LOS ANGELES—Amid the COVID-19 crisis, the Armenian Youth Federation Western United States thoughtfully and diligently continued its long standing legacy of activism in its efforts for raising awareness about the 105th commemoration of the Armenian Genocide.
On the first day of April, the AYF-WUS commenced the “24 Days of Action” digital campaign in lieu of the mass gathering which takes place annually on April 24th. The digital campaign represented the road of the Armenian Cause by showcasing the many elements of Armenian heritage, culture, contributions to the world Armenians have made through the centuries, and the injustices that the states of Turkey and Azerbaijan continue to spearhead against the Armenian people.
The digital demonstration was inaugurated by starting a Twitter campaign which addressed Azerbaijani elected officials and their continued aggression against the sovereign people of Artsakh. The “24 Days of Action” also highlighted Armenian businesses while also promoting divestment from Turkey, who continues to deny the Armenian Genocide. As an ode to repatriation, the digital campaign challenged the community to retrace back to their ancestral roots and share the Western Armenian cities their families originate from.
To musically enhance the community’s stay-at-home order, the AYF-WUS’s “24 Days of Action” organized Sounds of Our Cause, a virtual concert that featured artists such as Raffi Massoyan, Tro Krikorian, Krista Marina, Shant Massoyan, and Greg Hosharian, held on Sunday, April 19th, through Facebook. Each artist honored the 105th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide by performing traditional Armenian folk and patriotric songs. The campaign continued as community members were encouraged to address Turkish denialism by tweeting at Turkish parliament officials and media personalities.
The “24 Days of Action” digital campaign gave the Armenian American community in Los Angeles and across the world an opportunity to remember the atrocities of the Armenian Genocide and the profound demonstrations of resilience by being able to participate in the various challenges at home,” said Abraham Iskajyan. “We were able to connect people to the Cause while staying safe.”
On April 24, the AYF-WUS organized a car march to commemorate the Armenian Genocide while celebrating our healthcare workers, who continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, by setting up checkpoints to deliver 100 water packages to local hospitals. The caravan began in Glendale and delivered supplies of water to Glendale Memorial Hospital, Glendale Adventist Hospital, and UCLA Ronald Reagan Hospital. In between deliveries, the caravan passed by the Turkish Consulate.
To conclude the “24 Days of Action,” on the night of April 24, the AYF-WUS projected, “Turkey’s Guilty of Genocide” on the Turkish Consulate building and the Wilshire Federal Building in Los Angeles, CA. Despite the absence of the annual protest at the consulate, which the AYF-WUS has been spearheading for decades, Armenian youth made their message clear that night.
“Projecting a strong statement on important public spaces, like the Turkish Consulate and the Federal Building on Wilshire, was an effective way to bring to attention to the violent denialism of the Armenian Genocide the government of Turkey still sponsors,” said Hasmik Burushyan, a member of the AYF-WUS Central Executive. “The projections became very popular on social media as many shared the photos to spread the word of our unconventional protest. Whether through demonstrations like these or by campaigns such as #DivestTurkey, the AYF-WUS remains committed to not only remembering the 1.5 million martyrs of the Armenian Genocide, but also by being a leading force to secure reparations and justice for the entire Armenian Nation.”
Founded in 1933, the Armenian Youth Federation is the largest and the most influential Armenian-American youth organization in the United States, working to advance the social, political, educational and cultural awareness among Armenian-American youth.