restaurant or what have you
until we would connect on that and it’s true like I we know that struggle and
they know it too it’s a it’s it’s a very American story regardless of where
you’re from is that you know the rent is too high that we have a minimum wage
economy in Florida and that folks are struggling and so often immigrants are
blamed for that but when you have immigrants coming to white working-class
people and saying like I have that same struggle you know that’s light clicks
off and all of a sudden you realize we are not the problem it’s actually this
system and it’s please you know corporate interest these tax cuts you
know and you know that’s the problem that we need to address and so I think
immigrant led movements are absolutely key but I also think we need to build
bridges with old folks who struggle and with that we can really focus on magic
in Florida well and a part of it too from my perspective is 24/7 organizing I
mean we not done fifty thousand doors on our campaign so it wasn’t just that you
know I was an iranian-american running for office I mean we we raised the money
we knocked on doors we earned endorsements even we had 80 more than 80
endorsements including President Barack Obama so we were really really
intentional about like building an infrastructure that shines and tonight
as point you know we want we this our race with a swing seat it was it’s lean
slightly Democrat and our our opponents spent over half a million he did 25
pieces of negative mail three negative TV ads he even did a poll in the
district that asked people they would still vote for me if they knew that I
was Iranian and connected to the Islamic Republic of
Iran like it was it was insane it was racist it was everything you would
imagine what happened and it didn’t work but it didn’t work because we were so
aggressive about fully our story before someone else but tell it for us and we
knocked on Republican doors we talked to everyone and did our best to build trust
and now as a legislative office not campaigning right now but we continue to
be very accessible you know we have our interns actually called constituents
just to say hi and just to say you know I’m your state House Representative you
want to help let us know how we can help because we have to rebuild trust and
governments and and that will reflect during the campaign cycle too but I know
from Florida you know we have a lot of work to do and building those meaningful
relationships with our communities so that they actually trust us again and I
think that’s part of our mission as fresh faces to the work is that we can
redefine that for our own party very nice anis so either Joan there’s a
question for you that says can you expand on your fundraising efforts for
the nightclub victims as a code second responder yes I can so for about three
or four years I worked for equality Florida the state’s LGBTQ civil rights
organization before then I was the fundraising director for Florida’s first
ever LGBTQ lawmaker representative Joe Saunders and my most previous boss he
was also openly LGBTQ and even though I’m not part of that community it’s one
that’s ingrained in the work that I do and actually I have an ox with a pulse
you know I got a tattoo we both actually got tattoos
I know sure if you can read it but mind says solidarity honest as Orlando in
rainbow because we really believe in collective liberation and LGBTQ people
are from so many ways and they also reflect
the diversity of above our communities right and so I worked at equality
Florida when the pulse shooting occurred we live about two miles away from that
nightclub and the first text I got that morning was from like my boss asking all
the Orlando staff members if we were okay and then that that quickly you know
thankfully none of us were there that night we were all safe but we
immediately jumped into action because that’s what we do and so you know I I
ran a lot of the direct Victim Services programming around that and that
included helping folks get connected but sort of all the in-kind services and
goods that were available that was also print ad Vica see so you know advocating
for undocumented folks who were impacted in their families Orlando is such an
international community and so many folks impacted were immigrants their
family were immigrants they were undocumented they were low-wage workers
in Spanish speaking so there were a lot of issues there as well so I did a lot
of international national media around that too and then I also launched a
GoFundMe page called the pulse Victims Fund because we knew they were gonna be
severe financial needs for these folks again the community they come from and
the struggles they already face and so we immediately launched a fundraising
page thinking which is gonna raise you know $50,000 $100,000 and those were the
original goals that we set up there quickly this page garnered international
momentum and within just a few weeks we raised nine point five million dollars
and over a hundred thousand donors across the world and main from 120
countries and those funds were just first directly to the people impacted so
that’s the families of the victims those are the survivors who experience
physical and injuries as well as anyone who was in the nightclub that night
because we know even if you don’t have physical injuries you have mental mental
injuries and challenges because of how traumatic the event was and no amount of
money will ever you know solve the trauma and that experience but it does
help alleviate some of those immediate stressors because folks have to be off
of work right and thankfully a lot of the medical bills were we were able to
advocate to have them or but there’s a long list of challenges
that come up when you when you experience such a horrible crime and for
us it was very important again that we don’t tell people how to spend that
money traditionally in a lot of these events of mass murder nonprofits will
get the money and they disperse it in programming but we were very very
intentional about advocating that the funds need to go directly to the people
who were impacted cuz they know what they need best and so I’m really you
know that’s alright now two and a half years after that tragedy
Orlando still has a lot of healing to do and a lot of the folks impacted as some
of our closest friends and in our chosen family and so it’s been really beautiful
for me to see those funds be put into use for folks to really live their
dreams so there was a restaurant open and honor of a loved one that a family
lost we’ve had some of our friends start new new life’s right new careers new
educational opportunities with those funds and also hands just pay their
bills and do things like that they couldn’t do and try to and try to you
know put their lives back together after that tragedy so some really for me I
feel like I was in that position to do that work and I’m really just grateful I
was there and I can I can help help these folks in that in that way well
you’re both amazing and shining stars and I’m sure we will really follow your
leads as you light up this road you know at such young age you are just an
inspiration unfortunately we’re out of time I do want one question with just a
yes/no and you know whatever you respond to it I’m gonna put a dot dot dot behind
it to be continued for our next charge that we talk so here’s the question it
won’t be personal Oh baby okay since you offered okay but that was not the
question the question was do you consider yourself as a feminist yeah
yeah with that definition of feminism
although the definition can differ but yes I’m glad that you feel comfortable
with that you know distinction and so we enjoyed
having you you are you both are such delight and we appreciate all this time
you know the past few months that we’ve been working closely with each other to
make today happen and we look forward to having you in California please give us
a you know tip if you decide that you can make it here I know there’s a group
of people lined up that would love to meet you in person
we’ll be there soon we always joke in and I’m gonna turn it into betta Melania
our wonderful emcee as she is going to be closing this session thank you so
much for making time to be with us you guys are so inspirational I followed
your win minute by minute I was posting I was shouting out so thank you for
making time – for being with us here today and I just can not get enough of
chatting with you guys so thank you I see Wayne for making this possible have
a great rest of the day in Florida see you soon so inspirational life is nothing without
art within it don’t you all agree I mean art of all forms we start with music you
know I love dancing for those of you follow me and visual arts are
exceptional so today if you haven’t had a chance to visit the beautiful
wonderful gallery that’s been put up here please do so but all this great
work that you see here has been curated by mrs. honey my my bhava a talented
artist herself she presented her work two years ago at icy winds event and
quickly was considered a sister within the circle so thank you so much for
being part of the group and your contributions she has done a wonderful
job reaching out to various artists who are presenting her work their work here
today all of their information is in this beautiful booklet that’s been
presented to you so I wanted to take a moment and recognize all of them so as I
said their names please join me on stage Mostafa Havas please come on stage
Charlo Juna sipping heavy she’s our wonderful dedicated photographer and
talented photographer and one of the steering committee members here dicey
when she Dean that will be discussed ah Susanna mohammadi salumi Marian honey
ajahn honey mama bhava fanimation Cham so for camellia show Joey Chloe
Tish P Nicole Tish be sisters yo and we also have yes round of applause for all
of their beautiful white outfits I love it we also have two art pieces that have
been donated by Kathy Matz one of our co-sponsoring spawn
organizations Iranian children rights society which was founded by Miss Maddow
sanity proceeds will support educational aid to bright but less fortunate
children so please please support all of these artists wonderful artists who put
their time and really I just scanned them quickly and they’re all truly
beautiful so please buy every single one of them
and support them thank you Kali magnet so as you may have noticed I kind of
jumped in and has so did you mentioned have the honor of being here with you
guys and sharing the flow of this program with you my beautiful sister
friend talented artist she loved was tsunami who was the original announced
and she was unfortunately called away on business and Sheila and I went to the
same high school what are the odds so we’re actually fellow we call ourselves
Persian wolves I kind of started this reunion with all of our friends from
that era of all the Iranians were the Persian wolves of a nice high school so
Sheila and I shared that as well as many other projects that we’ve done together
so she couldn’t be here but she has a message for us so let’s check it out
hello and happy International Women’s Day to you all I’m seeing all those who
hold me and I’m truly saddened that I’m not able to be there with you in person
to celebrate this special day as I had planned but I’m in New York City as you
may hear in the background and I’m working on a wonderful new project
that’s going to be great for immigrants and Iranians everywhere I wanted to
give a special welcome and thank you to my dear friend and hero of the day Bita
Milanian – Bita June, thank you so much ladies and gentlemen she’s a wonderful
dancer you should ask her to dance or you later and I’m sure that with her
eloquence and elegance and gorgeous energy you are all going to have a
wonderful time today as you all know Iranian women have been striving for
their independence and equality for decades this effort is most vividly seen
in their flight for the right to clothing also known as freedom of
expression specifically seen in their consistent resistance against compulsory
hijab I’m so happy that I was able to add some English translation to a
wonderful new video clip by a suit that was made earlier this year that said let
us all review and acknowledge this vigorous and determined effort by
Iranian women enjoyed a hundred and seventy years of Iranian
women’s battle against compulsory hijab hijab in 18-49 for the first time Taher
ahora Tulane one of the leaders of the Bob movement took her face cover or
Reuben day off in a public arena years later in 1907 during the Iranian
constitutional revolution intellectual and academic women started writing
articles against the hijab many also took their veils off at private parties in 1908 a group of unveiled women were
gathered to support the constitutional revolution their slogan was long live
the Constitution long live freedom we want freedom from religion we want to
live in our own way constitutionalists didn’t support them and labeled them as
prostitutes who want to redirect the constitutional movement with their
unreligious actions in 1919 hundreds of women took shelter in a mosque in Tehran
and declared that they would remain there until they got permission to take
off their veils unfortunately they were forced to leave the mosque wearing their
veils 19:20 said ahead alot Avadi
editor-in-chief of woman’s voice magazine received death threats for
criticizing compulsory her job for women 1922 woman’s letter magazine along with
Shanna’s azad its editor-in-chief was banned for publishing an article that
conveyed the idea that hijab and other superstitious and traditional beliefs
hold women and men back from advancement also in 1922 sakharova Parsa
editor-in-chief of Women’s World magazine was attacked by fanatics
because of an article which suggested that women should remove their veils she
was later exiled in 1924 Shanna’s azad and her husband Abdul Hassam Azad funded
the Association for unveiling to promote the concept of not forcing women to wear
a hijab or at least to give them the freedom to choose to wear a hijab this
association was shut down in less than a year and Abdul Hassam was imprisoned and
later exiled by 1925 numerous women had started wearing long and loose dresses
instead of the customary hijab or j’adore in public in 1929 in one of
Iran’s largest cities Shiraz six female teachers were colourful veils to show
their objection toward wearing hijab they were assaulted by bigots and
fanatics who threw stones and rocks at them in 1931 women’s universe Journal
challenged the idea of wearing hijab by women and published opinions of people
with opposing views on the matter 1935 unveiling was imposed by Reza Shah
Pahlavi as a governmental order for all women many female activists were against
the hijab however they did not approve of unveiling as a mandatory order in
1942 Reza Shah was overthrown and so was his mandatory unveiling order women had
a chance to choose to wear a hijab or not and in the next administration under
Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi women finally gained the freedom to dress as they
wished in 1979 after the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Khomeini ordered
that women must wear hijab in governmental offices the edict came
within 24 days of his taking position as Supreme Leader women who were against
the compulsory hijab rallied for several days and home a knees order was
temporarily postponed in 1981 home a knee tried again issuing
another mandate that required women to observe hijab in governmental offices
once again women rallied this time wearing black dresses and protests
calling it a day of mourning numerous women went to work dressed in black for
days after many lost their jobs September 5th 1981 the moral police
began the systematic surveillance and inspection of women’s had job in public
areas the Islamic Congress passed a law that women must wear hijab in working
environments or they would be punished on February 24th 1994 Hamada Robbie a
psychiatrist and member of the Iranian National Party had a long lecture
against compulsory hijab in Tehran she took her veil off burnt it and set
herself on fire as well she passed away shortly after since 2015 many other campaigns have
begun against compulsory haja 2016 saw the start of two campaigns my stealthy
freedom and white Wednesday’s many women started posting photos and videos of
themselves without a hijab in Iran on social media platforms to show their
objection towards compulsory hijab in December of 2017 video move ahead
expressed her objection by standing on public benches and raised platforms
while peacefully waving her veil on a stick
dozens of other women have followed suit these brave ladies were soon referred to
as the girls of the revolution despite being harassed arrested and imprisoned
many Iranian women continued to fight for the freedom to dress how they choose
and they exhibit their objection to compulsory hijab by unveiling watching this video reminds me why left
Iran where my parents decided for us to leave Iran my mother and her family were
nationalists they did not want to leave the country on the other hand my parent
my father’s side that had left many years prior but the turning point was
when I almost got arrested for my head job which wasn’t even my hair wasn’t
even showing and I was only 13 years old so watching this video not only reminds
me how lucky I am to have the freedom I have today to stand in front of you and
be able to recognize the women who are fighting for justice and freedom and
equality but also you know want to thank my mother again again who’s not here for
making that decision to free me and to bring me to this you know others part of
the world so I can hopefully be a better member of society and be able to give
back so shout out to my mom and to all the mothers and all the fathers who have
sacrificed their lives for us to be here 40 years so as we promised this event will be
educational just like this video we saw I also mentioned that we’re honoring 40
years of resistance of Iranian women so with that let’s look at another video or
to the first one is 1979 thousands of women across Iran came
together to celebrate International Women’s Day in 1979 we were four French
women who spent a week with Iranian women in their marches sit-ins and
meetings many of us in Paris Lyon Bordeaux and Marseille did as much as we
could to introduce them movement of Iranian women to the world we reflected
the women’s movement on a daily basis we members of the movement for liberation
of women in France declare that when Iranian women come to the scene of
movement it indicates freedom and emancipation for women around the world
chants of women are I say it every moment I said under the torture either
death or freedom freedom is not eastern or western it is universal this to
censorship in the dawn of freedom the place of women is empty revolution is
meaningless without women’s freedom we do not want a job the police tried to
disperse the crowd by firing bullets in their histories demonstrations the
nearest food to an antique of any realm yet the imposition of Islamic law here
has started with an order to women to cover their heads in government offices
many a furious only a minority and Iran already follow the instruction but the
issue has provided an escape valve for many of the men here who for days have
been spoiling for trouble led by a few Islamic zealots several hundred men
eventually attacked the protesters several of the women who stood their
ground with considerable courage was stabbed as they childhood slogans for
equal rights both of these men can be relied upon to
have a gun at home and if they can’t persuade the women and other selectors
who oppose extremist economic beliefs then the danger is that they will bring
their weapons out onto the street and the TT bloodshed again
moments later guns actually did appear although was eventually was thought by a
mother who had press no sympathy for the woman’s position ayatollah khomeini is
determined to see an islamic state at all part resistance to it is already
growing with no impartial policing the split in the revolution already opened
and breakfast of gum wider and more dangerous Jon Snow ITN Tehran the
government raised the issue of hijab we were part of this revolution we studied
and work in the hospitals we treated the wounded during the revolution after the
army surrendered and the revolution triumphs we were in the streets then
Khomeini said enough of demonstration you go back to your homes we did that
since Thursday we came back to streets again we do not want a job if you wanted
to impose the job you must have told us before we had the revolution to have
equal rights for women and men women in lower the first to react against the new
action we followed them we want to fight back we have to speak up right now for
our rights otherwise when they write the constitutional laws it will be too late
first they impose the hijab and then other discriminations will come they’ll
impose restrictions of marriage and divorce and finally will force us to
stay at home as nurses we cannot wear too much clothing our clothes must be
comfortable we cannot work properly with that hijab and the kind of dress code
they’re asking it prevents us from serving our patients
in the best possible way Thank You Ponthea June – do I have the mic on? You probably took on one of the most difficult Persian song there is out
there so kudos beautiful bravo Bravo Ponthea June so at this time
we wanted to quickly take a moment and highlight some of the ways when an icy
wind have been making a difference and what the aim is to do next so first
would like to give an update about Marilyn Fowler founder of women
international network or when as some of you may know Marilyn sadly had a stroke
a year ago the attack impacted her speech and her motor skills on the right
side of her body so um as in those of you who know her personally have relate
to me is that she’s a ball of fire and is making some great progress but she’s
surely missed with us here today so thank you for being the leader that you
are and we’ll miss you here it is due to her foresight an inclusive nature that
when was stablished wins mission is to assure that all women and girls girls
voices are heard in public forum for full participation in their governments
and economics when maintains in consultative status with United Nation
mission and vision of when and I see when in summary are listed in the
program book that you can review but in short the vision is advocacy for gender
equality advocate and partner at city county and state level for adoption of
ced aw be bold for change educate and unite against all forms of violence
collaboration create a dynamic platform to express a collective voice and unite
for diversity how relevant are all these topics into
today’s world so it’s so crucial for all of us to support and give and do
whatever we can in our power on the screen you can see the two-year summary
of activities that I see when has organized I see when is 100% volunteer
based and funded by your generous donations 2017 s focus was building
intercultural connection collaboration with other organizations and individuals
in 2018 in line with ice Siemens slogan the focus was encouraging individuals to
be bold for change and to embrace diversity 2018 also is an exciting
program was introduced in 2018 leveraging on the UN consultative status
status of when I see when started the program of sponsored UN delegation the
program is designed to allow two members of the Iranian American community to
join wins coalition of delegates to UN’s Commission on status of women csw and
events around it that take place in New York City every year this unique
opportunity has been possible by generous donation
donations of the community to help the birthday wish of one of the members of
the steering committee come true our own City June the program will not only
cover the lodging and travel expenses of these individuals our member delegates
will give them valuable mentoring information guided tour of un and
reduced them to the network of UN delegates with us today are the 2019
sponsored delegates to bright students that have honored their civic duties and
participated in the democratic process kyouma happy and Roxanna I
come on up where are the young ladies please come up we want to recognize you
also with us today yes as the new I see when delegate to UN and the lady who
will be presenting the icy winds message mr. Ruja Mustafa
Ruja June has been focused on working in refugee camps in Greece and most
recently mobilized the minority both encouraging civic activities in local
community please help me welcome this fierce young lady here hello everyone I
would like to start by first thanking you all for joining us today as we
reflect on Iranian women’s challenges and resistance our hopes and desires
excitements and disappointments this year marks the 40th anniversary of the
Iranian Revolution and a time to review we collect and reimagine a future with
gender equality social justice human dignity and rights to be the reality for
Iran I am grateful to IC Wynn who has given me this opportunity to speak being
supportive to me and other younger newcomers to the field I see when has a
distinct mission for advocacy to educate and to work to new rights against
violence of all levels and aims to work collaborating with other organizations
in civil society the road from 1979 to 2019 has been a difficult one for
Iranian women there were the major losers of the Revolution as they saw
their legal status and social positions dramatically declined by the government
of Iran in the name of religious revival women were removed from the positions as
judges attempt to reassert the clergies success
all the fragile rights that the women had under the previous regime were
repealed and the family protection laws were annulled temporary marriage which
had been outlawed although it continued to be practiced among some of the more
traditional social groups was now not only legal but openly encouraged the
legal age of maturity was lowered to 9 for girls and 14 for boys this was
interpreted too many to mean that girls could now be married at age 9 this is
also important to know that it’s also the legal age at which they’re punished
for any criminal offenses will the Iranian Constitution claims to guarantee
equal equality for both genders under Sharia which is in stomach Penal Code
the value of a woman’s worth is only half that of a man’s that is yeah which
is blood money that is paid for like murder or bodily injuries for a female
being a victim would be half that of a male victim or a woman’s testimony in
court is given half the weight of a man’s the same view towards women is
rooted in the government’s civil code and family law which is based also on
Sharia and has provided women with even lower inheritance similarly it gives for
greater rights in marriage and divorce to men most notably only a man can
contract more than one marriage at a time and only man are unilaterally and
unconditionally have divorce sites well a woman can’t terminate the marriage
only if the as an agreement and in some specific
cases if a judge permit said well dominant discourse and gender politics
of the regime during the last four decades has been to limit the presence
of women in public spaces in the name of safeguarding family and emphasizing the
traditional role of women it should be mentioned that divorce rates in Iran is
soaring and from every five marriage one is ending in divorce white marriage is
increasing and many young Iranian couples are opting to live together
without getting married and that represents one hundred and eighty third
turn in country that enforces strict Sharia law the younger generations of
you Rania nudes have discovered and recognized their identities on different
levels personally as well as in relation to social norms young Iranian women have
reclaimed and realized their sexuality and their to make choices for themselves
the idea of make a white marriage as I mentioned previously is cohabitation of
consenting adults who choose to live wit and love a partner without conforming to
societal norms challenging traditions redefining and reshaping gender roles
and family structures the challenges of women with the legal system is not
limited to Penal Code and family law many women are arrested and convicted of
exercising their fundamental rights of freedom of expression working to bring
about positive change on issues of concern to all iranian one of the
challenges of iranian women as in many other countries including the united
states to some extent is violence against women in public and private
spheres iranian women not only experience violence at home but in
society and the violence perpetrated by the
state Nagas Mohammadi a mother of two and a human rights defender is currently
in Evin prison she posted this short message from Evan prison on the 40th
anniversary of the victory of the Iranian people’s revolution to achieve
democracy freedom and justice it is necessary for the future ahead of us to
review the government’s records the great strides the women’s movement had
made over the last 40 years and urged people to scrutinize the Iranian
regime’s our repressive role in holding back women in legal social economic and
cultural areas in her message she references 25 female prisoners of
conscience in just one of the many prisons in the Islamic Republic the
woman’s word at ebb in prison she points out that at least 15 of these prisoners
qualify for pardon and many of them who have been detained for a long time have
been denied leaves of absence or visits most recently on March 4th Amnesty
International statement indicates that after two trials nasrin Sotoudeh a human
and women’s rights lawyer in Iran was sentenced to 34 years in prison as well
as a hundred and forty-eight lashes her charges include alleged threats to
Iran’s government and encouraging corruption and prostitution suggesting
her charges might be connected to her defense of women’s protesting the
mandatory her job Iran also is not meeting its obligations for equal
treatment of both genders required by international human rights instruments
including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights Iran and the u.s. also are among the
four countries of the world that have not ratified the Convention on
elimination of all forms of discrimination against women of course
women’s human rights violations do not solely originated from deficiencies in
laws but also from social customs and traditions that historically retained
the patriarchal society system and power structures however it is the state’s
responsibility to protect women’s human rights and make every effort through
education media and other mediums to stop abusive and violent traditions and
plan to replace traditional discriminatory patterns with gender
equality norms from a free from domination and violence in terms of
education it is important to point out that in 1975 just four years before the
Revolution fewer than 30 percent of Iranian women were literate in 2015 that
number was over 80 percent nearly the same as the male literacy rate in 1977
the country had 16 universities with a hundred and fifty-four thousand
undergraduate students today Iran has 51 state universities and potentially as
many as 350 for private higher education institutions increasing the number of
students enrolled from 1.3 million in 1999 to 4.7 million in 2014 it is
estimated that women make up between 55 to 60% of higher education will the
growth of number of women in higher education particularly in the West and
South Asia is an indication of younger women striving to improve their social
status and financial independence in Iran and some other muslim-majority
societies attending higher education is a socially acceptable reason to have
presence in the public sphere yet such glowing statistic do not cover up the
complexities of the educational landscape in contemporary Iran even as
vast numbers of women enter into the educational market the data says little
about their motivations or studying or the actual outcomes of their educational
attainments high levels of education in Iran do not guarantee your job and with
these and with the country’s experience seeing record highs levels of
unemployment which is estimated about 40 percent of the Graduate failing to find
a position about graduation this is especially the case for young women were
fading but still persisting cultural norms about a woman’s role being in the
household continues to provide an additional obstacle towards active
participation in the workplace it should be noted that the rate of unemployed
higher educated Iranian women is double the rate of men and Iran perhaps has one
of the biggest gaps between the number of educated women and the rate of
unemployment amongst them younger women and girls in Iran have started to play
an active role in any public arena they are able to be involved in it is only
normal for the young Iranians be interested in darts however as an
aftermath of the Iranian Revolution women singers and performers have been
deemed unfit to perform in public and for non female audiences although women
were able to perform in public prior to the revolution this was not necessary
accepted by cultural norms as appropriate behavior and many performers
might have been called loose women by common community standards
after the Revolution women and girls have worked hard to include themselves
in unique and creative ways working with limitations imposed on them by the
government and tradition patriarchy and regressive gender roles since the
Revolution we have seen an incline in the cultural acceptance of women artists
as serious performers a quick look over performing arts provides beautiful
examples of women working to speak and successfully present themselves as
challengers to the patriarchal view of arts including dance and vocal
performances the limitations placed based on gender and substance has
ignited interest and creativity in ways unseen by many working in some free
environments despite all obstacles iranian women have always worked to
carve their own space and speak with their own voices iranian women have
never been a passive bystander despite all changes and discriminations they
have learned that by accommodating the system while protesting against the
system they can resist and accommodate vehicles the new generation of iranian
girls and women are actively involved in a system of non-violence protests where
they are excluded they come up with other ways to have their voices heard
this is most prevalent in the arts and the struggles of censorship and gender
discrepancies there is critical to realize resistance has many shapes it is
not to negate the existence or the necessity of direct action resistance
that is seen in many cases across communities at its core it is important
to understand that the government by it’s paradoxical gender policies and
gender engineering has tried to show the system of governance in Iran as moderate
and equal based on Sharia law Iranian women who bore the brunt of these
policies neither accepted nor remained silent in response to these efforts
movements such as 1 million signature campaign mothers of Lali Park stop
stoning forever open stadiums white Wednesday’s and many more have been
organized by women inside Iran and in the Diaspora and have received
international recognition the Iranian people continue to be the subject of
discriminatory policies in Iran and here in the u.s. the u.s. Iran relationship
has never been easy most recently the decision to roll back
the sanctions and the ban on people in five Muslim majority societies including
Iran these discriminatory policies have impacted the daily lives of Iranian
people and have created hardship inside Iran added to ongoing labor disputes and
economic hardships in the daily life of the working people the continuous
threats to war has also created insecurities about the safety of our
loved ones inside Iran over the over the years Iranian women inside Iran in the
Diaspora have faced many challenges they collectively have resisted and kept
moving forward however oftentimes a sustainable resistant and a conscious
and organized gender equality movement in collaboration with other social
movements is essential to a winning strategy
movement building comes slowly but surely and what is necessary is our
support and help connecting listening and providing support as requested by
activists on the ground inside Iran after all social advocacy is a fluid
environment who better to recognize needs than those dealing with issues as
they Rize women inside Iran have been at the
forefront of challenging the discriminatory laws and human rights
violations in Iran during the last four decades despite all gender engineering
practices in education employment social protections and public services they
keep moving forward they are today braver than any time in the last four
decades they are at the forefront of social movements demanding their social
economic and political rights holding the people in the position of power
accountable in conclusion it is important to remember that iranian
women’s movement and campaigners inside Iran not only have made strides but they
have also paved the way for the next generation to follow and learn from the
role models who inspired them and have a shared history of struggle the fruits of
the resistance of the previous generation of women activists in Iran
can be seen today in bravery and persistence of the younger generation
who were born and raised in Iran they are brave bright fearless persistent and
demand the right from a position of power in holding the government
accountable the younger Iranian women know they are
the key influencers in the future of Iran they do not adhere to the
patriarchal power structures or accept the discrimination imposed by the people
in the position of power most importantly they do this with conviction
and awareness to make lasting change we need organized movements it is time to
move forward with a clear view forward-looking strategies and reimagine
a future with dignity and right for all to realize that every voice matters and
needs a space to be heard this does not come easy and it is democracy in action
but we are on the road to success Iranian women and girls are moving
forward to build the world they want to live in in diaspora we shall move beyond
our differences build coalitions and collaborate with other social movements
for gender equality and peace the good of the collective should be our focus in
organizing movements and in building a future we like to be a part of I like to
thank you for listening and being a part of this collective effort thank you so much for that insight as
you can see and here it’s so important for each of us to be a player in
contributing and in being part of these movements that so many others have
started without much resources you can also again stay involved by becoming a
member you can volunteer and share your ideas build Network get informed and
inspired you can also follow ic1 on Facebook Instagram and Twitter and also
more information is available on the website so I encourage you to please
give and support these great individuals who are putting their time and effort to
bring us together and do all the wonderful things that are doing we also
want to acknowledge and thank our co-sponsors today your participation is
priceless and much appreciated thank you all so much so important to have
women-owned businesses supporting women initiatives so thank you all I wish I
had more time to read but reading is so important not on a mobile device actual
book so today with us we have several authors presenting their work some of
you have met before but they have brought their latest books so be sure to
visit the author’s table and check them out we have with us miss rosemary Cohen
mass stylish Carrie shada mohammadi knew she motive Maddog
sanity and fetish a bonfire please give him a round of applause and be sure to
check out their latest and greatest thoughts written their books and of
course no celebration is complete just like we began with music we want to
conclude with music and one of the most talented most insightful deep artists
that I’ve had a privilege of knowing virtually for a longest time and
followed her work is here with us with her team we’re
going to perform for us we have the ensemble ready all right so with that I
want to turn it over to the talented artists featuring Shadi Amini who will
be taking us through a musical journey thank you thank you so much
ICWIN for inviting us to this wonderful event thank you so much that was truly
touching and beautiful especially was performed from the heart thank you so
much for the John so I got a few important dates to share with you before
we say goodbye what’s next on ICWIN’s agenda our delegates a went to attend UN
next week it’s happening next week so these lovely young ladies here you saw
here they’ll be there next week community outreach in spring and
equality they Sunday August 25th so please put that on your calendars don’t
forget to follow I see when on social media I do and I make sure make sure if
you post this today’s program make sure you tag so we can share it with our
network as well a few other upcoming events March 12 as OC board supervisor
special edition replacing Todd Spitzer’s position that is now the new District
Attorney of Orange County ballots were mailed to registered voters so please be
sure if you’re in the following areas or counties Irvine cities our vine Anaheim
orange test in Villa Park and your Belinda to participate former
congresswoman Loretta Sanchez is only Democrat on the ballot so hint hint
thank you again for coming out and drive home safe thank you

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