BURBANK—The Armenian National, the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) Burbank “Varak” Chapter, Homenetmen “Sipan” Chapter and the Burbank High School (BHS) Armenian commemorated the 97th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide at Burbank City Hall on April 24.
The commemoration began at 6:00 pm with a remembrance program led by Arvin Setaghaian, BHS Armenian Club member. Araz Majnoonian and Naira Markaradi, also BHS Armenian Club members, read a Genocide survivor’s testimony which was followed by a Genocide awareness video prepared by the BHS Armenian Club and AYF Burbank ‘Varak’ Chapter. ANCA— Burbank’s Annette Kargodorian shared the story of how her father’s family survived by escaping the massacres in Marash, a city now located in Turkey.
Congressman Adam Schiff was also present during the program. When commending the efforts of the young Armenian youth for their commitment to their culture, Schiff stated, “We see the success of the Armenian community and we see the failure of the Ottoman Empire. Their effort to wipe out a people was a terrible, tragic but miserable failure. The Armenian community, phoenix like has risen, from the brink of destruction to be a source of great pride.”
Burbank Mayor Jess Talamantes presented the City Council’s proclamation in recognition of the Armenian Genocide. As a small token of appreciation, ANCA—Burbank presented the City Council with photographs of Armenian churches and landmarks from Western Armenia.
More than 350 community members joined the candle light vigil on the front steps of Burbank City Hall, which was hosted by Talar Kossakian, AYF Burbank “Varak” Chapter member. The candle light vigil began with a posting of the colors by the Homenetmen Burbank “Sipan” Chapter and the singing of the American and Armenian national anthems by Nayirie Balian, Burbank AYF “Varak” member.
Various performances and speeches were made by members of the AYF Burbank “Varak” Chapter and the BHS Armenian Club. Ani Ovasapyan, a senior at BHS, called on the youth to unite in pursuit of the Armenian Cause.
Rouben Krikourian who spoke on behalf of the AYF Burbank “Varak” Chapter, attested that “When we see the community come together to commemorate the Genocide, we discover our strengths as a whole and through unity and perseverance we know that we will never give up until we attain justice.”
Longtime ANCA activist Stepan Boyadjian served as the keynote speaker for the evening, highlighting the need to remember the atrocities of 1915 and the need to commemorate the victims. The ARF Burbank “Gaidzag: Badanegan Chapter ended the program with a group performance of Armenian songs.
Silva Kechichian, ANCA—B chair commented “If we do not recognize these past atrocities as genocide, we as a world are failing to stop this vicious cycle. A crime unpunished is a crime encouraged.”
The Armenian National Committee of America— Burbank advances the social, economic, cultural, and political rights of its Armenian-American community and promotes increased Armenian-American civic participation at the grassroots and public policy levels.