This rally is being organized by Armenian cab companies outraged over Santa Monica’s recent attempt to exclude them from operating in the city. Fueling their discontent is the lack of transparency and latent discrimination permeating the process.
Coinciding with the demonstration is a City Council public hearing scheduled to consider the issuing of taxi franchises in Santa Monica.
The AYF calls on the community to stand by the taxi workers in their struggle.
LOS ANGELES–The Armenian Youth Federation is gearing up for its seventh annual Little Armenia Beatification Project when hundreds of volunteers are expected to mobilize in a unified effort to once again revitalize the streets of Hollywood. Among the most highly anticipated events in the Armenian community in South California, the project is set to take place this Sunday, May 2nd.
With Los Angeles home to one of the largest Armenian communities outside the Republic of Armenia, the Little Armenia Beautification Project, organizers say, has become an effective way for the youth to give back to their community in what many Armenians call their “home away from home.”
According to estimates by the City of Los Angeles Sanitation Department almost 30,000 pounds of trash have been removed from the streets thanks to the efforts of dedicated Armenian youth. Much like last year, event volunteers will be removing trash from the streets, planting trees and removing graffiti, in a concentrated effort to beautify the area.
The opening ceremony will commence at 10:00 am at the Rose and Alex Pilibos Armenian School, located on Alexandria Ave. Before hitting the streets, volunteers will participate in a formal program that includes an address by California State Assembly Member Kevin de Leon and other honored guests. The clean-up will last until 3:00 pm.
Committed to engaging Armenian youth in the Little Armenia community, the AYF Hollywood Musa Dagh Chapter is hosting this year’s organized cleanup. To chapter Chairwoman, Maria Maadanian, the Project serves many purposes. Little Armenia is symbolic to us all as Armenians living in the Diaspora, said Maadaanian. It is our responsibility to give back to the entire Hollywood community by making it a cleaner and better place to live.
It’s our home away from home and it is our job to respect it, and take care of it, any way we can, she added.
Every year, for the past six years, the AYF has rounded up Armenian youth from across California and the western United States to give back to this community. This one-day campaign has also attracted volunteers from Arizona, Nevada and Texas to make the trip to Los Angeles and help the AYF remove thousands of pounds of trash from the streets in Little Armenia.
With chapters throughout the United States and affiliated organizations around the world, the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) 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.
ENCINO, CAParticipants of all ages are invited to attend the 2nd annual Cycle Against Denial bike-a-thon hosted by the AYF San Fernando Valley Sardarabad Chapter at the Holy Martyrs Armenian Apostolic Church (5300 White Oak Ave. Encino, Ca) on April 25, 2010 to raise awareness about the first genocide of the 20th century in which the Ottoman Empire massacred over 1.5 million Armenian in 1915.
The bicycle ride represents the continuous cycle of genocide denial that we [Armenians] encounter everyday living in the United States, explained Palig Demirjian, Chairperson of the chapters April-24th Committee. The never-ending circle of denial will not stop until individuals stand up for their rights and bring light to the fact.
The bike-a-thon, which attracted over 250 community members from across California last year, has been extended from 11 miles to approximately 14 miles. The extended route includes more stops throughout the city, is an attempt by the Sardarabad Chapter to broaden the scope of awareness raised by their unique event.
Cycle Against Denial is a time when we can all gather together for one cause, stand up, educate, and bring attention to the cause we fight for strongly, added Demirjian.
Check-in for the event begins at 11AM, during which all riders must register. The bike-a-thon is scheduled to begin peddling at 1:30PM. Participants can either bring their own bicycles or rent one on campus for $20. Those under the age of 18 must wear helmets.
In order to register please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Palig Demirjian at (818)445-4423.
Social Justice Concert to Raise Awareness of Armenian Genocide
LOS ANGELES, CA Complementing this years diverse array of Armenian Genocide commemoration activities will be the second annual Silence the Lies! Rock the Truth! concert. Organized by a coalition of community groups and artists, including the Western Regions of the Armenian Youth Federation and the Armenian National Committee, this social justice concert will be dedicated to raising awareness of the Armenian Genocide through music and activism.
The groundbreaking concert, now in its second year will be held at the El Rey Theatre in the heart of Los Angeles on Saturday, April 24, 2010. In 2009, the first annual Silence the Lies Rock the Truth concert played to a sold out audience with performances by Viza, Sebu, the Cause, HomeMadeDevices and Echocell and was featured in the Los Angeles Times.
The AYF is committed to educating our youth and preparing them to be the leaders of tomorrow, stated AYF-WR Chairman Arek Santikian. What better way to spread the word than to collaborate together in hosting a human rights oriented concert to raise awareness of the Armenian Genocide.
With a lineup featuring Viza and Element and other guest artists such as the Dirty Diamond and Rapper R-Mean, this years concert promises to send a powerful message to rock the truth on the Armenian Genocide. As the 95th Annual Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide approaches on April 24, 2010, Armenians and human rights activists from across the globe are preparing to honor the 1.5 million souls that were victims of this crime against humanity. This particular year, especially with the passing of House Resolution 252 in the Foreign Affairs committee of the United States House of Representatives, commemoration events honoring the genocide will be extraordinarily poignant.
“We look forward to what will be a memorable evening of commemoration through artistic expression, stated ANCA-WR Government Relations Director Lerna Shirinian. Working with socially conscious artists helps to advance the Armenian Cause with not only Armenian Americans but within the broader human rights community and media spheres throughout the region, she added. The ANCA-WR and AYF-WR will be joined by the AGBU, Serjical Strike Records, Alpha Gamma Alpha Sorority and Knoup Presents in co-hosting the event.
Concert organizers will donate proceeds of the concert to two very important organizations. The Armenian Relief Societys Armenia-Artsakh Orphan Project and the Birds Nest Orphanage in Lebanon both provide vital support and assistance to needy Armenian children abroad. The artists and co-hosting parties would like to encourage everyone in the community to participate in this event to not only commemorate the martyrs of 1915 but to also benefit the Armenian orphans.
More information can be found at: www.silencethelies.com to learn more about the Armenian Genocide, take action in the United States Congress, and help support involved charities. Tickets are also available for advanced purchase on the website.
Silence the Lies Rock the Truth is an annual social justice concert dedicated to exposing denial of the Armenian Genocide and raising awareness of this horrible crime against humanity. As a part of its benevolent mission, concert organizers annually donate proceeds of the concert to worthy charities such as the Oran Charity in Armenia and the Armenian Relief Society.
An annual demonstration at the Turkish consulate in Los Angeles on April 24 2009, where thousands gathered to protest the ongoing denial of the Armenian Genocide by Ankara.
LOS ANGELES–A coalition of human rights activists will mobilize at the Turkish Consulate in Los Angeles (6300 Wilshire blvd. Los Angeles, 90048) on March 24 to demand the release of a 15 year-old Kurdish girl jailed in Turkey for 8 years on charges of terrorism.
The demonstration, set to begin at 2pm, is being organized by the United Human Rights Council in conjunction with the Armenian Youth Federation, ARF Shant Student Association, American Kurdish Information Network, Kurdish American Youth Organization and Kurdish Community of Southern California.
“Turkeys Kurds today are experiencing the same oppression, subjugation and mistreatment that the Armenians faced a century ago under Ottoman rule, explained Shirnian. We have built a strong coalition with Armenian and Kurdish youth groups throughout the country and are standing united against Turkeys human rights violations, especially the political repression and imprisonment of innocent children.
Berivan was found guilty of “crimes on behalf of an illegal organization” after prosecutors alleged she had hurled stones and shouted slogans at a demonstration in the south-eastern city of Batman in October 2009.
She is among a growing number of Kurdish youth being tried and jailed in Turkey on charges of terrorism. The prosecutions come amid increased political tension in the Muslim country as it faces a fierce backlash from an impoverished Kurdish minority outraged over government sponsored terror and oppression.
“With over 2,600 minors serving time in Turkish prisons, the recent arrest of Berivan comes as no surprise,” said UHRC chairperson Sanan Shirinian. “Kurdish children are being systematically imprisoned for merely singing their native songs, peacefully voicing concerns within their communities or simply being at the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Though the Kurds represent the largest linguistic minority in Turkey, comprising approximately 20% of the population, they have been subject to methodical oppression since the 1920s.
“The Turkish government and military have been oppressing the Kurdish minority for decades, subjecting them to poverty, denying them their human rights, banning their political parties, and waging a brutal war on the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK),” said Shirinian.”These injustices should not go unnoticed and the perpetrators should be made to account for their repressive policies.”
The PKK has been fighting for equal rights and liberation in the southeast of Turkey since 1984. Turkey characterizes their struggle for freedom as terrorism and has dealt with it as such, clamping down on the countrys Turkish population and using military force and counter-insurgency techniques to destroy the organization.
The government recently announced steps to reconcile with Kurds by expanding greater cultural rights in an effort to end the conflict that has led to the disappearance and death of thousands of Kurds. Those steps, which include cosmetic reforms and pledges for equality, have been criticized by Turkeys Kurds as hollow.
“Berivan’s arrest and prosecution come as a direct result of those hollow reforms,” said UHRC activist Nora Kayserian, noting that her arrest came at a demonstration against a government ban in December of the only Kurdish political party in the country, the Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP).
The forced closure of the party and the subsequent late-night arrest of some 60 Kurdish political leaders sent shock-waves throughout the country, sparking weeks of demonstrations and violent clashes across Turkey.
“Turkey claims to be a country devoted to democracy, yet principles of democracy are not implemented,” added Kayserian. “The cycle of oppression committed against the Kurds is clear evidence that Turkey is far from being a democratic state..”
The United Human Rights Council (UHRC) is a committee of the Armenian Youth Federation. By means of action on a grassroots level the UHRC works toward exposing and correcting human rights violations of governments worldwide, and aims to foster dialogue and collaboration between peoples who share this common vision. More information can be obtained by emailing: email@example.com
LOS ANGELESA photo exhibition and sale, displaying the everyday life of Armenians in Javakhk will be held on Friday March 19 at the Glendale Youth Center (211 West Chestnut Street, Glendale, CA).
The professional photos that will be displayed and auctioned depict an Armenian reality in Javakhk and provide a deeper look into the everyday lives of the people, their tradition, labor, courage, religion and love.
The events goal is to continue raising the money needed to purchase two cars for the Javakhk Armenian youth organization, which has faced difficulty in organizing activities in Armenia over the years due to a lack of transportation. All proceeds will be donated through the Armenian Youth Federations Western Region, which is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization.
The youth in Javakhk have a desire to share learning experiences with other Armenian youth in the region. Unfortunately, a lack of transportation prohibits them from participating in summer camps, educational opportunities, and life enhancing experiences in Yerevan and Kharabagh.
With community participation and support, exhibit organizers say they hope to bridge the gap between Armenians living in Javakhk, Armenia, and Kharabakha division which shouldnt exist.
The AYF Read Revolution Book Club has returned with its first book of 2010: Rules for Radicals by Saul Alinsky.
In this concise manual, AYF participants will learn some of the basic strategies of effective, bottom-up grassroots organizing. Rules for Radicals discusses the tactics and skills necessary to achieve sustainable progress for a community and collective Cause such as ours.
Known as the father of modern American radicalism, Alinskys Rules for Radicals has influenced countless grassroots organizations and popular movements. From the United Farm Workers to the Armenian National Committee, countless activists and organizers have had their advocacy shaped by the principles laid down in this landmark book. Even Barack Obama and his ground-breaking campaign for the Presidency were influenced by the teachings of Alinsky.
If you are an AYF member interested in taking part in this years Book Club, register today by emailing your full name, chapter, phone number and email to AYF@AYFwest.org. The deadline to register is February 22. A fee of $5 will be required from all participants.
GLENDALE–The Armenian Youth Federation will be protesting Azerbaijan’s Consul General of Los Angeles, Elin Suleymanov, at the Pacific Club (4110 Macarthur blvd. Newport Beach, CA) on Thursday, March 4 from 6-9pm. Suleymanov will be speaking about Azerbaijan’s role in the world at an event sponsored by the World Affairs Council. The Azeri diplomat will also be discussing Azerbaijan’s position on Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia.
“With this latest event, the Azerbaijani Government continues its decades long campaign to deny self-determination to the people of Nagorno Karabagh, undermining international peace talks with threats of war and an ongoing blockade against neighboring Armenia,” stated protest organizer Caspar Jivalagian. “For this reason, we must stand strong and demonstrate our resolve to stop the lies and propaganda of the Azeri government and to support the peope of Artsakh.”
The protest comes days after the 22nd anniversary of the deadly pogroms of Sumgait on Feb. 27, 1988, which marked the beginning of a systematic campaign by Azerbaijan’s OMON Special Forces to use massacres and violence to forcefully uproot Armenians from Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh.
The events in Sumgait, which came as a direct response to Armenians’ expression of their right to self-determination in 1988, were followed by equally violent pogroms in the Azeri cities of Kirovabad, Baku and later in the Northern Shahoumian district of Nagorno-Karabakh. The violence against Armenians eventually escalated and Azerbaijan launched a military invasion into Nagorno-Karabakh, sparking a devastating war in the region that ended in 1994 with a ceasefire that left the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic free from Azeri rule.
Though a fragile state of “no peace, no war” has held over the years, Azerbaijan has refused to cooperate in internationally mediated peace talks with Armenia and has instead threatened to take Karabakh by force. On February 25, Azerbaijan’s Defense Minister, Safar Abiyev, stepped up Baku’s war rhetoric, this time threatening to launch an inevitable “great war” against Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh.
These remarks, explained Jivalagian, are part of a well-documented pattern of threats and corresponding cease-fire violations initiated by the Azerbaijani Government.
“Concerns regarding Azerbaijans destabilizing actions in the region are compounded further when Azerbaijans grim human rights record is taken into consideration,” he said, adding that a country threatening to wage war on a democratic neighbor should not be allowed a forum in the United States. “Since Azerbaijan’s representative will be speaking here, we feel it is our obligation as human rights activists to inform the people attending the World Affairs Council event about Azerbaijan’s growing war rhetoric and rampant disrespect of human rights and democracy.”