Los Angeles, CA – Several communities in the Western United States held 94th Anniversary Commemoration events in honor of the victims of the Armenian Genocide, reported the Armenian National Committee – Western Region (ANC-WR). ANC-WR Board Members and staff were invited to, and participated in, various events ranging from vigils and demonstrations for human rights to educational and community events and school assemblies. In addition to these events, several ANC Chapters throughout California and numerous other states scheduled local genocide commemoration activities.
“The ANC-WR takes its role in working with the community to promote understanding of the Armenian Genocide and ending the cycle of genocide very seriously,” stated ANC-WR Executive Director Andrew Kzirian. “We can only prevent genocide in the future by working hard to ensure that its evils are fully understood and that potential perpetrators are effectively deterred – education is paramount in achieving this goal,” he added.
Beginning at Los Angeles City Council, ANC-WR Board Member Levon Baronian joined the community and addressed the City Council, stating, “this is exactly why it is so important that the City of Los Angeles serves as an example of government standing up for its own citizens, standing up for what’s right, and not giving in to foreign pressure and special interests, who should never have a say in the values we Americans cherish: the values of universal human rights, of justice, and of freedom. Baronian added that “justice for the Armenian Genocide, the halting of the ongoing genocide in Darfur, and the prevention of any future attempts at genocide will only become a reality when the United States and our leaders, ‘speak truthfully about the Armenian Genocide and respond forcefully to all genocides.'”
Under the auspices of the United Armenian Genocide Commemoration Committee, the ANC-WR joined the community at the Armenian Martyrs Monument in Montebello situated in Bicknell Park. The Commemoration’s Divine Liturgy and requiem service was officiated by His Eminence Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate of the Western Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America, assisted by clergy from the Armenian Apostolic, Catholic and Evangelical Churches. His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of America delivered the sermon.
The Montebello memorial, the first to be built honoring the victims of the Armenian Genocide on public land, has served as the gathering ground for thousands of Armenians in the Los Angeles area to commemorate the Armenian Genocide. Guests and speakers at the monument included Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Congressman Adam Schiff, State Senator Carol Liu, Assemblymember and Assistant Majority Leader Paul Krekorian, Citycouncil President Pro-Tempore and City Controller-Elect Wendy Greuel, Consul General Grigor Hovhannissian and various local officials. Glendale City Clerk and former ANC-WR Executive Director Ardashes Kassakhian served as Master of Ceremonies.
Later, the Armenian Youth Federation conducted its annual human rights demonstration at the Turkish Consulate. Over 10,000 activists took to the streets to voice their outrage over the Turkish government’s constant denial of the Armenian Genocide and President Obama’s breach of his pledge to recognize this crime.
That evening, a commemoration ceremony was held at Alex Theater in Glendale featuring performing artists and government leaders who voiced their support for recognition of the Armenian Genocide and an end to the denial of this crime by the Turkish government. Congressman Adam Schiff and Assemblymember Paul Krekorian delivered remarks at the event. Former Glendale Mayor and current Glendale City Councilmember Ara Najarian served as Master of Ceremonies, while former Los Angeles Times reporter Mark Arax delivered the keynote address. In 2007, Arax wrote a story on the Armenian Genocide which was censored by then editor Douglas Frantz. The controversy resulted in Arax leaving the paper and Frantz being fired from the Times. Various dignitaries and public officials were also present during the moving ceremony.
Please see below a listing of community events in commemoration of the Armenian Genocide.
The Armenian National Committee – Western Region is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots advocacy organization in the Western United States. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the Western United States and affiliated organizations around the country, the ANC-WR promotes awareness of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.
Photo Caption #1: Thousands of Armenian Americans gather at the Armenian Martyrs Monument at Bicknell Park in Montebello to commemorate the 94th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.
Photo Caption #2: (from left to right) His Eminence Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate of the Western Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America joined by California Assembly Assistant Majority Leader Paul Krekorian, Los Angeles City Council President Pro Tempore Wendy Greuel and Congressman Adam Schiff.
Photo Caption #3: A Homenetmen Scout at his post next to the monument at Bicknell Park. AGBU AYA scouts also assisted in appropriate duties for the commemoration.
Photos by Nora Yacoubian
Local ANC chapter and community commemorations held in April:
April 18, 2009:
Crescenta Valley – Walk to City Hall (throughout the day).
April 19, 2009:
Glendale – Blood Drive held at St. Mary’s Armenian Church.
Las Vegas – Commemoration at the University of Las Vegas.
Orange County – Walk to Remember held at St. Mary Armenian Church.
April 21, 2009:
Los Angeles – Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Commemoration.
Pasadena – Commemoration, Candle Light Vigil and Discussion at Pasadena Jewish Temple & Center.
April 22, 2009:
Glendale – School Assembly at Glendale High School (Auditorium).
East San Fernando Valley – Commemoration held at 13050 Vanowen Street.
April 23, 2009:
Burbank – General Assembly at John Muir Middle School.
San Gabriel Valley – Commemoration at Armenian Martyr’s Monument (Montebello).
April 24, 2009:
Los Angeles – Los Angeles City Council Commemoration
Montebello – United Commemoration Committee Event at Bicknell Park
Arizona – Commemoration at Wesley Bolin Plaza (Phoenix, AZ).
Fresno – Commemoration at Fresno City Hall.
Glendale – Commemoration at Alex Theatre.
San Diego – Commemoration and Candle Light Vigil at UC San Diego.
San Francisco – Commemoration at Armenian Community Center.
April 26, 2009:
Riverside – Commemoration in Norco.
West San Fernando Valley – Commemoration in Encino (5300 White Oak).
April 28, 2009:
Burbank – City Council Resolution and Candle Light Vigil Ceremonies at City Council Chambers.
San Francisco – Film screening at San Francisco Public Library.
For more information please visit www.armeniancalendar.com, www.anca.org or call the ANC-WR office at 818.500.1918. Note: the above is not an exhaustive listing of all events in the western United States.