The Pitch, Kansas City: Activists for Iran will plant a green memorial on Troost Avenue

Dec 12, 20090 comments

By Carolyn Szczepanski in Picket Lines Fri., Dec. 11 2009 @ 12:00PM

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In June, the disputed re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president of Iran sparked protests around the world. In Kansas City, demonstrators hoisted placards at the J.C. Nichols Fountain and drove through Country Club Plaza, young men hanging out the windows, waving flags and yelling freedom slogans.  

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A June protest at JC Nichols fountain

Now, the local solidarity effort has moved from protest to planting.On Saturday, activists around the world are marking the six-month anniversary of the disputed election and continuing their opposition to Ahmadinejad — with art. And University of Kansas student, Amtis Amani, has been a key organizer, arranging creative events at galleries and music venues from coast to coast. Born in Iran, Amani left her home country as a young child. When Iranian students took to the streets this summer, risking arrest and violence to protest the allegedly rigged vote, Amani says she felt a responsibility to take action here in the Midwest. Since then, she’s expanded to the entire country, as the North America Coordinator for United 4 Iran, an online community aimed at raising awareness about human and civil rights abuses in Iran. Though her home country hasn’t led the local newscast for months, Amani says protests have been ongoing in larger American cities and Iranians here in Kansas City are still fired up. “It hasn’t been difficult to keep people engaged and energized,” she says. So tomorrow, at 1 p.m., the KC Persian Society is joining “Art United 4 Iran” with a tulip planting at 54th Street and Troost Avenue. But that’s just the first step. In the spring, Amani says, the blooming garden will be dedicated “to the thousands that have given their lives in this fight for freedom, human and civil rights in Iran in the past 30 years.”