LOS ANGELES—April is a month of solemn remembrance and resolve for Armenians throughout the world. This year, with the international day of commemoration of the Armenian Genocide falling on Easter, it is also a time of perseverance, rebirth and renewal of the Armenian Cause.
As the greater LA area is home to nearly half a million Armenians, the Armenian Youth Federation has taken the initiative to mobilize the community in commemoration of the Armenian Genocide, through music, art, and various forms of concerted action.
“We feel that alongside commemorating our ancestors who perished in 1915, we must also come together and celebrate the fact that we are still here, and that we continue to exist as a people, and as a nation,” says David Arakelyan, AYF-Western Region Central Executive member. “Our existence today, shows that the government of Turkey has failed, and will continue to fail, in their attempt to exterminate the Armenian people.”
In this spirit, the AYF has organized a unique event, titled “One Voice. One Cause,” for the Armenian community to come together, promote unity, and celebrate culture through music and art. The event, set to take place on April 17th at St. Mary’s Armenian Church in Glendale, is free for the public and features celebrated Armenian artists, such as Harout Pamboukjian, Armen Aloyan, and Bei Ru.
On April 24th, the AYF will also be organizing its Annual Protest in front of the Turkish Consulate of Los Angeles. The demonstration, a symbolic focal point for the community, represents the relentless struggle of all Armenians to gain proper recognition and restitution for the Genocide.
“Easter falling on our day of observance will be a stark reminder that one of the key reasons the Turkish government attempted to exterminate our people was our Christian faith and the desire to never relinquish it,” said Anya Agopian, a member of the AYF-WR Central Executive. “We call on people of all faiths to join us on April 24 and demand an end to all forms of hate against any religious or ethnic group; to demand restitution for the thousands of churches which were plundered and desecrated during the Genocide; and to encourage repentance.”
Following this year’s April 24 protest, the AYF is once again teaming up with Serjical Strike and the Armenian National Committee in hosting the third annual, “Silence the Lies, Rock the Truth!” benefit concert at the El Rey Theater in Los Angeles.
“This special event is meant to unite all human rights advocates as one voice in demanding an end to the perpetration of genocide throughout the world,” said Andrew Kzirian, member of the band VIZA. “The Armenian Genocide is sadly a tragic historical example of the numerous hate crimes that continue to this very day, and we want people to come together to put an end to that.”
This year’s concert will benefit the Armenian Relief Society’s “Sosse” Kindergartens and the Orran charity in Armenia, which provide vital support and assistance to underprivileged Armenian children abroad. Performances by VIZA, Capital Cities, Zulal, Armenian Public Radio, R-Mean & Bei Ru are set to electrify the anticipated sellout crowd.
The benefit concert concludes a month filled with Genocide events throughout the world in a unified effort to commemorate history, and pay respect to innocent victims. By organizing these highlighted events, the AYF continues to stay at the forefront, taking the Armenian Cause one step forward and rallying a community that has been plagued with the memory of Genocide for nearly a century.
Founded in 1933, the Armenian Youth Federation is the largest and most influential Armenian American youth organization in the United States, working to advance the social, political, educational and cultural awareness of Armenian-American youth.