On Sept. 16th, 2022, an Iranian woman named Mahsa Amini died in a hospital in Tehran, Iran after she was arrested for allegedly not wearing a hijab correctly.
The 22-year-old passed away from what police forces called a “sudden heart attack” but evidence suggests she died from police brutality.
Protests broke out in Tehran and across Iran after her death. “We are witnessing a nationwide reaction, really like a George Floyd moment for the national conscience that can no longer bear the violence and the logic of the ruling class in killing ordinary citizens,” Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of the Center for Human Rights in Iran, told the New York Times.
Around the world, activists, celebrities, influencers and politicians are speaking up and using their platforms to bring attention to these human rights violations.
Influencers Raising Awareness of the Situation in Iran
Social media is more powerful than ever before. Platforms such as TikTok, Instagram and Twitter have the ability to amplify voices. Influencers are using their platforms to create awareness, encourage others to join the fight and support the women of Iran.
If you’re interested in learning more about the situation in Iran, here are three Iranian influencers you need to follow right now.
1. Leyla Milani-Khoshbin
This Iranian-Canadian-American is using her platform of 1.7 million Instagram followers to speak out on her own personal experiences in Iran. Leyla Milani-Khoshbin, an actress, model, entrepreneur and TV host, recently shared a childhood photo of herself attending grade school in Iran.
“I was no more than seven or eight years old. Forced to conform, forced to cover my hair. Forced to pray. At 7 or 8 years old, little girls shouldn’t be thinking about whether their hair will attract the wrong male attention. Sadly, this is the reality for all the girls in Iran and of course all women and it’s just one example of oppression,” read the Instagram post caption.
Milani is urging her non-Iranian followers to pay attention to the injustices occurring in Iran. She says the future of her country is in the hands of women.
“As an Iranian-Canadian-American, I have to do everything I can to help amplify the voices of my own people in hope that good does indeed prevail against evil,” she wrote in another caption.
2. Manny Khoshbin
Manny Khosbhin, who is the husband of Leyal Milani, has been sharing his own experiences of immigrating from Iran to the United States. The rags-to-riches entrepreneur and real estate investor moved to the U.S. at 14 years old without a penny to his name. He went from working any job he could find and living in his car, to becoming a successful entrepreneur who is now worth $250 million.
He says his success has come from the freedom he’s experienced in America. He posted on Instagram: “It’s been a long journey since 1985, but I’m grateful for the freedoms I gained by coming to the U.S. I dream that one day Iran will share our same freedoms. #nevergiveup.”
With close to 3 million Instagram followers, Khosbhin is posting weekly to keep his followers updated on the situation in Iran. Most recently, he shared a photo of a sculpture created by artist Tim Fu, which was inspired by the courage of Iranian women.
This TikToker living in Toronto who posts under the handle “Manely.jp” is encouraging her thousands of followers to stand up and speak out against injustice in Iran.
She posted a video to TikTok with the caption “freedom is all we are asking for.” In the video, she writes: “I am a woman. Get used to seeing my hair without a hijab. If you decide to cover your hair or body, I respect your decision. If I don’t want to cover mine, I expect you to respect my decision.”
Using her platform to rally together supporters, she’s been showing footage of thousands of Torontonians coming together and fighting for women’s rights.
Lead image credit: Photo by G. Lombardo/Adobe Stock