Speeches "Honoring Women. Life. Freedom" in New York City - September 14, 2023

On September 14, in collaboration with Empower Women Media and NUFDI, we hosted the "Honoring Women. Life. Freedom." event in New York City.

Some highlights of the speeches delivered on that memorable day.

IRAN’S citizens know more than any other that these mullahs in Tehran and Qom have HIJACKED religion.

THEIR rule does not comport with ancient Islam as much as it is a toxic brew of political ideologies that are only as old as the last century. The “Supreme Leader,” and his henchman – like his predecessor – do not worship God. They worship themselves. They worship their own power -- power they use to to steal, to kill, and to destroy.

Those words…to steal, to kill, and to destroy….have special meaning to Christians because they are the words that Jesus used in the Gospel of John to describe SATAN.

Read the entire speech "REMARKS TO HONOR MAHSA AMINI AND ALL THOSE LIKE HER"

Rev. Johnnie Moore
Two-Time
Commissioner,
USCIRF. President,
Congress of Christian
Leaders

We’re here to startle the United Nations, government officials, nonprofit professionals, faith leaders, and all people in the United States and around the world out of their slumber, drawing attention to the millions of people, led by young women, who have taken to the streets of Iran - risking their lives every single day as they fight for freedom, for safety, for equity.

We must not stay silent. We must not look the other way. We must not and cannot allow murdering women for noncompliance with extreme laws to be normalized. Not now. Not ever. Normalization justifies and furthers oppression.

And that’s why I’m here today speaking on behalf of National Council of Jewish Women, a recognized United Nations NGO that does not typically engage on issues outside of the United States and Israel. Because the women in Iran are asking ALL OF US to see their fight for justice and join in solidarity. We felt compelled to be here to speak out with them.

Jews know all too well from our own history that SILENCE IS COMPLICITY.

Read the entire speech "UNITED NATIONS REMARKS"

Sheila Katz
CEO, National Council
of Jewish Women
 
 

Let me put it another way. What I am suggesting is that the chant “Women, Life Freedom,” while it sounds like a group of Gen Z Iranians embracing progressive western values, the reason that it has traction amongst Iranians of all ages and from all walks of life is because it is an instinctive drive toward healing and cultural restoration that involves a return to indigenous Iranian values.

I may be able to see this better than most not only because of my training, but also, because I am one of the very few remaining Zoroastrian Iranians – Zartoshti’s—that represent these indigenous virtues. Let me share how Woman, Life, Freedom represents indigenous values.

Let’s start with Woman-Zan.

Read the entire speech "ZAN, ZENDEGI, AZADI,... ZAMIN (WOMAN, LIFE, FREEDOM,...EARTH): A NEW MANIFESTO ROOTED IN VALUES INDIGENOUS TO IRAN"

Dr. Sousan Abadian
Author, Generative
Cultural Renewal
 
 

In May of this year, PEN America presented its PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award to Narges Mohammadi – who has endured imprisonment for the majority of the past decade and been a target of the Iranian government for the last three for her unrelenting advocacy on behalf of women, political prisoners, and ethnic minorities.

And yet, the last year has been marked by countless instances of Iranian women courageously choosing to stand for freedom again and again – even when the costs amount to imprisonment, torture, death...

In their examples, we recognize the quality and momentum of the stories etched in the annals of history. This is that probable inflection point – where, having recognized what freedom should look like, people take to the streets, topple the tyrant, and make freedom their own.

Our role, while simpler, is no less vital. Our organizations must remain unwavering guardians for free expression and the rights that underpin it. We must engender solidarity for the women and people of Iran, shining a light on abuses and holding power to account. And we must support – through all available means – the strengthening of Iranian independent civil institutions that have made way for this movement.

Read the entire speech "SUZANNE NOSSEL AT EVENT WOMAN. LIFE. FREEDOM."

Suzanne Nossel
CEO, PEN America
 
 
 

There is power in these actions – not just for what is happening within Iran to its people, but to the rest of us who understand the vital importance of acting with solidarity.

We need to raise our voices, use our free expression, increase awareness, and make a better world for all.

The rights of women are universal. They belong to all of us.

In the tragic events last year and throughout the movement that followed, I heard the same sentiments and felt the same passion.

We are here to reflect and remember Mahsa. We are here to gain strength from each other as we try to build a way forward when so much tragedy has happened in the year since her death.



Let us be the best of humanity together.

Read the entire speech "ZAN, ZENDEGI, AZADI,... ZAMIN (WOMAN, LIFE, FREEDOM,...EARTH): A NEW MANIFESTO ROOTED IN VALUES INDIGENOUS TO IRAN"

Farah Pandith
First Special Representative
to Muslim Communities
US Department of State

Mahsa Amini’s murder however served as a catalyst for change.

It awakened the Iranian people to the inherent flaws of their so-called “justice” system.

People realize that they are not safe unless all are safe.

In the face of adversity, countless individuals took to the streets, knowing the risks that awaited them.

They protested because they understood that freedom and dignity outweighed everything else.

Today Iranian women walk without their hijabs, not because they are allowed or that as the propaganda machine reported, the morality police has been dismantled.

Read the entire speech "MAHSA AMINI: A CATALYST FOR CHANGE"

Marjan Keypour
Founder Stop Femicide Iran
 
 
 

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