Shiva Bagheri, founder of the Beverly Hills Freedom Rally, has confirmed to the Courier that she plans to run for City Council in the June 2022 race. Bagheri has lived in Beverly Hills for eight years and has a daughter in Beverly Hills Unified School District.
Bagheri says that she supports “protecting small businesses and religious freedom” and that her campaign will advocate for greater hiring incentives for the Beverly Hills Police Department.
Starting in June 2020, Bagheri began holding gatherings at Beverly Gardens Park each Saturday in opposition to COVID-19 public health safety measures and lockdowns. As the November General Election drew nearer, the focus of the rallies shifted to the looming electoral contest. The weekly event first attracted a couple dozen attendees, but eventually grew to a couple thousand at its peak before the presidential election.
The rallies attracted a wide array of Trump supporters, including far-right groups like the Proud Boys and proponents of the conspiracy theory QAnon. Many of the rally’s attendees, including its Director of Communications, John Strand, participated in the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. Strand and at least half a dozen others with ties to the rally face charges for their involvement in the insurrection.
After the City Council set more stringent guidelines for public assemblies at Beverly Gardens Park, Bagheri found herself hit with three misdemeanor charges for holding assemblies without a valid permit, with each charge carrying fines up to $3,500 or six months in jail. In July 2021, Bagheri reached a judicial diversion agreement with the City of Beverly Hills to avoid prosecution. As a part of the agreement with the city, Bagheri served 20 hours of court-approved community service and did not organize any unpermitted gatherings for six months. Bagheri described the legal wrangling as a waste of city resources.
“How about we use our city attorneys to go after the derelicts that destroyed our city rather than people like me that are law-abiding citizens exercising their first amendment rights?”
Since the discontinuation of the Freedom Rally, Bagheri has continued to oppose COVID-19 mitigation measures and vaccines, protesting in groups and on her own at grocery stores, testing sites, schools, and a breast cancer treatment center. Bagheri says that she would continue her opposition if elected to the Council.
Before her turn in conservative activism, Bagheri ran a dance school for children. Prior to that, she worked as a professional dancer and fitness model.
“I’m a straight shooter, a lover of the almighty God, a mother, a dance and fitness instructor, a dog-walker, and an honest friend,” Bagheri told the Courier.