The Armenian community in Phoenix marked the 97th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide by holding a Candlelight Vigil followed by the screening of Suzanne Khardalian’s documentary ‘Grandma’s Tattoos.’The commemorative events took place on Saturday, April 22nd at the Phoenix Armenian Center and attracted more than 100 community members.
After an opening ceremony by the HMEM Scouts, the heads of the local ARF, ARS, HMEM, AYF chapters and the representative from the AYF Central Executive started the evening by lighting candles in memory of the 1.5 million victims of the Armenian Genocide. Students from the local ARS Saturday school performed the national anthems of Armenia and the United States, followed by a number of songs in memory of the martyrs.
The AYF Phoenix ‘Kedashen’ chapter chairperson, Hakop Ohannessian, called upon the community ‘to keep the memory of our victims alive and continue maintaining the Armenian identity in the Diaspora’ in order to show to the Turkish government that they failed to achieve their stated goal of annihilating the Armenian nation.
After a poem recitation by a Phoenix AYF member, Elizabeth Ohannessian, remarks were delivered by the chairperson of the AYF Central Executive, David Arakelyan, who was also in attendance. Arakelyan mentioned the importance of keeping the issue of restitution for the Armenian Genocide at the center of our nation’s attention and called upon the youth to take the struggle for justice to the next level. ‘Our generation will be the generation that will create a brighter future for our nation. We will continue to work tirelessly until we reach our goals and realize the dream of a free, independent, and united Armenia,’ Arakelyan stated.
The evening concluded with the viewing of ‘Grandma’s Tattoos,’ a documentary dedicated to the fate of thousands of Armenian women, enslaved and tattooed by the Turks and the Kurds in the aftermath of the Genocide.
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.