FRESNO–More than 300 community members celebrated Armenian Independence Day on May 27 at a dinner-dance sponsored by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Soghomon Tehlirian chapter–at which time $25,000 was raised for the Mourad Topalian Defense Committee.
Meher Chekherdemian–chairman of the Fresno ARF chapter presented the welcoming remarks and served as Master of Ceremonies. Present at the gathering were ARF Western US Central Committee member Viken Yepremian–District Director for Rep. George Radanovich (R-Fresno) Steve Samuelian and chairman of the Armenian National Committee Central California chapter Richard Darmanian.
The true highlight of the evening was having the privilege of listening to Special Guest speaker–Mourad Topalian who emphasized the importance of the Armenian spirit–"the flame that burns in each and every one of us," he said.
Topalian used his daughter–Alique–as an excellent example of the Armenian determination that’s carried in blood. He pointed out that the lobbying–the political field–the fight for the Armenian cause–will all be in vain if Armenia’s do not continue what has already been paved out.
"The roads have been opened and it is our responsibility to make sure our children know about the Armenian Genocide. It is our responsibility to make sure they know how to speak Armenian. To let them know they should be proud to be Armenian. It is our responsibility to make sure no one knocks us down again. Through education–through lobbying–through getting involved–we will make sure the Armenian voice is heard," commented Topalian.
The evening’s celebrations soon turned into a successful fund-raising event for the Mourad Topalian Defense Committee. The chairman of the Central California division of the committee–Apo Saghdejian presented the issues facing Topalian and stressed the need for community involvement in ensuring that he continues to receive the best legal representation.
"This was one of the best shows of spontaneous generosity and heartfelt donations from our Fresno community," expressed Saghdejian.
Before Saghdejian could step down from the podium–the donation envelopes were being filled and submitted for announcement.
At the end of the evening $25,000 was raised for the Mourad Topalian Defense Committee.
Nersik Ispirian provided the evening’s entertainment. His true love for music shined through as the crowd danced to traditional Armenian music and emotionally felt each word of patriotic songs performed by the singer.