ANCA Desk: Hosting a Vigil for April 24

April 24 is rapidly approaching, and it’s not too late to begin thinking about how to get your local ANC involved with planning an event. A common route Armenian organizations, especially the ANCA, use is to hold a vigil in front of a government building, church, or other significant landmark.

Vigils are an effective tool for the ANCA to publicly show our support for any cause, and commemorating the lives of those lost 98 years ago is no exception. The ANCA uses demonstrations, marches, and vigils to symbolize different things. Demonstrations are usually organized quickly and respond to a timely issue; marches commemorate a particular event and need more time to prepare; and vigils are solemn and quiet, focusing on a past event or action, the genocide being the prime example.

Chances are you’ve attended any one (or all) of these kinds of events in the past, but what if you want to take the lead in your community and organize one now? Here are the steps you should follow if you want to organize a vigil next month in remembrance of the more than 1.5 million lives lost in the genocide.

When holding a vigil:

1. Obtain all permits required by the city police. Call the police department for regulations. Follow their guidelines exactly.

2. Scout the area to determine suitability before finalizing your plan. Avoid areas with automatic sprinklers that turn on at night or other such interferences.

3. Stick to the schedule. If you decide to hold a vigil for a few hours during the evening, don’t extend it to an all-nighter while the vigil is in progress.

4. Promote the event. As with other ANC-sponsored events, prepare a press kit and notify the press of the vigil at least a week in advance.

5. Plan a program for the vigil’s halfway point. This can include a short speech, recitation, or song. If appropriate, you may want to ask elected officials or representatives of area groups sympathetic to our cause to participate in or speak at the vigil.

6. Light the night in honor of the victims. Candles are usually held by those participating in the vigil; make sure you have enough to distribute to participants and the means to light them.

Much of this probably seems basic, but it’s easy to forget the simple things when getting caught up in the planning process. Don’t forget to use your social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) platforms to spread the word.

And while it’s not necessarily appropriate to take photographs during the vigil, you should promote the event before and after it happens. That means putting out flyers, sending out e-mails, and making phone calls to your community alerting them to the date and time. It also means designating someone in your local ANC to write a press release on the event immediately afterward, and to e-mail it to the ANCA Eastern Region office at for review and broader distribution to Armenian media outlets.

The ANCA Eastern Region office is here to help your local committees in any way possible. That includes advising and helping plan your April 24 activities. We understand the impact the genocide has had on all of us, but sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of how we memorialize the victims or how we strengthen our communities as survivors moving into the next 98 years. Hosting a memorable event like this is something substantial that helps to accomplish that.

Michelle Hagopian

Michelle Hagopian

Michelle Hagopian is the chairwoman of AYF-YOARF Central Executive. She has served as the executive director of the Armenian National Committee of America, Eastern Region.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.