Hakimeh Zadeh on Finding a Community of Care and Family at ServiceNet
Hakimeh Zadeh has worked in various roles within ServiceNet’s Developmental and Brain Injury Services (DBIS) division for nearly 17 years. Originally from Iran, Hakimeh and her young son escaped across the Zagros Mountains in southwestern Iran in the early 80s and eventually sought political asylum in Italy before emigrating to the United States in 1984. After working at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and helping establish the Women’s Center there, she came to work at ServiceNet in the DBIS program, where she continues to work as an outreach case manager.
For Hakimeh, coming to ServiceNet has been about finding and making a community of people who care deeply about each other and the world.
“This place is my family in so many ways,” Hakimeh says. “I feel whole when I work with people and help make a difference in their lives and when I feel the support of those around me. There are a lot of people who care coming together and saying, I’m not going to turn away even though it’s challenging at times.”
Hakimeh, who is also an artist with works displayed at ServiceNet’s administration building in Northampton and in various ServiceNet locations across western Mass, has always been a passionate advocate for people who are marginalized. So, it is not surprising that when the recent protests in Iran erupted that Hakimah sprang into action.
Hakimeh initiated the recent “Woman! Life! Freedom!” rally in solidarity with the women of Iran, which was held on the city hall steps in Northampton. The rally fostered intersectional solidarity and awareness connecting U.S. human rights struggles with those being waged by women and girls on the streets of Iran.
“Women’s rights are human rights,” Hakimeh says. “And we are all connected, no matter the distance between us. The more we work with each other and talk to each other, the more those connections become clear, and we see how important it is to support each other as we fight for our rights as human beings.”