Tens of thousands of community members were joined on Wednesday by leading elected officials and more than 50 coalition partners at the annual March for Justice in front of the Turkish Consulate General in Los Angeles to demand justice and righteously condemn Turkey’s continued denial of the Armenian Genocide.
Raising their voices on stage in solidarity with the Armenian Cause were representatives Adam Schiff and Brad Sherman, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Koretz in whose district the demonstration was taking place.
In his remarks, Garcetti praised the Los Angeles Armenian community and highlighted its crucial role in the advancement of the city. He also pledged that the city will continue to advance the Armenian Genocide recognition issue, to serve as an example for the White House to follow suit.
“From Mt. Hollywood to Mt. Ararat, today we weep, together, as one people who say we are all Armenian and not only ‘Never Again’, we will not rest until the truth is spoken: not just from the streets of L.A. but from the Nation’s Capitol, in Washington,” said Garcetti.
Councilmember Koretz, who introduced Garcetti said, “As a Jew, we are compelled that there is no continuing denial of the Armenian Genocide.”
“You should know that the LA City Council is a hundred percent behind you, we have your back and we will keep fighting, along with the Mayor, along with our City Attorney, along with our controller until the Armenian Genocide is recognized world-wide,” added Koretz.
Rep. Sherman, a staunch supporter of Armenian-American issued in Congress, as well as a decades-long advocate for Armenian Genocide recognition, said that Turkey will not advance as a modern nation or a democracy until it recognizes the Armenian Genocide.
“Turkey will never be a modern state, Turkey will never be a prosperous democracy, until Turkey recognizes the Armenian Genocide,” said Sherman who added, “Genocide denial is the last step of the genocide. First, they murder 1.5 million people, and then they try to expunge the record of that brutal act.”
“Turkey has Erdogan,a man who came to the capital of the greatest democracy in the world and had his thugs beat up American citizens in Washington D.C., and he calls himself our ally. A man who’s buying S-400 rockets from Russia and wants our F-35 planes so he can show the technology to Russia, and he calls himself our ally. It is time to come to grips: Turkey can never be a modern state until it recognizes the Armenian Genocide,” Sherman chastised Turkey.
Rep. Schiff, a co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Armenian issues and the co-author of the most recent resolution calling for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide, not only chastised the current administration, but also those that preceded it for failing to recognize the Genocide.
“It was an effort at nothing less than the annihilation of an entire people, and it failed, and we bear witness to that terrible effort to exterminate the Armenian people, and we will not be denied,” said Schiff.
The March for Justice, organized by the Armenian Genocide Committee—a coalition of the major community organizations and religious denominations—featured a short program that was guided by Masters of Ceremonies Armen K. Hovannisian, Esq. and Tenny Khachatourian, each of whom drew on their personal experiences as descendants of Genocide survivors to advance the call for justice and recognition of the Genocide. The program began with invocation offered by clergy headed by the leaders of all Armenian denominations.
The Armenian rapper and activist R-Mean rallied the crowd during a march through a performance of his signature song “Open Wounds,” while children holding the tai-color flooded on stage. The American and Armenian National Anthems were performed by students from area Armenian schools. The program also featured a moving performance by the Element Band.
Speaking on behalf of the youth was Raffi Jivalagian whose impassioned speech highlighting the role of the new generation in advancing the Armenian Cause, closed the program.
Asbarez will have complete coverage of the March for Justice in upcoming editions.