Alex Shams spoke to six protesters in Iran about why they continue to take to the streets, four weeks after the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini. Their voices and stories are crucial to understanding what’s happening on the ground, and what people see for their country’s future.

There’s fear. There’s hope. But overall, they feel a strong and unprecedented sense of unity.

It’s very important that all those people outside Iran watching us right now understand something about our slogan, “Woman, Life, Freedom.” They need to understand this slogan’s relationship to themselves. This is a critique of unequal power relations in all forms — of anyone who is stepping on your rights and limiting your freedom. This critique can be applied in every time and place. The worst thing that could happen would be if people in other countries look at us and see us as poor, oppressed women who are stuck fighting for rights like American and European women did a century ago — that they think we’re at the beginning of the road. People need to understand that our fight is shared with people all over the world including themselves.

Cheri has been an editor at Longreads since 2014. She's currently based in the San Francisco Bay Area.