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Human Chain of Solidarity Planned in Support of Iranian People

Media Inquiries
Peter Kerwin
University Communications & Marketing

Beginning at 5 p.m., Friday, Oct. 21, members of the Carnegie Mellon University community plan to join a human chain that will form in solidarity with and support of Iranian people.

The event will kick off at the University of Pittsburgh’s Cathedral of Learning, with participants walking toward Bigelow Boulevard, where they will stand together for one hour. Attendees are welcome to join the chain as they arrive.

Incidents of protests in Iran, including at several universities, high schools and elementary schools, being met with violence and arrests have sparked people in the local community who have family, friends and classmates in Iran to raise awareness about the ongoing crisis in the region.

"Iran is experiencing its biggest uprising in the post-revolution era," said Ali Shourideh(opens in new window), associate professor of economics in the Tepper School of Business(opens in new window). "The leaders in this uprising are women who are saying no to oppressionand discrimination. They are not afraid for their lives anymore and chant, 'Woman, Life, Freedom.' As Iranian diaspora in the United States, the least we can do is be their voice and generate awareness in our local community. I invite everyone to join this symbolic event even if they are not Iranian or Iranian-American."

CMU President Farnam Jahanian(opens in new window) — who emigrated from Iran as a teenager — along with other members of the university’s leadership team, have been meeting with students, faculty and staff to plan events that can increase awareness and understanding regarding the current crisis, including bringing leading scholars to CMU for discussions on the historical context. 

There also have been small gatherings involving President Jahanian, Gina Casalegno(opens in new window), dean of students and vice president for Student Affairs, other university leadership, student leaders from the Iranian Student Association (ISA) and additional affected community members. These gatherings have offered opportunities to share reflections, build community and discuss support resources.

Professor Kristin Hughes(opens in new window) from the School of Design(opens in new window) is partnering with CMU students to curate a public display or exhibit that can spread awareness and promote education about the current issues.

"This new display is expected to be an illuminating, thoughtful and impactful opportunity to involve the greater Pittsburgh community," Hughes said.

The Office of the Provost(opens in new window) is engaging the deans and faculty to encourage flexibility for impacted students, underscoring the importance of compassionate engagement.

Casalegno and Wanda Heading-Grant(opens in new window), vice provost for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, recently communicated(opens in new window) ways that Iranian students in the CMU community can connect with resources, support and conversation available to them.

Any students who are experiencing hardship and need support are invited to contact the Student Support Resources(opens in new window) team that is available through the Office of the Dean of Students. The Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion (opens in new window)also provides space to gather with others in solidarity and to mobilize events or calls to action for the community.

Counseling and Psychological Services(opens in new window) (CaPS) offers support, day or night, for students, and is also planning to offer facilitated, small-group sessions for students who have been affected.

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