Iranian woman’s death inspires Greenfield standout in solidarity

  • Community members gather on the Greenfield Common on Saturday to stand in solidarity with the women of Iran. Contributed Photo

  • Community members gather on the Greenfield Common on Saturday to stand in solidarity with the women of Iran. Contributed Photo

Staff Writer
Published: 10/3/2022 3:21:05 PM

GREENFIELD — Following the death of an Iranian woman last month at the hands of the nation’s so-called morality police, thousands of people across the world — including locally — held demonstrations in solidarity.

Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman, was detained by Iran’s morality police — a task force with all the powers of a law enforcement agency — in the capital of Tehran for allegedly not adhering to Iran’s strict Islamic dress code, according to the Associated Press. Amini reportedly collapsed and died three days later. Iranian police have denied mistreating her, and authorities are investigating the incident.

Over the last two weeks, protesters have denounced Iranian leadership, and countries such as the United States have called for an end to the Islamic Republic’s “systemic persecution of women.”

Joining in the global act of solidarity were a handful of women on the Greenfield Common Saturday morning.

“Violence and oppression against women have got to stop,” said Greenfield resident Annie Hassett, who organized the group that took to the common over the weekend. “That’s the main reason I was standing out there. Violence and oppression of women have got to stop. … I’m in unity with all women who stand for that.”

Hassett said she heard about what happened to Amini in Iran, and felt compelled to do something.

“All women, wherever they are in the world, need to stand with each other,” she said.

In a spontaneous decision, she called a few close friends and invited them to join her for a standout in solidarity.

“I had an inclination myself, even before Annie called me, that I wanted to stand with those women,” said Greenfield resident Sandra Boston. “They’re risking their lives for freedom, their dignity and their right to choose. It’s the same fight we’re fighting in our community. It seems like women everywhere are being confronted with this need to control women.”

In particular, she was referring to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in June to overturn Roe v. Wade, the case that recognized a constitutional right to abortion.

“We’ve become a beacon of light for … human rights and freedom,” Boston said. “That’s why so many people want to come here, and yet we’re taking away the women’s right to choose. It’s the same with the head covering.

“It’s a critical time for women’s freedom all over the world, including this country,” she continued.

Kate Mason, who also attended Saturday’s standout, called Iranian protesters “bold and brave” for stepping out.

“I wanted to stand for women everywhere,” she said.

Mason emphasized the weekend’s show of support was for women and their bodily autonomy. It wasn’t a demonstration against women who wear hijabs, or head coverings, she clarified.

“It wasn’t … anti-Muslim,” she said. “I think it’s about support for women to be able to speak for their autonomy, to speak for their choices. Whether it’s Roe v. Wade or abortion rights or hijabs, I think women need to have a voice.”

Reporter Mary Byrne can be reached at mbyrne@recorder.com or 413-930-4429. Twitter: @MaryEByrne.


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