Story of Azdeh
"I was born in Tehran, Iran, in the early 1980s into a world where equal rights and laughter had been silenced. My mother named me Azadeh, which translates to "free person," as a subtle way of ensuring equal rights for women not be forgotten in the new regime.
Once, my mother was nearly beaten to death for voicing an opinion about a portrait of Khomeini -- an Iranian religious leader -- to her colleague outside their office building.
As a senator in Parliament, my grandfather was in hiding during the early years of the Islamic revolution. Many of his colleagues were either executed or tortured. Thus, my grandfather left Tehran in the trunk of a vehicle and rode a donkey across the border to Turkey.
Before going into hiding, my family's wealth was seized under the pretense of Islam. My mother and grandmother sold all their jewelry, including their beloved wedding rings, on the black market. The cash received was sent in different routes through messengers, which often did not meet their intended destination, to my relatives in America.
I am grateful for the opportunities of growing up in the United States, but I am also saddened to hear about the circumstances my generation faced in Iran. I look forward to seeing what my generation will bring to Iran's future.''