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Stand with Iranian Students to Stop Female Violence in Iran.

Protests have been going on in Iran for almost a month. They escalated following the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman of Kurdish origin, who was arrested by the morality police for violating the country’s strict dress code and died in custody.  Masha Amini, travelling with her family from Saqqez to Tehran, was arrested by the morality police and then taken to the hospital a few hours later. After some time, the hospital reported that she died due to brain death, according to another version – “as a result of a heart attack.”

The brutal beating of the detainee by police officers resulted in a surge of violence against the morale police officers. Many foreign observers called these demonstrations the largest since the 2009 election protest. The protests have erupted in many cities. Protesters call for justice and criticize the current regime with the rallying cry “Women, life and liberty.” Women and students have been prominent in the demonstrations across the country despite Iran’s internet censorship and violent crackdown on protests by police, resulting in numerous deaths and arrests.

Most foreign experts note that deep resentment on the part of Iranians has been building up for months, especially among students and young Iranians, as a response to repression by the political leadership against the females in Iran, as well as economic problems, in particular, rising food prices, economic uncertainty. In recent years, this has added to a chain of discontent over corruption and poor governance. The Iranian government’s response to the protests has been using force, violence, internet shutdowns, and threats and arrests of protesters, including public figures, artists and athletes.   

Here are a few ways how you can stand with Iranian students and support Iranian females to change the dictatorial and oppressive regime:


  • The Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) does valuable work engaging with the local community and researching human rights violations happening in Iran to ensure that cases are shared and reported on. The Center researches and documents human rights violations throughout Iran, relying on primary sources and our extensive network within Iranian civil society to investigate and report on cases and issues of pressing concern. Their work covers areas such as freedom of expression, the right to protest, internet freedom, due process and fair trials, political prisoners, women’s and children’s rights, labor issues and minority rights You can contribute here.
  • The Abdorrahman Boroumand Center for Human Rights in Iran similarly documents human rights violations in Iran, while also helping victims of these violations share their story in both Farsi and English. The Center believes that promoting human rights awareness through education and the dissemination of information is a necessary prerequisite for the establishment of a stable democracy in Iran. You can support their work here.
  • Other options for donations include United for Iran, which uses technology to empower Iranians, and Human Rights Watch, which works to protect the most vulnerable global communities, including refugees, wartime civilians and children. You can also donate to Scholars at Risk an international network of institutions and individuals whose mission it is to protect scholars and promote academic freedom. Donations are accepted here

Create and sign a petition:

  • FPSE Human Rights and International Solidarity Committee asking human rights activists in universities across Canada to raise awareness about protests in Iran. Here is an example of the petition that can be circulated on campuses: “The recent violent attacks on university campuses and schools, and the arrest and detention of university students are an abhorrent violation of human rights and the sacred right of students to protest. We believe that the university administration, the government, and the ministry responsible for higher education have the duty to protect the life and safety of students on university campuses and to defend their right to protest. We strongly condemn the brutal treatment of protestors and demand the immediate and unconditional release of students arrested and detained. We demand that perpetrators of these violent attacks be brought to justice 
  • Another petitions by Change.org is urging leaders of democratic countries to act, you can sign it here and here. You can also sign a petition circulated by Amnesty International
  • You can draft a letter to your elected representatives from the local university community using a template shared online

Get updates and involve in political action

  • Following social media accounts to stay current on upcoming demonstrations can help. Middle East Matters on Instagram has been strictly posting where and when protests in support of Iran are being held globally. If you can’t attend a protest yourself, spreading the message by sharing or sending posts can help spread the word.
  • You can organize protests similar to the one in Kelowna, BC.

Please share your ideas on how you stand with Iranian students with Dr. Oleksandr (Sasha) Kondrashov, and I will add them to the post okondrashov@tru.ca

Kamloops Stand with Ukraine and More: Municipal Election Questionnaire

Dr. Oleksandr (Sasha) Kondrashov

October 15th, 2022, is when every eligible Kamloopsian can share their voice and vote at the Municipal elections. This year I decided to apply the skills I teach my social policy students and ask a few questions to all the candidates and share them with local stand with Ukraine and Facebook communities in Kamloops

I am grateful to Mukwa Musayett Shelly Johnson for the suggestion of adding questions that focus on TRC and NIMMWG, and I modified a few questions that social work students are asked to respond to when they apply to TRU as part of this year’s municipal election questionnaire:

·        The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) submitted its final report in December 2015. What does reconciliation mean to you in light of your social location? What has been your engagement with reconciliation to date, and how do you plan to engage when being elected?

·        The TRC included 94 Calls to Action. Identify one of the 94 Calls to Action and explain its significance to your future municipal leadership. What gaps will you need to address in your educational experience to date while being elected to respond to the selected Call to Action?

·        National inquiry into Murdered and Missing Women and Girls identified 231 Calls to Justice. Identify one of the 231 Calls to Justice and explain its significance to your future municipal leadership. What gaps will you need to address in your educational experience to date while being elected to respond to the selected Call to Justice?

Here is the rest of the questions I asked candidates for mayor and city councillors:

·        How do you plan to #standwithUkraine once elected?

·        Will the City of Kamloops allow diaspora communities to raise National flags at the city hall, similarly to Ottawa and Winnipeg,  on Independence Day and other significant holidays to honour their cultural heritage?

·        Will you support a sister city or a twin town relationship creation between Kamloops and Cherkasy, Ukraine, to promote cultural ties?

·        Do you plan to create library social work positions in Kamloops, similar to other municipalities in Canada?

 The following mayor candidates responded to the questionnaire: Sadie Hunter and Arjun Singh. One person can be elected as a mayor.

The councillors who responded are Dale Bass, Nancy Bepple, George Dorsch, Mac Gordon, Stephen Karpuk, Daphene Nelson, Katie Neustaeter, Jesse Ritcey, and Randy Sunderman. Eight Councillors will be elected 

The questions that candidates for School Trustees have been asked to answer include the following:

·        Do you know the ratio of social workers to students for elementary and secondary students? What are the criteria for being a social worker in School District No. 73 (Kamloops-Thompson)?

·        What are supports in place in School District No. 73 (Kamloops-Thompson) for newcomer children and families? How will you support newcomers to Kamloops in accessing elementary and secondary education?

·        What is the School District No. 73 (Kamloops-Thompson) policy around bullying and harassment? What do you think of that policy? Does it adequately address the issue?

 Three candidates have responded: Marian Anderberg, Shahriar Behmanesh, Cole Hickson and Jo Kang. Five trustees can be elected.

I fully endorse all the candidates that voiced their support and responded to the Questionnaire for their dedication to Kamloops residents and willingness to share their views in public.

I am thankful to all the candidates who took the needed time and responded to the questions, allowing residents of Kamloops to compare the answers. I compiled the table with all the answers available online https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1t91iQD7mSB1lAKsulPjJl5DtKCT_McuAteTfRv6Y1po/edit?usp=sharing

I encourage everyone to review all answers and make an informed decision on October 15th, 2022.

On Wednesday night, I participated in advance voting and translated all the answers to Mama as it was her first municipal election in Canada. We together came to McArthur Island and made our choices based on the answers we received. It was a memorable experience, and thank you again to all who stand with Ukraine and all the candidates who voiced their solidarity and support.