The Armenian Youth Federation is dedicating 2012 to the Armenian Freedom Fighter (Azadamardik), announced the organization’s Western US Central Executive Thursday. As part of its multi-faceted campaign, the AYF will be organizing a series of events and activities aimed at raising awareness about Artsakh’s liberation struggle and supporting the freedom fighters who made it possible.
“With this year marking the 20th anniversary of the heroic liberation of Shushi, it is important for us to honor the sacrifices made to defend our people and homeland,” said AYF Executive Director Serouj Aprahamian. “Without the brave men and women who put their lives on the line, there would be no independent Artsakh today.”
A central component of the year-long effort will be raising money to send to veterans of the war in Armenia still suffering from combat injuries. Due to neglect from the authorities, many of those wounded or disabled in the line of service remain in dire need of medical care and assistance.
“Unfortunately, the heroes who paid the highest price for Artsakh’s freedom are today in the greatest need of our assistance,” said David Arakelyan, Chair of the AYF Central Executive. “We as Diasporan youth have a responsibility towards them and we must show our appreciation for their sacrifice.”
Local fundraisers and events will be held throughout the year to finance assistance to as many veterans as possible. A successful Holiday Breakfast held by the South Bay AYF in December was the first such event and will be followed by various others, including a large-scale benefit concert due later in the year.
The AYF has also launched a website for the campaign (www.withoursoldiers.com), which will soon feature educational material, online videos, profiles of freedom fighters, a donation portal, and details about upcoming community events.
Given the almost daily threats of renewed hostilities from Azerbaijan and regular gunfire across the ceasefire line, the AYF will also be engaging in grassroots activism aimed at ensuring Artsakh’s security. Through action alerts and advocacy efforts, it will seek to work with the entire to community to push more strongly on the cause of Artsakh.
Founded in 1933, the Armenian Youth Federation is the largest and most influential Armenian-American youth organization in the United States working to advance the social, political, educational, and cultural awareness of Armenian-American youth.