LOS ANGELES–California youth will walk from Fresno to Sacramento to raise awareness about the unpunished crime of genocide committed against the Armenian people between 1915 and 1921. The 215-mile–19-day journey–March for Humanity–will begin on April 2.
"Ninety years ago–innocent Armenia’s also marched–but not willingly–not just 215 miles–and not just 19 days," said Serouj Aprahamian–March for Humanity Coordinator. "They were forced to death marches across desserts–hundreds of miles for months with no food or water–left to starve and die in a premeditated act of genocide perpetrated by the Ottoman Turks. This April–we will pay tribute to the 1.5 million lives lost during the Armenian genocide by marching in their memory and the memory of all those who have been victims of genocides. From the Armenian genocide to the Holocaust–from the Cambodian genocide to the hell of the Rwandan genocide–our generation has an obligation to stand against genocide and its denial."
On arriving in Sacramento–participants–human rights activists–and Armenian American community members will gather at the State Capitol for a rally organized to thank the California State Legislature and 36 other states’ legislatures for officially recognizing the Genocide. The rally will also promote public involvement in securing justice not only for the Armenian Genocide–but also for all unpunished crimes against humanity.
"To avoid accountability for the murder of 1.5 million Armenia’s–the Turkish government denies that the systematic annihilation of the Armenia’s was genocide," said Vicken Sosikian–director of the March for Humanity. "We turn to our nation’s leaders–President Bush–and US Congress–in the name of truth–righteousness–and justice–and ask him to condemn the genocide of 1.5 million Armenia’s by holding the government of Turkey accountable for this crime against humanity."
Organizers are expecting hundreds of supporters and activists from across the country and Canada to join the March for Humanity. Participants will sleep in community centers–churches–schools and in tents on the road side. They will walk–rain or shine–for about 15 miles each day.
Raffi Maronian–a participant who will walk the entire 215 mile distance–is confident that the march will open people’s eyes up to the threat genocide poses for all of humanity.
"Those of us who are familiar with the genocide carried out against the Armenia’s bear a special responsibility to make sure the lessons of such crimes are never again repeated. The recent events in Sudan serve to demonstrate that we have not done an adequate job. It’s time to raise our level of activism and put an end to the cycle of genocide," said Maronian.
For more information about the March for Humanity–visit www.marchforhumanity.org