March 8 is recognized as International Women’s Day. As the nation celebrates the historical, cultural, and political achievements of women, we are fortunate to witness these achievements in many areas of our life. However, it is important to not lose sight of the discrimination which prevails throughout the world, including our own country.

Our local Champlain Valley Amnesty International group is committed to the unconditional release of Yasaman Aryani and other women in Iran who have been unjustly sentenced to lengthy prison sentences. It is easy to forget how fortunate we are in the United States. The evidence of these women’s crime is a video that went viral on social media, showing them without their headscarves, distributing flowers to female passengers on a women’s only train, and discussing their hopes for a future where they might be free to choose whether or not to be veiled. This is in opposition to Iran’s forced veiling laws. For this non-violent action, they were sentenced to between 16 and 24 years in prison.

As we support, encourage, and celebrate women’s advancements, let us be mindful that not all are treated equally. Our Champlain Valley Amnesty International group meets the 3rd Saturday of each month, 10 am, at the Brownell Library in Essex Junction. All are welcome.

- Fran Pepperman Taylor & Mary Ellen Tamulonis

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