When is it time to speak up?

Her voice was shaking from the moment I picked up the phone.

“Daryn-joon, I need your help.”

If you are lucky enough to also have a friend from Iran, you just might recognize her sweet, tacked on nickname.

“-joon” is a term of endearment in the Farsi language, much like we might say, “dear,” in English.

This day she wanted some help crafting a message.

The emotion and post are rooted in her past.

Decades ago, when she was only 13 years old, her family was forced to leave her native Iran as the revolution overthrew the government.

Her family rebuilt their lives in America and Friend has had all sorts of opportunity she would have never had if they had stayed in Iran.

She went to a top university and became a powerful executive in international news.

She learned from personal experience and her training as a journalist not to speak out.

Which is why her voice was shaking.

“Daryn-joon, I cannot stay silent any longer.”

She wanted to read me what she planned to post on social media.

Have you watched what is happening in Iran? How one young woman’s death has lit the fire to protests around the country and the world.

Last month, 22-year-old Mahsa Amini was detained by Iran’s morality police for not appropriately wearing her head scarf. A single strand of hair falling from beneath the scarf was reason enough for her to be taken into custody.

What exactly terrible things happened there aren’t clear. What is clear is that Amini fell into a coma and died.

Her family has demanded answers.

The women of Iran are demanding answers.

And change.

And, quite possibly another revolution.

Many are daring to remove their head scarves, cutting their hair, and protesting in the streets.

This is all beyond courageous.

Far scarier than most of us in this country can imagine.

Friend can imagine it very well.

Which is why she found herself at this crossroads.

Speaking out on an issue for the first time in her life.

Have you gotten to this moment, Dear Reader?

What brought you there?



Something on the world stage?

Something in your neighborhood?

Something in your own family?

There comes a time, a moment, a maturity, where you realize you’re staying quiet for what?

To be polite?

To not offend?

To play it safe?

As Friend read to me what she wanted to post, I could hear the tears in her voice.

I imagine they were for the 13-year-old girl who had to leave her country.

For the women of all ages who are risking their lives.

“Would that have been you?” I asked. “Would you have taken off the head scarf you never wanted to wear?”

“I honestly don’t know if I would have had the courage,” she replied.

I guess none of us know.

Until we know.

Until it’s time to speak up and help others say what needs to be said.

Daryn Kagan is the author of the book “Hope Possible: A Network News Anchor’s Thoughts On Losing Her Job, Finding Love, A New Career, And My Dog, Always My Dog.” Email her at Daryn@darynkagan.com.

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