Los Angeles, CA – The Armenian Tricolor waved with determination on the steps of the Turkish Consulate in Los Angeles on Thursday as thousands of Armenian-Americans came out to demand justice and recognition in protest of 93 years of Turkey’s denial of the Armenian Genocide.
“93 years, no more tears,” was shouted by an estimated 15,000 people as they marched united along the perimeter of the consulate, located on the corner of Wilshire blvd and Crescent Heights on Los Angeles’s historic miracle mile.
“93 years ago, the perpetrators of the Genocide tried to wipe the Armenian Race off the face of the earth,” Jivalagian exclaimed. “All of us standing here today are living proof, that the goals and desires of the Turks failed,” he added.
The protest featured speeches in both Armenian and English. California Assembly member Paul Krekorian took the podium to talk about the relevance of genocide recognition for America, while AYF Educational Committee Chairman Saro Haroun and AYF Chairman Caspar Jivalagian followed with inspiring speeches about the youth’s steadfast commitment to continue the struggle for recognition.
Krekorian, who represents the largest Armenian community outside of Armenia, told the thousands gathered of his own personal connection with the Genocide, about his ancestor who was brutally murdered in Kharpert on June 1915.
“But it is important, not just for our community, but for all Americans, to commemorate the anniversary of one of the greatest crimes in human history,” stated Krekorian. “Only when Turkey confesses to their crimes will our people have peace, and Turkey’s soul be saved, and only then can the world community have any hope of preventing atrocities like the Genocide from happening now and in the future,” he added.
This year’s protests were held against the backdrop of intensified activity by the Turkish government to prevent the United States House of Representatives from finally recognizing the Genocide.
The annual April 24 protest in front of the consulate has become a uniting force over the past decade for the community’s youth, which having grown up in America, identify the event as one that helps connect them to their people’s history.
Founded in 1933, the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) has grown to become the largest and most influential Armenian American youth organization; with chapters throughout the United States and affiliated organizations around the world. Inspired by our 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.