PASADENA, CA – Hundreds of community activists, leaders, officials, and community members marched the streets of Pasadena on the eve of April 23 to commemorate the 97th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. This event was organized by the Gaidz Youth Organization (GYO) in collaboration with the Armenian Council of America (ACA). The one hour silent walk from the Pasadena City Hall to the St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Apostolic Church was a solemn one with participants holding candles and banners to mark this event.
Upon arrival at the St. Gregory Church grounds, participants entered the Church Hall for a short commemorative program. Opening remarks were made by master of ceremonies; Mr. Harry Unell (in English) and Mrs. Karine Kojababian (in Armenian). The two emphasized the importance of recognizing the Armenian Genocide by all nations not only to satisfy our people’s demands, but, most importantly, to prevent future genocides. “Greater acknowledgement of the Armenian Genocide by the community of nations will serve the purpose of preventing Genocide in the future… We, as Armenian Americans, cannot condone nor forget such atrocities, and it is important for us to make sure the world does not forget.”
A heartfelt speech was given by Congresswoman Judy Chu who expressed her sincere gratitude to the Armenian-American community for their dedication to justice and recognition of the Armenian Genocide. The Congresswoman later presented the organizations as well as the St. Gregory Armenian Church with a Congressional Proclamation commemorating this occasion.
Pasadena Councilmember Jean Masuda, who along with Duarte Mayor Pro Tem Liz Riley and Duarte Councilmember Phil Reyes, participated in the hour-long march, also presented a proclamation for the event. A representative from Assemblymember Anthony Portantino’s office was also present at the event.
The inspirational speech and poetry readings given by GYO members, Nareg Khodanian, Jano Khodanian, and Liza Manukian evoked a sense of renewed hope as they pledged to carry on the legacy of activism by their predecessors. As the next generation of Armenian-Americans, they have reiterated their commitment to the Armenian cause, ensuring their elders that they will not stop until the Armenian Genocide is recognized and that they will continue to raise people’s awareness about the atrocities committed almost a century ago.
Delivering the address on behalf of the Social Democrat Hunchakian Party Executive Committee to the youth, was Mrs. Lena Manougian who emphasized on the importance of not only commemorating the Armenian Genocide but also the importance of today’s Armenian American youth getting involved in political, civic and cultural activities for the betterment of the entire community.
The program ended with a call to action by Khatchig Chris Chahinian, Pasadena Community Coalition Chairman, who in turn urged the new generation to be active politically and to serve their communities.