The website of the Student Education Reporter Program.

Sacramento School Beat

Sacramento School Beat

Sacramento School Beat


Will Artificial Intelligence improve or damage student learning?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Persecution and murder of 10 Bahá’í women in Iran sparks OurStoryIsOne campaign 40 years later

An artistic display honoring the 10 Bahá’í women who were murdered. The noose with hands delicately grasping it refers to Mona Mahmudnizhads vow to kiss the rope that would hang her.
Olivia Gibson
An artistic display honoring the 10 Bahá’í women who were murdered. The noose with hands delicately grasping it refers to Mona Mahmudnizhad’s vow to kiss the rope that would hang her.

The Iranian government hanged 10 Bahá’í women on June 18, 1983 after months of imprisonment for refusing to renounce their faith. Forty years later, the #OurStoryIsOne international campaign, which advocates for the rights of all women in Iran, has gained massive amounts of support globally and widespread media exposure. 

The Elk Grove Bahá’í Faith Community hosted a program on Sept. 18, honoring not only the lives of the 10 women who were murdered for their beliefs, but all women currently being oppressed in Iran. Attended by many people diverse in age, ethnicities and gender, the event featured a variety of emotional personal stories and musical performances. 

Diane Garga, the communications and media coordinator for the Elk Grove Bahá’í community, was proud to take part in the event. 

“We could see ourselves as one little drop,” Garga said. “But the moment that little drop of water goes into the ocean, it becomes the ocean. So it loses itself to the bigger, wider more powerful. So we have to realize that we should not be discouraged, but more motivated to know every little step we take will make a difference.”

Story continues below advertisement

Seventeen-year-old Mona Mahmudnizhad was the youngest of the 1983 victims, and she vowed to kiss the rope that would soon hang her before putting it around her own neck. 

“As a Bahá’í, we believe in community so to deal with violence is not our approach.” Garga said. “That’s what the founder of the Bahá’í faith believed, that the foremost virtue is justice as well as truthfulness. His message was that it’s time to unify what’s across all of the world and that justice is the most critical virtue we practice.”

Pari Ahmadi was also imprisoned in Iran during this time for being a Bahá’í. Her daughter, a coordinator of the event and MC, Peghah Ahmadi, recounted her experience in captivity alongside her mother and being forced to listen to the torture endured by those around her.

“Equality,” Peghah Ahmadi said. “All we are asking for is equality and freedom for all women. Everywhere, honestly. This isn’t just happening in Iran. It’s happening everywhere.”

According to Garga, the government in Iran is watching.

“Iran keeps an eye on how it’s being perceived by the world,” Garga said. “And so our efforts are to increase the visibility of this to shed light and to let the world know and to let Iran know that we are watching. (Those) women stand on the shoulders of these women and … we support them and respect them and what they’re going through.”

The Elk Grove event coincided with the one-year anniversary of the death of Masha Amini, who died while being imprisoned for refusing to abide by Iran’s strict dress code. Ahmadi said it’s important for these acts to be talked about and shared with the world.

“By raising awareness,” Ahmadi said, “anywhere in the world, any city no matter how small or big, has been letting people know what is happening on the other side of the world (and) raises a lot of awareness. And I think just knowing about things like this is half of it. Doing stuff about it is the other half.” 

The #OurStoryIsOne campaign has invited all forms of support to be shared, including original songs, social media posts and art. Not only has the campaign impacted the fight for those in Iran, it also has hit close to home – including in Elk Grove.

The vice mayor Of Elk Grove, Kevin Spees, along with city council member Rob Brewer, attended the program. They shared a note from Mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen and their individual thoughts. This included remarking that it is important to fight for women’s rights not only around the world, but also locally.

“The council  is saying that they are dedicated and that they will support women in our community,” Garga said. “It is transformative. It means that men are paying attention.”

The #OurStoryIsOne campaign works closely with Congress, meeting with senators and members of the House of Representatives to educate and push for resolutions about what is happening in Iran. Because the women in Iran are unable to outwardly speak up against their confinements, “we are their voice,” Ahmadi said.

Ahmadi and Garga said it was an honor to advocate for the “noble women” fighting against their oppression.

“No one can ever take (their nobility) away because they were born with it,” Garga said. “(And despite) whatever injustice or oppression they have felt, not all of humanity looks at them like they are undeserving. They are not alone.”

“It’s an honor to just raise your voice for them and let the world know what our history has held,” Ahmadi said. “And plus the fact that I think by doing this I feel like I’ve achieved something. Hang in there, the whole world is fighting for you.”

The #OurStoryIsOne campaign will continue to take place until 2024, and aims to help all women who are suffering from gender inequality. 

“Why do we do this?” Ahmadi said in her opening remarks. “Because our story is truly one.”

An artistic display honoring the ten Bahá’í women who were murdered. The noose with hands delicately grasping it refers to Mona Mahmudnizhad’s vow to kiss the rope that would hang her.

Valley Hi-North Laguna Public Library, where the event was held.


View Comments (2)
Donate to Sacramento School Beat
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Student Education Reporter program. Your contribution will allow us to hire more student journalists to cover education in the Sacramento region.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Olivia Gibson
Olivia Gibson, Reporter
I am currently a junior at Pleasant Grove High School. I really enjoy listening to music and writing is something im really passionate about.
Donate to Sacramento School Beat
Our Goal

Comments (2)

All Sacramento School Beat Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • D

    Diane GargaDec 11, 2023 at 3:05 pm

    Sending a special “Thank you” to Ms. Olivia Gibson for her wonderful report on Elk Grove Baha’i Faith Community’s #OurStoryIsOne event held on September 16.
    Thank you, Olivia for attending the event in response to our media Press Release and writing such a thorough and enlightening article that captured the purpose of the #OurStoryIsOne global campaign and most of all, helped heighten public awareness and advocacy for women’s rights locally and globally. With deep appreciation, Diane Garga, Event Media and Communication Coordinator, Elk Grove Baha’i Community

  • E

    Ellie SnellDec 11, 2023 at 12:03 pm

    Thank you so much dear Olivia for sharing our story, #OurStoryIsOne. I wish you continuous success and growth in your education, career, family and community. Keep shining the beautiful bright light of your spirit on all who cross your path.
    Ellie Snell