“Our community is currently being inundated with a stream of horrifically violent imagery, heartbreaking reports, losses, and a terrifying lack of communication with family members,” says Ariella Abrams, a Jewish Iranian-American and San Fernando Valley resident who works in sync licensing. Abrams has worked hard for her success, but she never forgets where she came from, and last week she decided to do something about the injustices being endured by Iranian women (and men).
“My family fled during the Iranian revolution in ’79 to escape persecution and I was lucky enough to be born and raised here,” she tells LA Weekly. “However, I’ve always walked a line between the two cultures and am so proud to embrace my heritage, its art, its cuisine, its heart. It’s heartbreaking to see the barrage of injustices that my people are experiencing and, being a part of the Iranian diaspora, I knew it was my job to share the voices of Iran’s revolution, empowering them to continue, and in turn weakening the hold of the Islamic Regime. The women of Iran fighting against the IR are the bravest people on the planet, it’s so important that I do my part to support them.”
Abrams organized an L.A. event — called “Women-Life-Freedom”– in solidarity with the revolutionaries fighting for their lives in Iran. The Iranian community in Los Angeles came together at Zebulon to find connection, eat, dance and raise funds for The Center for Human Rights– an independent non profit organization working to protect and promote humane treatment for the people of Iran. DJs Saffron, Omid Walizadeh and one of our local favorites, DJ Rose Knows, played music throughout the evening with sounds spanning all of the regions affected. Homa L.A. served a menu filled with Iranian dishes and Iranian artists Dona Arbabzadeh and Forouzan Safari provided powerful visuals for the occasion.
“Inspired by the strength and bravery of our brothers and sisters fighting in Iran, we had to renew our spirits by coming together in solidarity,” Abrams says. “For the first time in 40 years we’re feeling hope that the country can return to its former glory. I found myself in a unique position where I was able to set a foundation and get an event off the ground to promote this connectivity amongst the Iranian community in L.A. and its allies. It was very much a group effort. It is essential that we all continue amplifying the voices of those fighting against the Islamic Regime, especially as they enter their second month of battle, a battle the likes of which are completely unprecedented.”
The conflicts in Iran are not new, but the plight of Iranian women has come into the spotlight recently. The death of 22-year-old Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini –who was arrested for breaking the country’s law that requires women to cover their hair with a headscarf and later died while in police custody– has sparked a fight in the streets, with women and girls in Iran removing their headscarves as a form of protest. At least 1,000 people have now been charged for their involvement in the protests.
So what can we do here to help? Abrams says, “Don’t turn away from the headlines and the videos because people are risking their lives to get them out into the world. Reshare everything.”
She also encourages Americans to download proxies like Snowflake to help the people of Iran fight censorship and keep an eye on Human Rights Watch, as well as IG accounts “who’ve done an amazing job of keeping us informed.” Some of these are embedded below.
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