LOS ANGELES, CA — In a variety of student-organized events commemorating the Armenian Genocide, the ANCA Western Region joined southland Armenian Student Associations (ASA) to not only provide historical background on the issue, but also briefings about ongoing efforts of Armenian Genocide recognition, the importance of activism, as well as Turkey’s ongoing campaign of denial.
California State University, Northridge
On Thursday, April 22, ANC Professional Network Executive Committee member Boghos Patatian, spoke at the annual candlelight vigil organized by the California State University, Northridge ASA. His message highlighted the duty of the college youth in seizing every opportunity to advance the Armenian community and the community-at-large.
“This tremendous collection of young people should be commended for their achievements. It is both overwhelming and satisfying that these youth are not indifferent to the Armenian Cause. It is an honor to those who were denied an education because they perished during the Genocide, and the ANCA is proud to be able to help facilitate this through its direction and resources,” noted Patatian.
“I appreciated his emphasis that April 24 is not just one day, but that the Armenian Cause must be pursued every day of the year,” remarked Terenig Topjian about Patatian’s address.
Topjian, an officer and event organizer with the CSUN ASA, explained that when fellow students approach him asking about the Genocide, his confidence in the impact and importance of such events is simply reaffirmed. He stressed that the event received coverage by both the CSUN daily newspaper the “Sundial,” and local television network KTLA.
All Armenian Student Association
ANCA Western Region board member Raffi Hamparian, delivered the keynote address at the annual All-Armenian Student Association commemoration on April 22. Organized by over a dozen ASAs throughout southern California colleges, the event, with the theme “a call to action,” was the subject of a lengthy article in Monday’s edition of the UCLA Daily Bruin student newspaper.
University of Southern California
In addition to many community-wide events on April 24, the ANCA also joined the University of Southern California (USC) for its annual campus commemoration at Tommy Trojan, which featured ANCA Western Region board chairman Steve Dadaian.
“Mr. Dadaian highlighted the Republic of Turkey’s continued campaign of denial that not only targets our government, but our campuses as well,” noted USC ASA officer Ruzan Antossyan, who was the day’s emcee.
The USC event featured exhibits covering the history of the Genocide as well as ANCA prepared petitions to key members of US House of Representative calling on a vote on pending Armenian Genocide legislation. “We reached out to a broad campus audience.”
Fellow USC ASA officer Mercedes Aline Arslanian enthusiastically said that nearly 300 petitions were signed. “When I see people genuinely interested in the program, and expressing increased interest about the Genocide and what they can do, I know we are succeeding.”
University of California Irvine
ANC Orange County member Ara Malazian delivered the keynote address at the University of California Irvine (UCI) ASA’s annual candlelight vigil that featured Genocide survivor Yeghsapet Garabedian, and drew numerous non-Armenian students. Malazian highlighted the importance of keeping the issue of justice for the Armenian Genocide at the forefront of the community’s thoughts and actions.
Though the event was disrupted by a few Turkish students shouting vulgar comments and waving the Turkish flag, campus police readily maintained order. “It means we are making a difference and raising awareness when they have to stoop to such levels,” said UCI ASA Vice President Sarkis Abajian.
Pointing to Malazian’s address that emphasized Turkey’s failure in attempting to destroy Armenians, Abajian said, “Sometimes we lose sight of the fact that we did survive and now thrive.” And as a result, he explained that Armenians have made progress in pursuing justice for the Armenian Genocide. “There was more discussion and awareness about the genocide on campus this year. There were a lot of non-Armenian students who participated in the vigil. We are pushing forward.”
Not confined to college campuses, the ANCA also participated in a number of commemorations at local high schools and youth organizations including Grant HS, Calabasas HS, Ferrahian HS, and at the Homenetmen Glendale “Ararat” chapter’s assembly.