Wednesday, February 27, 2013

In celebration of International Women’s Day

A Report on International Women’s Day in Los Angeles

On Sunday March 10th, 2013 Southern California celebrated International Women’s Day. Five organizations from different nationalities such as Iranians, Afghans, and Americans, held a collaborative conference to commemorate this day. The program was held in Greater LA, city of Santa Monica in Martin Luther King Jr. Auditorium. The organizations that were involved and sponsored the event were: Afghan Women’s Association of Southern California (AWASC), Supporters of " Laleh Park Mothers "/ Los Angeles- Valley, Society for Human Rights in Iran/ S.CA, Society for Democracy in Iran- S.CA, Union for Advancement of Secular Democracy in Iran- Los Angeles. Due to the importance of the event the UNA- USA / San Fernando Valley and UN Women- USNC Greater LA Chapter, Kurdish-American Committee for Democracy and Human rights in Iran, and International Health & Epidemiology Research Center supported the program and some sent a message of support to be read to the audience.

The organizer committee worked months in advance to hold this event and was able to invite valuable speakers who were able to bring awareness through their scholarly work or professional work.

The information desk hosted UNA-USA-SV chapter’s brochures, CDs for Fares Shafinory, and signs on tables in support of Women political prisoners in Iran by Supporters of Mothers of Laleh –Valley with leadership of Ms. Sofia Sedighp and other groups such as CodePink, who were available to encourage people to use of their stickers against war.

People were welcomed by refreshments and pastries, which were prepared by Afghan Women’s Association of Southern California.

Please see the photos and report prepared by Mourning Mothers’s bolg and VOKRadio.
A member of this campaign, Ms. Katayon Azimi, who is an Iranian artist made the logo for this event. Please see the logo at the end.

The program started on time and the hall was full of people who cared about equality between men and women. Soraya Fallah, a Kurdish/Iranian/American activist and researcher, and her colleague Fazlia Seraj, an Afghanian/American activist, were MC and moderator for each section of the program.
Soraya started with an introduction and message from Michelle Bachelet United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women at the International Women’s Day Commemorative Event at the United Nations.8 March 2013.
(Please read her remarks at the end of this report.)

Keynote speaker for Afghan Women Association of SC, Ms. Fazlia Seraj, gave her remarks about violence in Afghanistan and around the world against women.

The second speaker was Dr. Nayereh Tohidi, Professor and former Chair of GWS & Director of MES, CSUN. Dr. Tohidi was introduced by Soraya Fallah .
Please read about Dr. Tohidi at the end of this report
Dr. Tohidi explained in detail the situation of women in Islamic countries under Shari law, and talked about CEDAW (Convention of Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women). She delivered her speech in English.
Mrs. Raihana Niazi, JD Attorney-At-Law, introduced by Fazlia Serag. She mostly talked about violence with accurate statistics. She became emotional about the issue and ended her speech with a poem by her sister who is a poet in Dari.
In support of speakers’ talks, a song was played. This song was made in support ofa project by Amnesty International and Broumand Foundation, against Capital Punishment in Iran. The song's name is “From Beneath Hundred Stones" is against stoning in Iran. This song refers to Shari’a law in Iran and other Muslim countries, which still practice the horrific and barbaric form of capital punishment. This song was made by Soraya Fallah and Omeed Rafizadeh
Please see the song below
Some local and international Media covered this event:
Delbar Tavakoli, reporter from Radio France, a member of Radio Voice of Kurdish/American, and camera for supporters of mothers of Laleh-Valley were all present to cover the event.
The second part of the program started with introducing a music group: Ms. Shahrzad Sepanlou & Fared Shafinury .The performance was very touching and people cheered for the songs they sang.
Shahrzad mentioned that her mother is one of the most remarkable women. She said she could not be available to read a poem at the event but she is one of the most dedicated mothers. Please see about them below

Another speaker Ms. Maliha Sarwari from Afghan Women’s Association of Southern California was introduced by Ms. Seraj and talked about the achievement and highlights of Afghanian women throughout history and Executive Director Women’s Voices Now.
Ms. Heidi Basch briefly talked about organization’s message and mission and invited attendees to join the organization. She mentioned that she has many projects on Arab women’s right and Kurdish women’s rights in the Middle East and would like to involve other people.
The last group to go up was a cheering group called “The KI” from UNWomen-USC-Greater LA chapter. The leader of this group is Roxie Sakura, a Persian-Japanese-American artist. Please see about them below:

Slide show
An inspiring message was sent from Cathy Hilman
See it

Soraya Fallah’s introduction to the program :
در طول بیست سال گذشته ما شاهد دستاوردهای مهم در تضمین بهره وری زنان از لذت حقوق مساوی با مردان هستیم. کنوانسیون محو همه اشکال تبعیض علیه زنان (سیدا)،برنامه کنفرانس بین لامللی زنان و برنامه عمل کنفرانس بین المللی جمعیت و توسعه دست به اقدامات کلیدی زده اند. پلتفرم پکن و قطعنامه 1325 شورای امنیت سازمان ملل نقطه عطفی برای صلح و امنیت زنان محسوب می شوند. و آخرین دستاورد گرانبهای ما امضای (واوا) توسط اوباما است. ما در یک نقطه اوج تاریخی هستیم. پیام میشل باچلت برای هشت مارچ این است :آنچه ما به میلیونها زن مبارز در سراس جهان مدیونیم این است که دیگر به عقب برنمی گردیم و باید به جلو حرکت کنیم.

During the past 20 years, we have witnessed critical gains in ensuring that women enjoy the same human rights as men, that women are treated equally.
We have moved forward with the 1979 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, CEDAW, the 1994 Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the ICPD+5 Key Actions for further implementation.
We have moved forward with the Platform for Action of the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, the Security Council’s landmark resolution 1325 on women, peace and security, its subsequent resolutions and all international human rights conventions.
My message today is: We cannot move backwards, we must keep moving forward. It is what we owe to millions of women fighting for their rights around the world.
We find ourselves at a tipping point in history. And through a slide show presentation introduced the speakers and program for the day.(please see the translation below)

نیره توحیدی مدرک لیسانس خود را در رشته‌ی روانشناسی (اصلی) و جامعه شناسی (فرعی)از دانشگاه تهران و مدرک فوق لیسانس و دکترای خود را از دانشگاه ایلینویز در آمریکا اخذ کرده است. او پروفسور و مدیر سابق دپارتمان مطالعات زنان و جنسیت در دانشگاه ایالتی کالیفرنیا در نورتریج وپایه گزارو مدیر فعلی "مطالعات خاورمیانه و اسلام شناسی " این دانشگاه است. او همچنین عضو هیئت پژوهشی مرکز مطالعات خاور نزدیک در دانشگاه کالیفرنیا در لوس‌آنجلس UCLA و گرداننده برنامه "سخنرانی های دوزبانه در باره ایران" این مرکز می‌باشد. نیره توحیدی به دریافت چند بورس علمی و دوره‌های فوق دکترا، از جمله در دانشگاه‌های هاروارد، استانفورد، مرکز بین‌المللی تحقیقاتی Woodrow Wilson Center در واشنگتن، و بنیاد فولبرایت نائل شده است. او مدتی نیز در زمینه‌ی زنان وتوسعه در کشورهای خاورمیانه و قفقاز، مشاور سازمان ملل درUNICEF و (UNDP) United Nations Development Program بوده است.
تألیفات ، سخنرانیها، و نوشته‌های متعدد نیره توحیدی در زمینه‌های جامعه شناسی زنان و توسعه، بنیادگرایی دینی، جهانی‌سازی، قومیت، جنسیت و دمکراسی در مجله‌ها و کتاب‌های دانشگاهی به زبان‌های مختلف از جمله انگلیسی، فارسی، ترکی، روسی، اسپانیایی، آلمانی و عربی، به چاپ رسیده‌اند. از کتاب‌ها و تألیفات اخیر او، از جمله می‌توان از جنسیت، جهانی سازی و دین: سیاست شناسی حقوق زنان در جوامع کاتولیک و مسلمان، (2001)، زنان در جوامع مسلمان: کثرت در میان وحدت (1998)، فمینیسم، اسلام گرایی و دمکراسی در ایران (1996 و 1998) نام برد. کتابی نیزبا عنوان جنبش زنان، اسلام گرایی و دموکراسی در ایران: چشم‌انداز جهانی ـ محلی در دست نگارش دارد. توحیدی علاوه براعتبار بین المللی درکارهای دانشگاهی وپژوهشی ، سالهای متمادی است که اززمره کوشندگان پیگیرحقوق بشر، جنبش زنان و دموکراسی شناخته میشود.

Song :

شهرزاد سپانلو خواننده ایرانی آمریکایی است . شهرزاد در دورانی که دانشگاه یوسی ال ای بود، با گروه سیلوئت یا اولین گروه زنان خواننده، کار خوانندگی را شروع کرد
پس از چند سال، چون مایل بود کارش را در زمینه های مشخص اجتماعی، یا زنان دنبال کند از این گروه جدا شد و تاکنون 5 آلبوم به زبانهای فارسی، انگلیسی و فرانسوی منتشر کرده است. شهرزاد همکاری خود را طی سالهای اخیر با فرید شفیع نوری کامپوزر و نوازنده آغاز و ادامه داده است
فرید و شهرزاد خود را برای ارائه آخرین کارهای جدید و مشترک خود آماده می کنند

فرید شفیع نوری هنرمندی است که به بهترین وجه نشان دهنده نسل ممیز خورده امروز آمریکاییان ایرانی تبار است. او یک آهنگسازی است که مورد تحسین منتقدان قرارگرفته و، خواننده، شاعر، نوازنده چند ساز است که به طور موثر ریشه های قدیمی رادر موسیقی و شعر کلاسیک فارسی کشف، و با لمسی مدرن از فولکلوریک آمریکایی / راک / بلوز به کلاسیک / و موسیقی سنتی ایران به کار برده است
Fared Shafinury is the artist that best represents the hyphenated-generation of Iranian-Americans today. He is a critically acclaimed composer, vocalist, poet, Persian virtuoso setarist and multi-instrumentalist, that has effectively unearthed his ancestral roots in classical Persian music & poetry, as well as reinvigorating the ancient sound with a modern touch - seamlessly morphing together influences ranging from American folk/rock/blues to classical/& folk Iranian music. The power in his voice transcends the listener from the sleepy beach towns along the Gulf of Mexico, to the soft gentile rolling hills of central Texas, to the dramatic mist hidden cliffs of Big Sur California, and melodically retracing an arc back to the scattered villages of Iran, to find themselves at the foothills of a modern Tehran today.

theKI is a 10-piece ensemble that fuses pop, jazz and electronic music with modern and ancient wisdom. With Roxie Sakura as the lead singer, theKI features conservatory-trained members who have performed with world-class artists such as Stevie Wonder and John Legend, along with spoken word artist Sean Raymond Hill. As a Persian-Japanese-American, Roxie is dedicated through her songwriting and activism to shining light on some of the darkest injustices and inner struggles still facing women worldwide today, and recently performed for LA Rising for Women as part of V-DAY's One Billion Rising. "KI" stands for "energy" in Japanese; theKI combines beautiful instrumental arrangements with digital grooves to create movement, dance, and transformative moments of inner reflection. By making darkness conscious, as Carl Jung wrote, theKI exists to expand this awareness by first inspiring and empowering the individual.
(site are being updated today, will be running tomorrow, please include all three)
Official sites:
Original music video - "Breathe"

گروه "کی آی" گروه 10 قطعه است که به فیوز پاپ ،جاز و موسیقی الکترونیک به همراه خرد مدرن و باستانی می پردازد. راکسی ساکورا به عنوان خواننده و رهبر گروه آموزش دیده هنرستان موسیقی است و با هنرمندانی مانند "استیو واندر و جان لجند همراه با گفتار هنرمندشان ریموند هیل در سطح جهانی برنامه اجرا کرده است.
به عنوان یک ایرانی_آمریکایی ژاپنی تبار راکسی از طریق آهنکسازی فعالیت خود را در رابطه با تارکترین بی عدالتی ها و مبارزات درونی زنان در سراسر چهان امروز اختصاص داده است و به تازگی برای زنان سازمان ملل شاخه لوس آنجلس در جنبش یک میلیاردی برنامه اجرا کرده است.
پیام پریزیدنت زنان سازمان ملل شاخه لوس آنجلس به برنامه

Happy International Women's day!
Here I am siting in the lobby (with Arianna) at the UN sending much appreciation to my friend and colleague Soraya for her boundless activism.

Thank you Soraya for putting this important event together and for inviting UN WOMEN's USNC-lA chapter to celebrate this important day!

Thousands of women, girls and men from all over the world are here sharing knowledge, programs and processes in support of global women and against VAW.

Discussions range from aboriginal women's rights, Nordic women's shelter programs to infrastructure needs that provide safe and secure cities for women and girls.

Femicide, rape, child marriage, sex trafficking, domestic abuse..the list of ways a woman can be violated by her partners, parents, and community or even government is heartbreak and seemingly endless.

But it is not endless. With Michelle Bachelet at the helm we are bound to see significant changes in the coming years.
Madame Bachelet personally sat on several panels. Her grace, wisdom, enthusiasm and dedication is an inspiration for us all. I have never been so inspired.

The energy of sisterhood and solidarity here is exhilarating.

Lets ask ourselves how we can raise lasting awareness here in LA?

How can we join together to increase the number of people in the LA area who are dedicated to equity for all, and more specifically gender equality and empowerment of women locally as well as globally?

This wonderful event that Soraya has put together, our LA RISING FOR WOMEN event on V-day is just the beginning.Lets work together to put an end to VAW once and for all!

Have a great International Women's Day!

A collaboration of Afghans,
 Iranians and American organizations in Southern California 
Sunday March 10th, 2013
1:30 pm to 5:00 pm
Santa Monica Public Library
Martin Luther King Jr. Auditorium
601 Santa Monica Blvd.
Santa Monica, Ca. 90401

Guest Speakers:

Ms. Fazlia Seraj                      Keynote speaker (AWASC)
Dr. Nayereh Tohidi              Professor and former Chair of GWS & Director of MES,CSUNMs. Raihana Niazi, JD                   Attorney-At-Law
Dr. Nilab Mobarez, MD           United Nation Spokesperson (Video clip)
Ms. Maliha Sarwari                 Afghan Women’s Association of Southern California
Ms. Heidi Basch                      Executive Director Women’s Voices Now
Music by:                       Shahrzad Sepanlou & Fared Shafinury 
Poem by:                        Partow Nooriala 
Band group:                 “The KI” by Roxie Sakura from UN Women- USNC LA Chapter
Video on Stoning           by Soraya Fallah
Organizations information desk
sign in table in support of Women political prisoners in Iran

Program MCs: Fazlia Seraj and Soraya Fallah
 Co-Sponsored by:

Afghan Women’s Association of Southern California (AWASC)
Supporters of " Laleh Park Mothers "/ Los Angeles- Valley
Society for Human Rights in Iran/ S.CA
Society for Democracy in Iran- S.CA
Union for Advancement of Secular Democracy in Iran- Los Angeles
Supported by:
 UNA- USA / San Fernando Valley 
UN Women- USNC Greater LA Chapter
Kurdish-American Committee for Democracy and Human rights in Iran
International Health & Epidemiology Research Center
Park in library’s parking
Entrance is free, donation will appreciated 

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