LOS ANGELES–On Sunday, June 7th the Armenian National Committee-Western Region (ANC-WR) joined Jewish World Watch (JWW) for its 2009 Walk for Darfur. Nearly two dozen ANC interns and volunteers joined over 2000 anti-genocide activists for the three-mile walkathon which started and finished at the Los Angeles Pierce College Farm Center.
“It was important for the ANC to be here today with our friends in the anti-genocide community. Working together only makes our message stronger,” said Aida Dimejian, a member of the ANC-WR Board of Directors who participated in the walkathon and spoke at the event culmination. “We all must do our part to support one another as we work to raise awareness about and end the cycle of genocide.”
Over $125,000 was raised and the event was covered by local television and newsprint media. The donated funds will go to support Jewish World Watch’s humanitarian and educational programs. Also showing their support for the event was the Armenian Youth Federation-Western Region which donated over 850 bottles of water for the event.
Since its establishment in 2004, JWW has been a proud and active sponsor in raising awareness about global genocides by educating the community and rising up against acts of inhumanity. From rallies and concerts promoting peace in Darfur to raising awareness and remembrance of past genocides, including the Armenian genocide, JWW continues their mission started by founder Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis of Valley Beth Shalom.
Rabbi Shulweis welcomed the walkathon participants upon their return the Farm Center. Los Angeles City Council Member Dennis Zine and City Controller Wendy Greuel as well as student activists and community leaders from Los Angeles addressed the crowd including Dimejian.
“This morning, I walked in the memory of the 1.5 million victims of the Armenian Genocide perpetrated by Turkey. I walked for all victims of genocide. We are today sending a message to the world, the message that we can no longer bear witness to the mass slaughter that is taking place in the Darfur region of Sudan. For too long the world has bore witness to too many genocides,” Demejian remarked.
In 2007 Dr. J. Michael Hagopian and Dr. Richard Hovanissian were honored by JWW for their work documenting the history of the Armenian Genocide. Since then, JWW has hosted screenings of Hagopian’s “Voices from the Lake” as well as the anti-genocide documentary “Screamers,” in which the ANC-WR also participated.
The Armenian National Committee – Western Region is the largest Armenian American grassroots community organization in the Western United States. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the Western United States and affiliated organizations around the country, the ANC-WR works to promote understanding regarding issues of concern to the Armenian American community.