Note: The individuals quoted have been left anonymous for their safety.

On Thursday, Sept. 22, members of the Iranian community gathered in the College of Health and Human Services & College of Education Plaza to mourn the murder of Mahsa Zheena Amini at the hand of Iran’s morality police.

“This is important to me because that could have been my sister. That could have been my cousin. It could have been my aunt. [Mahsa’s] just like my sister–what’s the difference. She’s one of us and that means we share the same blood. It doesn’t matter who it is. That’s why it is important to me and important to be here and support her because she didn’t deserve this,” Elnaz (Iranian woman) said.

Individuals attending the gathering came from Charlotte, the greater North Carolina, as well as South Carolina.

“I am here because if one woman doesn’t have freedom in Iran, that means I don’t have freedom here. Yes I’m here and I am free to not wear a hijab, but the fact that there is a struggle there hurts me. It doesn’t matter where we are, we all feel the same pain. I drove two hours to come here and show my support for my people. My people are important to me. Those in Iran should have good lives and be free to choose whether or not they want to wear a hijab,” Farnaz (Iranian woman) said.

Non-Iranians also appeared at the gathering and showed their support for the Iranian people.

“I think what happened to Mahsa is much more than an issue of having a hijab on. It’s more about knowing humanity and having morals. It is a worldwide issue. It is the 21st century, and if we’re still going to have people doing things like this, the world will not progress anywhere. It’s a lesson for a lot of people,” Izhan (Pakistani male) said.