FRESNO—The San Joaquin Valley community will once again gather on the steps of Fresno City Hall to raise the flags of the United States and Armenia in commemoration of the victims and survivors of the Armenian Genocide. The event will take place on Wednesday, April 24 from 10 a.m. to noon in front of City Hall.
The keynote speaker for this year’s program is Alice Petrossian, current chairperson of the Education Committee of the Armenian National Committee of America–Western Region (ANCA–WR) and former president of the Los Angeles County Commission for Women. She has also served as Chief Academic Officer of the Pasadena Unified School District and occupied various administrative positions for the Glendale Unified School District.
Also participating will be Fresno Mayor Lee Brand and Fowler City Councilmember Karnig Kazarian, who will serve as master of ceremonies.
The invocation will be given by the local clergy, including: Fr. Dajad Ashekian of Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church, Fr. Yessai Bedros of St. Paul Armenian Church, Fr. Yeghia Hairabedian of St. Gregory Armenian Apostolic Church, Rev. Greg Haroutunian of First Armenian Presbyterian Church, and Nerses Balabanian of Pilgrim Armenian Congregational Church.
This year’s musical program will feature Hygo Ohannessian and Asdghig Ajamian, who will sing the national anthems of United States and Republic of Armenia, and students of the Charlie Keyan Armenian Community School performing traditional and contemporary selections. Members of the Sassoon Chapter of the Homenetmen Scouts and the local JROTC will serve as the color guard, accompanied by the Association Of The United States Army “Sounds Of Freedom” Military Concert Band.
Throughout her 44 year career, Petrossian has been an educational leader and advocate for all students. As an immigrant who at the time of her arrival did not speak a word of English, she is most passionate when working for and with disenfranchised, minority and limited English speaking students. Her awards include, among many others, the prestigious Ellis Island Medal of Honor and multiple Woman of the Year proclamations by Assemblyman James Rogan (1998), Assemblyman Paul Krekorian (2008), and Senator Carol Liu (2013). Petrossian remains connected to Armenia through her yearly volunteer work and lectures at American University of Armenia.
The ANCA – Central California has organized the commemoration since 2004 when the flag of Armenia was first raised over Fresno City Hall in memory of 1.5 million martyrs of the Armenian Genocide.
The ANCA-WR is a grassroots public affairs organization devoted to advancing issues of concern to the Armenian American community. For nearly a century, the ANCA-WR has served to educate, motivate and activate the Armenian American community in the Western United States on a wide range of issues.