For 91 years the Turkish government has vehemently denied the annihilation of a million and a half Armenians.
On Tuesday, the Armenian Student Association (ASA), with the help of the Associated Students of Glendale Community College (ASGCC), converted Plaza Vaquero into an outdoor classroom in order to educate the local community in regards to the genocide of 1915.
“April 24, 1915, was when the Ottoman Turkish government gathered all the Armenian intellectuals in the Ottoman empire and killed them,” said ASA President Ani Daniyelyan. “What followed was eight years of suffering, cries and despair.”
Through historical documents, video and photographs, the events leading up to and after the genocide were depicted at large before students, faculty and staff.
“Even though we’re in Glendale, there’s so many people that still don’t know about the genocide,” said Daniyelyan.
Aside from educational material on display, the afternoon was also filled with speeches, a performance by Tina Issa and Marina Terteryan of the ASA at Cal State Northridge, and lyricist Knowledge, who rapped about the Armenian genocide.
“All the other genocides came from that [Armenian genocide],” said Knowledge, who believes that if everybody in the United Nations had been on the ball and given recognition to the Armenian genocide, the number of deaths as a result of mass murders would be significantly lower.
As a sign of solidarity, yellow ribbons were handed out in order to show support for John Evans, the American ambassador to Armenia whose job is in jeopardy for publicly acknowledging the mass extermination of Armenians as a genocide.
“He did nothing but speak the truth,” said Daniyelyan.
On Monday, several hundred members of the Armenian community, including members of the ASA at Glendale College, made their presence felt at the annual march held in Little Armenia, located in Hollywood.
“We demanded justice, nothing else,” said Musheg Akopyan, ASA club advisor. “But we have to work everyday to get Turkey to recognize the Armenian genocide.”
Los Angeles City councilman, Eric Garzetti, gave an opening speech and explained the special connection that L.A. has with the Armenian community.
“Eight months ago I left Little Armenia to go to big Armenia,” said Garzetti. “I spent time by the solemn plain in the capital of Yerevan, the largest city of Armenians in the world, bringing greetings and friendship to the second largest city of Armenians in the world, Los Angeles.”
Garzetti’s trip to Armenia spawned an agreement between Yerevan and L.A. to become sister cities so that Armenia’s past would never be forgotten.
“We lost too many fellow brothers and sisters, and their memories are not forgotten, but they are uplifted,” he said.
Entire families participated in the mass procession, from youngest to oldest. They waved flags, carried banners with slogans such as “shame on Turkey,” and shouted out demands for justice.
The youngest member of the Garapetian family, 3 1/2-year-old-Stepan, proudly waved an Armenian flag made out of construction paper and a straw.
Garapetian, like almost every other child participating in the protest, were all in agreement that the reason as to why they were in attendance was because their people were struggling.
On her way to the march former GCC student Anahid Davidian, reminisced about her grandmother’s struggle during the Armenian genocide.
Davidian’s grandmother was a survivor of the genocide and raised her own child as well as orphaned Armenian Children.
Due to her family’s struggle in the genocide, Davidian makes it a point to participate in the protests.
“The Armenian genocide is like blood running through every Armenian’s veins,” she said. “It is a part of all of our lives and that is why it is important for us to honor and remember our people.”