Standing for Iran

Emotional evening vigil culminates Iran Awareness Week


Alli Wang

Branham alumnus Shireen Sabouri picks up a flower to place on the flower arch at the community vigil.

Alli Wang, News Editor

ASB’s Iran Awareness Week culminated Friday night with a vigil honoring victims of the ongoing human rights conflict in the country.

The vigil consisted of a flower ceremony in which participants placed flowers on an arch with photos of the victims of the Iran government as well as excerpts from speeches and songs.

It also featured senior Chloe Bagi and junior Craig Dixon performing “For Women, Life, Freedom,” written by a detained Iranian rapper, and ended with seniors Ethan Kim and Andrew Goldberg and sophomore Daniel Yarbrough performing the Iranian national anthem.

Lead organizer Tara Kaviani, said that she felt a lot of “mixed emotions” after the vigil, with both a sense of relief that her stress to organize the week was over. She had spent the last two months planning the event. 

She said that she appreciated the large community support, from English teachers teaching lessons on the current conflict to volunteers from Bay Area 4 Iran visiting classrooms.

“This was one of the most heartwarming weeks of my life –  I really just felt in touch with my community and my culture and my identity.” Kaviani said. “There’s never an excuse to do nothing. I hope that there’s more tangible ways that I can help than like, bringing the community together, but I’m grateful that I have this opportunity.”

Kaviani is working with Bay Area 4 Iran to bring more awareness weeks like the one at Branham to many local high schools.

Activities Director Heather Cooper said that out of the 16 years that she has been at Branham, the Iran Awareness Week was the best-organized event she’s seen.

“As a woman, I feel like every single one of us has a story of what a challenge that we’ve gone through or something that you know, that’s either been devastating or just kind of just something that we’ve had a challenge through life.” Cooper said. “It was just an extremely touching event that I feel brought Branham community together in some way and had a special meaning.

She hopes to create more awareness weeks as powerful as Iran Awareness Week at least once a semester, creating more tangible actions to promote difficult discussions in the Branham community.