Here’s a guest blog from Cheryl Hogan, about International Yoga Day in Ottawa on Saturday, April 28. Cheryl’s a volunteer with Amnesty International.
As Canadians, the majority of us are raised to stand-up for ourselves, our beliefs, and for
others in need. We are taught to speak out against cruelty and un-fair treatment of individuals. We are encouraged to demand change and create awareness for our causes.
Meet Bahareh Hedayat. She is a 31-year-old activist for women’s and student’s rights. If Bahareh lived in Canada, she would be recognized as a champion for her tireless efforts for such an important cause. However, Bahareh lives in Iran and is currently serving almost a decade in prison for her efforts. Bahareh is serving this sentence for speaking out against the violations of the rights of students following the 2009 presidential elections in Iran. Her fearless activism placed her on the frontlines of a violent crackdown, where security officials stormed a student dormitory and beat, arrested, and reportedly killed many students. As a result, she was arrested and received a sentence of almost a decade in prison. For this simple act of advocating rights for fellow Iranians, Bahareh has sacrificed her dream of starting a family and most importantly, her freedom.
Nazanin Afshin-Jam, human rights activist, singer and former Miss World Canada is encouraging the Ottawa community to take part in Amnesty International’s Yoga Day in Ottawa to answer Bahareh’s call for change and to support a cause close to her heart. “I believe everyone has the ability to create change,” says Afshin-Jam. “Participating in Yoga Day is a wonderful outlet to channel awareness and change for women facing ruthless discrimination in my homeland of Iran.”
Amnesty International’s Yoga Day in Ottawa on Saturday April 28, promises to be an inspiring day of yoga, followed by a dinner and kirtan with special guest, Canadian celebrity yogi and singer, Wade Imre Morissette. (He’s Alanis’ twin brother.)
Please visit www.yogaday.ca to join in creating awareness and change for women, like Bahareh.