BOCA RATON, Fla.—An upcoming walkathon in Boca Raton will mark the 99th commemoration of the Armenian Genocide of 1915, whereby 1.5 million Armenians were systematically exterminated by the Ottoman Turkish Empire during World War I. Event proceeds will go towards genocide awareness, community outreach and advocacy for more comprehensive genocide education in Florida public schools.
The Walk Against Genocide, a two-mile walk which will take place Saturday, April 12 at Mizner Park, is organized by the Armenian Genocide Commemoration (AGC) Inc., a nonprofit organization comprised of representatives from various Armenian American organizations and churches in South Florida. The mission of the AGC is to educate the public about the first genocide of the 20th century — and that genocide continues to occur in modern times, all over the world. In the past few weeks, Armenians have watched history repeat itself as foreign Islamic extremists sacked the predominantly Christian Armenian town of Kessab, Syria, displacing thousands of peaceful Armenians.
Arsine Kaloustian-Rosenthal, AGC’s Public Relations Director, explained: “The Armenian American community usually finds itself commemorating the genocide within its own confines. However, with the 100th anniversary one year away, there seems to be a stirring in Armenian communities all over the world. By planning highly visible events such as this walkathon, we are throwing open the door to all who wish to learn more about us, our culture, and the genocide that took our ancestors from us. As the saying goes, ‘all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.’ We must raise our voices together to condemn not only the Armenian Genocide but also the Holocaust, the Assyrian, Greek, Ukrainian, Cambodian, Rwandan and Darfur genocides, among others.”
Today, the Armenian Genocide remains the second-most studied genocide event, after the better-known Jewish Holocaust of World War II. In fact, when Adolf Hitler was asked how the world would respond to his “Final Solution” plan — the extermination of the Jewish people in Europe — he replied, without compunction: “Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?” Turkey, the successor state of the Ottoman Empire, has yet to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide, despite repeated calls from historians and world leaders. Over 20 countries and 40 U.S. States officially recognize the Armenian Genocide committed by Turkey, including the State of Florida.
David Silvers, Candidate for Florida House District 89, will be speaking at the event and has stated “It is important to acknowledge both the suffering and the resilience of our fellow world citizens. Recognition of Turkey’s atrocities toward the Armenian people in 1915 is a necessary step in that process. An injury to one is an injury to us all.”
A traditional Armenian performance by renowned musicians Joe Zeytoonian and Myriam Eli will take place following the walk, and food and refreshments will be provided. Registration begins at 7:30 am, while the walk starts at 8:30 am at the Mizner Park Amphitheater, located at 590 Plaza Real in Boca Raton.
To learn more, sponsor a walker, make a donation or sign up for the event, please visit www.walkagainstgenocide.com.
AGC Inc is non-profit organization whose purpose is to observe the Armenian Genocide, as well as bring awareness to the public on all genocides. The committee was incorporated in February 2014 and is comprised of representatives from the following South Florida organizations: St. David Armenian Church, St. Mary Armenian Church, Armenian Assembly of America, Armenian National Committee of America, Armenian Relief Society, Florida Armenians, Homenetmen, Armenian Revolutionary Federation, and Knights of Vartan.