The Iranian Community at Michigan Tech, alongside members of the surrounding community and Michigan Tech faculty, gathered at the Husky Statue on Monday, Sept. 27 to honor Mahsa Amini and the victims of the ongoing protests in Iran.
Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman, died in police custody after being detained by Iran’s morality police for allegedly wearing her hijab improperly. Following Amini’s funeral on Sept. 17, protests have occurred across Iran and the world.
Many in attendance stood with signs with imagery depicting hashtags including #mahsa_amini, #Hadis_Najafi, and #FreeIran. Hadis Najafi was a victim of the protests following Amini’s death.
K.K, a representative for the Iranian Community at Michigan Tech, encouraged the use of the hashtags, “the government has shut down the internet, so it’s more important than ever to use the power of social media,”
The internet shutdown has prevented many from contacting their family members, including event attendee Arman T., a Michigan Tech Ph.D. candidate. “We used to communicate with our families through social media such as WhatsApp. The Internet is the only tool that protesters have to express their frustrations and anger about the incident and the freedom in Iran,” Arman said in a follow-up.
For Arman, this most recent internet shut-off is reminiscent of the almost complete internet blackout that occurred in the country in 2019, during which many hundreds of Iranians were killed.
Before the moment of silence, K.K spoke to the crowd, stating that the “Iranian Community at Michigan Tech will stand with Iranian women, joining the fight for freedom, from more than 6,000 miles away.”
A display of the signs, as well as copies of K.K’s speech, were moved to the J. Robert Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie Library front lobby.
This article has been edited to protect the identity of the individuals involved.