WATERTOWN, Mass.—April is typically a month of unity for the Armenian American community, but this year, with social distancing practices in place, it will be more difficult than ever to foster that sense of togetherness ahead of the 105th anniversary commemoration of the Armenian Genocide. While physical separation may prevent in-person gatherings, the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) Greater Boston “Nejdeh” Senior Chapter has once again launched its digital-led 24 Days of Action campaign. With directives shared on social media on each day in April leading up to the 24th, the chapter aims to promote participation in community initiatives, learn more about the Armenian history and culture and make its demands for recognition and reparations heard.
The goal is to engage members throughout the month leading up to Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day (April 24) to ensure commemoration occurs beyond a single day of observation. In the past, the campaign is organized around a schedule for members to attend local events, but given the situation with COVID-19 this year, the chapter’s public relations committee has created new initiatives to connect its members with the community despite the obvious restrictions in place.
For example, members are being invited to connect with their fellow ungers across the country, tune into live-streams of badarak services and check in with the elderly and other community members who may feel especially isolated. Furthermore, since the chapter will not be able to hold their annual protest (which has been held outside the Turkish Consulate and in Harvard Square), members are being encouraged to raise awareness through other means, including calling for PBS stations to broadcast filmmaker Stephanie Ayanian’s What Will Become Of Us and holding a virtual variation of Boston chapter member Anahis Kechijian’s Stand Up for Your Survivor—an initiative in which members represent Genocide survivors at the Massachusetts State House Commemoration.
Given that the Junior and Senior members will be staying home to do their part in keeping their communities safe, the PR committee also included new activities to encourage members to engage with their heritage and culture—from revisiting Armenian cookbooks and cooking with their families, to exploring the enormous list of Armenian books, music, art, movies and podcasts compiled by the editorial team at h-pem.
To participate, follow the Greater Boston “Nejdeh” Chapter on Facebook and Instagram (@ayf_nejdeh).