We Just Turned Seven!

Jul 29, 20160 comments

July 25th marked seven years since my boldest, and perhaps craziest idea ever. Like many of you, I was devastated by the violence in the aftermath of Iran’s presidential election. I took three weeks off from my job with the United Nations to organize a Global Day of Action and stand in solidarity with my fellow Iranian brothers and sisters. Until that day I had always been an environmental activist, and I had never directly worked on civil liberties or human rights, nor focused on Iran.

In three weeks, the campaign built exponential momentum. Seven Nobel Peace Laureates expressed support for our day and even the band U2 projected pictures of Neda as they played Sunday Bloody Sunday during their concert that day. With over 110,000 participants and rallies in 110 cities, the Global Day of Action turned out to be the largest day of global support for Iran in history. Shortly after, I founded United for Iran.

I believe that movements are most effective and resilient if those most connected and affected determine priorities and do the work. I take pride in the fact that most of our staff and consultants are activists and organizers who lived in Iran through the 2009 uprising; and our approach and priorities are determined by them.

Our work is ambitious––from the baseline country conditions, our mission, and working from outside, across the planet, to the everyday challenges of running a nonprofit and fundraising. Like life, NGOs have many ebbs and flows. Our deep sense of connection and purpose has sustained us through our more challenging times. And now our community reaps the benefits of persistence with thriving programs that are moving the needle towards a democratic in Iran.

Today, we run the Iran Prison Atlas––the most comprehensive database of Iranian political prisoners, the judges that convict them and the prisons that hold them. This year we also launched our most innovative project to date; IranCubator will build about a dozen social-good apps for the people of Iran. We recently finished the contest phase of IranCubator and can’t wait to tell you about the winning apps that will be built.

None of these achievements over the last seven years would have been possible without your continuous support. You have sustained us through the years and not just financially. I am grateful for your partnership and trust.

In solidarity,

Firuzeh Mahmoudi
United for Iran