How did United4Iran get started?
In the aftermath of the contested June 12 elections in Iran and the subsequent violent response to peaceful protesters by state authorities, many ordinary citizens and human rights activists around the world wanted to express their solidarity with the Iranian people and support their fundamental rights.
United4Iran was born on July 1st when Firuzeh Mahmoudi, a San Francisco-based environmental scientist, came up with the idea of a Global Day of Action. Joined by a group of volunteers, she approached human rights organizations who welcomed the idea. With the support of major human rights organizations and several Nobel Peace Prize winners, including Desmund Tutu, Shirin Ebadi, and Jody Williams, the impetus for the Global Day of Action, July 25, 2009, spread around the world, gathering momentum as a grassroots movement in over 110 cities. The Global Day of Action was significant because it brought together ordinary citizens who believed supporting the Iranian people’s human rights is a moral imperative of our time, and who were willing to back up their beliefs with action.
While United4Iran was created as a coalition, focused on taking coordinated action on July 25, the continuing human rights crisis in Iran has compelled many of those who participated in organizing rallies in their cities to create an international network under the umbrella of United4Iran.Currently, the volunteers who were responsible for the global coordination of July 25 events are working with many local partners to form such a network, which will continue to focus international attention on the human rights crisis in Iran and to plan coordinated actions in support of the Iranian people’s ongoing struggle for human and civil rights.
Who are some of U4I’s supporters?
The sponsorship of United4Iran by human rights organizations and Nobel Peace Prize winners was limited to the Global Day of Action on July 25. As the United4Iran network takes shape and plans future activities, it will again seek to gather momentum for these events through broad based sponsorships by international organizations and individuals dedicated to justice and human rights principles. Below is the list of the NGOs and individuals that supported the Global Day of Action on July 25:
- 42 Arab Human Rights Organizations
- Amnesty International
- Human Rights Watch
- International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran
- Iranian League for Defense of Human Rights (LDDHI)
- Nobel Women’s Initiative
- Physicians for Human Rights (PHR)
- Reporters without Borders
- Shirin Ebadi, 2003 Nobel Peace Laureate
Why does U4I oppose economic sanctions and military intervention?
We believe that crippling economic sanctions, military intervention, or foreign interference is not only the wrong answer, but is a detriment to the Iranian people and their human rights. Military intervention will only empower the government to further repress critical voices and civil society in the name of defending the country. Blanket sanctions will cause the most hardship for ordinary citizens and not those in power, who will use the opportunity to further enrich themselves by exploiting the restricted economic environment. The experience of the Iraqi people, when their social, educational, and public health standards greatly suffered during sanctions, while Saddam’s loyalists enriched themselves, is an experience we do not wish to see repeated in Iran.
Is my donation tax-deductible?
I can’t find a local U4I group, what should I do?
If there isn’t a local U4I affiliation near you, consider starting one! We are more than happy to work with you towards beginning a local organization. Many of these local branches began not as a result of serendipitous funding or expert non-profit leaders, but rather through the meeting of individuals united by the common goal of protesting human rights violations in Iran.
How can I stay up-to-date on upcoming local, national, and global U4I-sponsored or other related events?
The easiest ways to stay up-to-date is to browse your city’s page, sign-up on our website for action alerts, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, check the event calendar, subscribe to the site’s RSS feed, or check the main page regularly for abbreviated updates.
How will my information be used if I subscribe to U4I’s action alerts or volunteer contact information?
U4I will NOT release your confidential, personal information to anyone. Only a few people can access the information, which is stored in a secure, confidential database; you will only receive e-mails, newsletters, and volunteer opportunity postings from U4I if you sign-up, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
My group, not currently affiliated with U4I, has an event coming up; will you post it on the site?
Depends. We are currently in the process of building an interactive event calendar that will allow users to submit event information. A U4I moderator will review the event information prior to posting to make sure the event is consistent with U4I’s mission and vision (non-partisan, anti-military intervention, and focused on human and civil rights). Events with political messages and organized by political organizations will not be posted.
What if I want to plan an event that doesn’t totally adhere to U4I’s mission and vision?
U4I’s does NOT intend to deter outside organizations from engaging in their own versions of solidarity or protest in any way. However, events with aims and messages not parallel to those of U4I’s should not advertise the event as a U4I sponsored event. Unless U4I has specifically endorsed your event, U4I’s logo, name, and any other copyrighted /service-marked material CANNOT be used for the event in any capacity.
I don’t have a ton of time to dedicate to activism, how else can I help?
We understand that many supporters don’t have time to dedicate, but still have the inclination to contribute. If you’re eager to show support without dedicating much time, consider doing one or more of the following:
- Donate to U4I!
- Purchase official U4I merchandise (coming soon!)
- Follow us on Facebook & Twitter (and encourage your friends to do the same!)
- Sign-up for U4I’s action alerts and updates (and encourage your friends to do the same!)
- Contact us to brainstorm ways we can enlarge our network
- For more info on how to help, visit How You Can Help or email us at info@united4Iran.org
I have plenty of time, how else can I help?
You can contribute to U4I by participating in the below actions:
- Follow and interact with us on Facebook & Twitter
- Sign-up to U4I’s action alerts and updates
- Assist us with online marketing: encourage others to follow us on Facebook & Twitter and to sign-up for action alerts and updates
- Begin your own local U4I organization or volunteer at an existing one
- Volunteer with U4I’s umbrella organization
- Attend and promote major U4I events
- Stay up-to-date on breaking news
- Submit ideas, suggestions, comments, video, galleries for the site
- Digg us!
- For more info on how to help, visit our How You Can Help section or email us at info@united4Iran.org