Tales of Disobedience in San Francisco

SAHR’s inaugural US event, inspires new commitments to gender justice

Nishma Jethwa
Strategic Advocacy for Human Rights
5 min readJun 25, 2018


“…The capacity to disobey is rooted, not in some abstract principle, but in the most real experience, there is — in the love of life. This love of life is a rare quality today, and especially rare in the very countries where people live in the midst of plenty. Many confuse thrill with joy, excitement with interest, consuming with being… “ ― Erich Fromm, On Disobedience

Written by Sara Bergamaschi, Co-Founder & Head of Growth at SAHR.

On 21 June 2018, SAHR had its inaugural event in San Fransisco. Tales of Disobedience was held in one of the most beautiful creative art space in the Mission District, The Laundry. We were extremely humbled by the incredible turnout of over 120 people from all over the world, the Bay Area and from all walks of life who participated in this awareness-raising event. Every piece of feedback we received was impressive and enthusiastic. We were humbled by people’s refreshing, heart-felt and authentic spirit on the night. In fact, it seems that so many people who had never heard about SAHR were drawn to the event because of the evocative title, which we loved!

As you know, over the past few months, I have been building a team of committed and talented women here in San Fransisco. A team that has been scaling up the efforts of growth immensely. A few months ago, I met Sara Ahmadian, owner of the venue, and she immediately expressed aninterest in becoming an ambassador for SAHR. The most immediate support she could give was her enchanting space. By chance, we also met Sara Maamouri, the Tunisian-American producer of We Are Not Princesses, a powerful documentary film about how ancient heroine Antigone inspired Syrian refugee women in Beirut.

Together, we (Sara B, Sara A and Sara M!) established a meaningful collaboration in the name of gender rights that culminated in SAHR kick-off event last week. It was a magical evening that combined music, dances, storytelling and cinematography to highlight the lives and battles of women from around the globe, who dared to break the rules.

“When you take away people’s stories, you deny their power , you make them invisible — when you have an idea, such as Tales of Disobedience, that is driven by the desire to open the space for the ones who are left behind, own it, put the lights around it, don’t be fearful or shy away, it’s the right thing to do.” — Sara, SAHR Co-Founder

As the event coincided with the International Day of the Refugees, I managed to seal a wonderful partnership with ReVi, an organization that I know personally from my time in Turkey last year, when I was working there with UNHCR. ReVi produces and sells beautiful bracelets and knitted children toys which are handmade by Syrian refugees women in Izmir. These are women with no job opportunities in sight, despite their incredible energy and talents. SAHR and The Laundry are supporting and partnering with ReVi, a Syrian-led organisation, to ensure that refugee women have access to much needed financial stability. Every 40 bracelets sold through this bracelet and knitting program supports a family’s monthly rent.

We are so grateful that this partnership came about and we are even more thankful to all the wonderful volunteers who made it possible. You know who you are — thank you.

To conclude, some words from our incredible intern and speaker on the night, Sophie Camara:

“Tales of Disobedience was an awe-inspiring, unforgettable night. There wasn’t a single person that left The Laundry not feeling connected through hope for a world of gender justice. The delicious food prepared with love by Palestinian and Iranian chefs was the perfect start of the evening. It was accompanied by the enchanting oud, tabla and guitar live music powered by four humble, engaging and talented musicians — Omar (Pakistani), Umar (British-Indian), Mohammed (Yemeni) and Mazin (Sudanese/American) — followed by tribal and ethnic dances that we all picked up at the very end like a magical ritual that sealed our commitment to the cause, SAHR movement of change.

I feel so fortunate in working with Sara as I learn from her empowering leadership style in every small interaction we have together. Her hard-working attitude combined with her revolutionary spirit are the glue of our SF Team! During the event, she perfectly managed to communicate her contagious energy and feeling of purpose in such a remarkable way that it was like she was directing the most wonderful orchestra. A big shout out also to our amazing Stephanie, head of operations who made sure that all pieces of the puzzle were in the right place and was superb in moderating the flow of the program. People were so focused and interested, especially when Sara talked about the urgency of transforming the fears, pains, judgements and traumas of millions of people into joy and compassion, instead.” — Sophie Camara, SAHR development intern and first time speaker.