AYF Welcomes New Members; Community Celebrates its Heroes

Revolutionary Weekend in Fresno Educates and Inspires

AYF Chairman Arek Santikian talks about the AYF's vital role in the Armenian American community during the weekend's closing celebration.

FRESNO, CA- The legends of heroic Armenian freedom fighters from a century ago came to life in Central California during the Armenian Youth Federation’s Revolutionary Weekend.

Men and women who took up arms to protect their compatriots from the savagery of the Ottoman Turks were the focus of educationals, lectures, and talks organized by the Fresno “Kevork Chavoush” Chapter.

Dozens of AYF members, alumni, and members of the community-at-large had the chance to attend the events, learn chapters from Armenian History, and celebrate the survival of the Armenian Nation.

The Revolutionary Weekend commemorated the 89th anniversary of the assassination of Talaat Pasha, one of the three architects of the Armenian Genocide.

In his bid to avenge the murders of one-and-a-half million Armenian men, women, and children, Soghomon Tehlirian tracked down Talaat and killed him in broad daylight.

German courts acquitted Tehlirian after a trial that chronicled Talaat’s murderous and cruel directives and the attempt to erase the Armenian people from the map of the world.

Longtime Fresno educator and retired principal Meher Chekerdemian presented Tehlirian’s story including memories of the Armenian hero’s last days in Fresno.

Chekerdemian, a member of the ARF ‘Tehlirian’ chapter, was a young AYF member when Tehlirian settled in Fresno and recalled the Armenian hero’s passion for justice and human rights. Chekerdemian also reminisced about Tehlirian as an individual, a man whose act of vengeance and passion for his people would inspire generations to come.

Also during the weekend, pledging members to the “Kevork Chavoush” Chapter were administered their oath and welcomed to the organization. AYF Western Region Chairman Arek Santikian told the new members that they are the ones who will continue the fight, educating, engaging, and pursuing the Armenian Cause.

Revolutionary Weekend, dedicated to Fedayees, the freedom fighters and revolutionaries, ended with an AYF Revolutionary Song Night featuring Karnig Sarkissian – the popular performer whose name is synonymous with patriotic Armenian songs.

Longtime AYF member Sevag Jierian, chair of the “Kevork Chavoush” Chapter, said the weekend was both educational and inspirational.

“Listening to the educationals, interacting with alumni, and hearing the real-life stories of the people we sing about was amazing,” said Jierian. “It’s amazing to imagine that these legendary stories that are handed down in our history are all factual and the stories of our heroes are of mythic proportion. It’s a reality check.”

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