Marches held in Los Angeles to commemorate Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day

Thursday, April 25, 2024
Los Angeles marches mark Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day
Armenian flags were flying on the streets of Los Angeles as marchers remember the deaths of 1.5 million Armenians in what is regarded as the first genocide of the 20th century.

HOLLYWOOD, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Hundreds of people participated in a march through Hollywood Wednesday afternoon, calling for the freedom of Armenian Prisoners of War and commemorating Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day.

The march was held in the heart of the Little Armenia area and was organized by the Unified Young Armenians (UYA) organization, an independent youth movement.

This march was not just a cry for freedom for the Armenian POWs held in Azeri jails but it was also a solemn act of remembrance.

"What we're trying to do is remember those who were lost because it's important to understand that a lot of the world, including the United States government, doesn't accept that the Armenian genocide occurred, but I have family members who were killed during the genocide, and I am a descendant of a survivor," said Hovik Tatevossian. "Most of the Armenians that you see in Los Angeles are descendants of survivors who had somebody who was killed during the genocide."

Hundreds of people participated in a march through Hollywood Wednesday afternoon, calling for the freedom of Armenian Prisoners of War and commemorating Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day.

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill establishing Genocide Remembrance Day as a state holiday and permitting public schools and community colleges to close in observance of the holiday into law in 2022.

"Genocide commemoration is more than a history lesson. It is a powerful tool to engage people across generations in the sanctity of human rights, the enormity of crimes, and how to prevent future atrocities,'' Newsom wrote in his signing message for AB 1801 by then-Assemblyman Adrin Nazarian, D-North Hollywood.

Schools were closed Wednesday in the L.A. and Glendale unified school districts. The LAUSD Board of Education adopted a policy in 2020 to close schools on Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day. Students and teachers in Glendale USD have been given the day off on April 24 since the 2013-14 school year.

A protest was also held outside the Turkish Consulate General in Beverly Hills.

The protest was "dedicated to both demanding proper recognition, reparations, and restitution of the 1.5 million lives lost and land stolen during the 1915 Armenian Genocide, and highlighting how the delayed recognition, reparations, and restitution has led to the continuation of the vicious cycle of genocide committed against Armenians with the recent 2023 genocide in Artsakh,'' according to a statement from Armenian Youth Federation, which organized the protest.

A commemoration of the Armenian genocide was held at the Montebello Armenian Genocide Monument. It will include a speech by human rights attorney Karnig Kerkonian and the placement of flowers.

An Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day prayer and tribute service was held at Adventist Health Glendale. Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, primate of the Western Diocese Armenian Church of North America, took part. The service also featured testimonials and personal accounts of Adventist Health Glendale families affected by the deaths.

An event marking the 109th anniversary of the start of the Armenian Genocide was held at Glendale City Hall at 4:30 p.m. Speakers included Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Burbank, the vice chair of the Congressional Armenian Caucus.

The Los Angeles area is home to the largest population of Armenians in the world outside of Armenia itself.

On April 24, 1915, Ottoman authorities arrested Armenian intellectuals and community leaders in Constantinople during World War I, leading to an estimated 1.5 million people being killed.

Turkey denies the deaths constituted genocide, saying the toll has been inflated and that those killed were victims of civil war and unrest.

"On this solemn anniversary, as we pause to remember the innocent victims of the Armenian Genocide, we also reflect on the resilience of those who survived, and the perseverance of their children and grandchildren, who built new lives in the United States and around the world, speak the beautiful Armenian language, and enrich our nation with the Armenian culture and heritage,'' Schiff said in a statement.

"Armenians refused to let the Genocide define their lives or to limit their future potential. Instead, they showed the world that Armenians could face the future with courage, knowing that they have already overcome the worst atrocities of the past.''

City News Service contributed to this report.