PASADENA, CA–Members of the Pasadena Armenian community gathered at the Pasadena Armenian Center this past Friday, April 17 for a solemn evening to pay respect to the victims of the Genocide
The annual commemoration, hosted by the Pasadena “Nigol Touman” Chapter of the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF), came less than a week before the AYF’s yearly April 24th protest outside the Turkish Consulate in Los Angeles. This year’s demonstration, at 6300 Wilshire Blvd., will begin at 4pm.
Friday’s event featured a wide array of speakers and performers, all of whom are members of the Armenian community in Los Angeles. It started off with a message from the Chapter Chairperson, Shant Matossian, who spoke about the importance for Armenian youth in the Diaspora to maintain strong links to their identity.
“We have grown stronger and wiser, with a fire burning within us that no one can extinguish today, “ he said. “That fire is continually burning within the hearts of our youth, who are ready to carry the torch of our great grand parents, and we will not stop until we hear the world recognizing the Armenian Genocide.”
The keynote speaker of the evening was Alice Petrosian, a member of the California Department of Education. A former member of the AYF “Musa Dagh” chapter, Petrosian told her grandfather’s epic story of survival during the genocide. “Although he was a survivor of the Genocide, he still died because of the Genocide,” said Petrosian, as she proudly held a framed picture of her Grandfather and his story.
After concluding her remarks, Petrosian stressed the importance of the AYF within the community, as well as AYF’s annual Youth Corps project. “It is the AYF that has given me the passion and skills to do good in this world, and to the AYF, I am continually proud of the giving back it does,” she said. “Youth Corps is the best way we can give back to our brothers and sisters in our homeland.”
The rest of the event included musical performances from “Nigol Touman” members, as well as a candle light vigil led by AYF juniors from Pasadena and the San Fernando Valley.
Founded in 1933, the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) has grown to become the largest and most influential Armenian American youth organization; with chapters throughout the United States and affiliated organizations around the world. Inspired by our past and motivated by the needs of the future, the AYF actively strives to advance the social, political, educational and cultural awareness of all Armenian youth.