Iranian-Americans on Long Island show support for native residents demanding change

Iranian-Americans on Long Island recently launched peaceful campaigns to show their support and solidarity with people in their home country who are now fighting for change.

In Iran, nationwide protests, demonstrations and uprisings demand institutional reform after the September 16 death of 22-year-old Mahsa (Zhina) Amini, who was arrested by ‘morality police’ for not wearing a head covering. hijab as required by the government.
Nowhere has the gravity of the situation been better understood than on the Great Neck Peninsula, where a significant portion of Long Island’s more than 15,000 Iranian-Americans reside.

There, members of the Iranian-American community gathered to hold rallies and raise funds for human rights organizations.

In Great Neck, Mayor Dr. Pedram Bral, an Iranian-American, was among the organizers of a village rally on October 9, when hundreds of participants joined in what has become a global call: “Women, Life, Freedom”.

Protests in Iran

  • Clashes between Iranian security forces and protesters have resulted in the deaths of nearly three dozen civilians, with more than 200 injured, according to Al-Jazeera.

  • The rallying cry “Women, Life, Freedom” began as a popular slogan of the Kurdish independence movement before being embraced by protesters around the world.

  • In French, the slogan was adopted as follows: “Femme, Vie, Liberté”. Or, Woman, Life, Freedom.

  • Officials estimate that more than 15,000 Iranian Americans, or Iranians, will call Long Island home in 2022. Of these, census data showed a Persian population of 2,485 in Great Neck, 2,018 in Kings Point and 360 at Saddle Rock.

And groups like the Iranian-American Jewish Federation of New York, based in Great Neck, and the Iranian-American Society of New York, Inc., based in Greenvale, have shown support for the Iranian protesters.

Although an apolitical nonprofit, the Iranian American Society has announced on its website that it is donating a portion of net proceeds from a recent Hunter College event to Amnesty. International with the aim of “condemning the violations of human rights”, in particular in Iran. A message on their website reads: “Like all other Iranians, we share your grief. Our thoughts and prayers have always been with the Iranian people.

“I hope in Iran they recognize that they have support around the world, but especially here in America,” State Senator Anna M. Kaplan (D-North Hills) said this week about of these protesters. “That we see them, that we stand by them, that we support them.”

Born Anna Monahemi in Tabriz, an ancient Silk Road city and capital of East Azerbaijan province in a region of northern Iran said to be home to the biblical Garden of Eden, Kaplan arrived in the United States when she was a young girl – her parents sent her here alone after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Arriving in Brooklyn as part of an international effort to rescue Jewish children from Iran, Kaplan was sent to live with a foster family in Chicago, then reunited with her family in Queens — after being granted political asylum .

“I was 13 when the extreme extreme took over our communities and our country,” Kaplan said. “It’s really sad that over 40 years later they’re still in power… Women, I’m really in awe of women in Iran. I’m just in awe. So many of my [district] residents, so many women last week in Great Neck, they joined in to show their support… Never underestimate the Persian woman.

Asked about recent battles in the US over abortion and women’s rights, Kaplan said that while they are different issues, the fights here and in Iran are ultimately about ‘women’s control’. . This is why it is important that local groups continue to support the protests in Iran, she said.

“It’s nice to stand on the right side of the picture,” she said. “People’s rights, whether it’s here or 10,000 miles away, that’s important. Those are separate issues, yes. But I can’t help but think it’s always about controlling women . It’s disheartening to see… But women’s rights, women’s freedoms, are human freedom. Moms, sisters, nieces. We’re all in this together.”

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