DETROIT, Mich.—On April 23, the Metro Detroit community came together to commemorate the 101st anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. The event was held at the Dearborn Performing Arts – Michael Guido Theater in Dearborn, Mich. Around 600 people attended the event, which headlined guest speaker Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Executive Director Aram Hamparian.
The program opened with remarks from the emcees Dr. Hovig Kouyoumdjian (ANCA Eastern Region board member) and Lara Nercessian (ANC-Michigan chair). After brief welcoming remarks, the Homenetmen Scouts presented the flags and sang the national anthems.
Mr. Klimt Kesto, member of the Michigan House of Representatives, spoke on the recent Michigan House Bill 4493, sponsored by Kesto, which would mandate genocide education, including the Armenian Genocide, in Michigan schools. The Metro Detroit Armenian Community is making a strong push to pass this bill as written. Kesto, a long-time supporter of the Armenian Genocide recognition, has been involved with securing aid in the Middle East for Christian minorities. Kesto said “that it’s important the youth learn the history of all genocides, including the Armenian Genocide, so that never again, means never again.”
Also speaking on behalf of Michigan Senator Marty Knollenberg was his District Director Shawn Ciavattone. “The Knollenbergs have a long history of supporting the Armenian cause,” said Ciavattone.
Also in attendance were Mr. Steve G. Stylianou, honorary consul of Cyprus; Pascal Goachet, honorary consul of France; and Mark Shooshanian, Dearborn City councilmember.
The Hamazakayin Arax Dance ensemble performed two dances dedicated to the Armenian Genocide. The dances performed were “Giligia” and “Saints’ Eyes.” Mrs. Nairi Karapetian directs the dance group and prepared these dances especially for this event.
The Detroit Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) Kopernick Tandourjian Board member Sevan Markosian delivered the message of the youth. “Every one of us here shows that we, as Armenians, have the power to survive,” said Markosian.
The guest speaker, ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian spoke passionately on 1) strengthening Armenia and Artsakh, 2) ensuring a secure and independent Artsakh, and 3) the Armenian Genocide.
Hamparian said that the “ANCA is doing everything to stop the Azeri aggression on Karabagh.”
Hamparian was welcomed on stage by thunderous applause by the Detroit community for his passionate work.
Raffi Ourlian, chairman of the Armenian Genocide Committee of Metro Detroit, took the stage to thank the committee members for their hard work and stressed the importance of community participation in demanding justice for the Armenian Genocide Martyrs.
The event closed with benediction from Badvaeli Shant Barsoumian and Father Hrant Kevorkian. Overall, the event was a major success and the audience left the venue motivated and enriched.