LOS ANGELES — Thursday February 4th, the All-Armenian Student Association (All-ASA) will be coordinating the annual “Stain of Denial” silent protest against denial of the Armenian Genocide, simultaneously held by ASA chapters on their respective college and university campuses. The event is co-sponsored by the Western and Eastern Regions of the Armenian Youth Federation, ARF Shant Student Association, Alpha Gamma Alpha, and Alpha Epsilon Omega.
Stain of Denial is organized to engage college students in raising awareness about the Armenian Genocide, its ongoing denial, and the need for recognition and reparations. The protest is held every winter in order to symbolize the fact that genocide denial by nations including the Republic of Turkey and the United States continuously occurs throughout the year and not only on April 24th, the day that is typically cited as the beginning of the systematic deportation and extermination of Armenians and other minorities in the Ottoman Empire.
The protest will concurrently take place on campuses throughout the United States from 10 AM to 3 PM Pacific Standard Time, along with complimentary activity on social media that specifically incorporates the hashtags #StainOfDenial, #ArmenianGenocide, and #DivestTurkey, aimed at augmenting the event’s exposure. The messaging of the protest at each campus will highlight three themes: history of the genocide, its consequences and contemporary conditions of affected Armenians worldwide, and current student action. The third theme specifically highlights resolutions that ASAs have passed through their student government councils, including both Armenian Genocide recognition and divestment bills, the latter of which targets over $70 million of University of California funds allocated toward the Turkish government as a part of the #DivestTurkey initiative.
The All-ASA openly invites alumni, graduate students, faculty, non-Armenian student organizations, and the general public to join their respective campus’ ASA in the call for justice, either in-person or on social media if they are unable to physically participate.
The All-ASA released a statement preceding the protest, reading: “The Armenian Genocide claimed the lives of 1.5 million people and forced the dispersion of Armenians throughout the world. The Republic of Turkey, a descendant regime of the Ottoman Empire, has led a denial campaign since its founding to stave off responsibility for necessary reparations, setting a cyclical precedent for the repression of justice. The United States, under political pressure from Turkey, has also refused to acknowledge the genocide by its rightful classification. As Armenian-Americans, we believe that politics and humanity need to be held in separate realms. The Stain of Denial is a tool to educate each campus’ community about the Armenian experience and the cycle of genocide.”
ASAs participating in this year’s Stain of Denial include those based at Cal Poly Pomona, Cal State Los Angeles, Cal State Northridge, the Claremont Colleges, Glendale Community College, Los Angeles Valley College, Loyola Marymount University, Occidental College, Pasadena City College, Santa Monica College, UC Los Angeles, UC Irvine, UC Riverside, UC San Diego, UC Santa Barbara, UC Santa Cruz, and the University of Southern California. For the first time in its history, Stain of Denial will also include universities outside of California as well: Armenian students at Northeastern and Tufts Universities located in Boston, Massachusetts and Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan will be participating.