ENCINO, CALIFORNIA More than 400 community members took part in a bike-a-thon Sunday to commemorate the Armenian Genocide during the Cycle Against Denial, an event organized by the Armenian Youth Federation San Fernando Valley Sardarabad chapter.
Cycle Against Denial began and ended at the Holy Martyrs Armenian Church on White Oak Avenue. The participants ranged in ages 5 to 73, with Eric Josephbeks 5-year old in a bike trailer behind him to 73- year old Antranik Baghdasarian, a repeat cyclist.
AYF Valley Sardarabad Chapter member Aline Karakozian explained that this event is geared towards the community, to raise awareness about the cycle of genocide and create activists in promoting the end of genocides worldwide. Last year the cyclists went another route; this year we decided to gain more exposure, cycle past a different group of people to educate them about genocide as well.
The mob of people cycling down White Oak, Victory, Sepulveda and Ventura Blvd. in the San Fernando Valley caused for traffic to build up with the individuals driving by continually asking questions about why these individuals were riding.
Karakozian went on to explain the bonding experience the event created. All these individuals came out to support one cause and they are all from different backgrounds. Nearing the end of the bike ride everyone is exhausted, attempting to motivate each other to continue, creating a bond that forces each and every person to finish.
Founded in 1933, the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF), with chapters throughout the United States and affiliated organizations around the world, is the largest and most influential Armenian American youth organization. Inspired by the past and motivated by the needs of the future, the AYF actively strives to advance the social, political, educational and cultural awareness of all Armenian youth.