LOS ANGELES — On Thursday, February 9th, the All-Armenian Student Association (All-ASA) coordinated the annual “Stain of Denial” silent protest against the continuous denial of the Armenian Genocide. The protests were simultaneously held by ASA chapters and affiliated organizations on their respective college and university campuses. “Stain of Denial” was initiated in 2011 as a silent protest in order to raise awareness of the ongoing denial of the Armenian Genocide and the need for recognition and reparations.
The students, faculty, and community members who participated on Thursday stressed that the Armenian Genocide is not an issue only reserved for the month of April, but it has a profound effect on Armenians every day. Whereas April 24th is traditionally the day that the world commemorates the Armenian Genocide, the memory of the genocide and its ensuing denial continues to be a daily struggle. The All-ASA prioritizes this campaign because Armenian students in college, where the free interchange of ideas and perspectives is encouraged, continuously find that the denial of their history is an injustice that they are blatantly faced with.
The participating ASA’s have continuously increased throughout the years. This year, Armenian students from various schools in the West coast, East coast, and Canada organized on their respective campuses. The participating schools in this years protests were: UC San Diego, UC Riverside, UC Los Angeles, UC Santa Barbara, UC Irvine, Glendale Community College, Pasadena Community College, Occidental College, University of Southern California, Cal Poly Pomona, Cal State Northridge, Woodbury University, Massachussets College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Wentworth Institute of Technology, Emmanel College, Boston University, Northeastern University, Tufts University, Suffolk University, Yale University, and Princeton University. For the first time, the protests reached an international scope, with participation from the following Canadian universities: University of Ottawa, Carleton University, and the University of Montreal. Members from the following organization also participated: ARF Shant Student Association, Armenian Youth Federation, Alpha Gamma Alpha, and Alpha Epsilon Omega.
Thousands of Armenian students, community members, and faculty, both Armenian and non-Armenian, took a stand and reiterated that the Armenian Genocide is not just a “day in April,” but a year-round struggle for justice.
The campaign also included an online component, as those who were not able to attend raised awareness through social media, by incorporating the hashtags #StainofDenial, #ArmenianGenocide, and #DivestTurkey into their online posts. While the protests highlighted the history of the Armenian Genocide and the consequences that still continue, it also raised awareness of the #DivestTurkey initiative. This included education about 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.
The All-Armenian Student Association (All-ASA) works to unite various Armenian-American college student organizations and serve the greater Armenian-American community through cultural, social, educational, and activist programming. As the largest confederation of ASAs in the nation, All-ASA is dedicated to collaboration among its constituent organizations, leadership development of its members, and community service.