In the wake of last month’s attacks on the region of Tavush, Armenians have been joining in solidarity all over the world to peacefully protest against Azeri aggression. The New York and New Jersey communities joined this surge on Sunday, July 26th outside the Azerbaijan Mission on East 41st Street and 3rd Avenue.
This peaceful protest was made possible by the tireless efforts of three Armenian Youth Federation chapters: Manhattan “Moush,” New Jersey “Arsen” and New York “Hyortik”—all of which were represented by female leadership. They were supported by the local Armenian communities of New York and New Jersey, including the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF), Homenetmen, the Armenian Relief Society (ARS), the Armenian National Committee (ANC) of NY and Hamazkayin.
As an active member of the New York community and chair of the AYF Manhattan “Moush” Chapter, I was confident that this group of individuals would be able to plan and execute an impactful protest in the middle of New York City amid a global pandemic. I helped the planning committee create fliers, coordinate live streaming, create posters, and arrange for police and media presence. I also tie-dyed 120 face masks in the Armenian tricolor to raise money towards rebuilding Armenia’s border villages. We were able to raise over $500 on behalf of the AYF Manhattan “Moush” Chapter.
Moments before the protest, AYF leaders reminded participants about safety and decorum, that masks were mandatory and respectful behavior was expected. As the chants began and the energy of the crowd grew, the sea of red, blue and orange started to feel like one as everyone sang “Kedashen” together. “It was inspiring to see Armenians from all backgrounds and affiliations believe in our strength in numbers and show up in such great spirit,” said AYF New Jersey “Arsen” member Arianna Mesrobian. “Everybody there had our frontline soldiers in mind and showed their own form of solidarity,” she continued.
Hundreds from the New York and New Jersey communities participated in last month’s demonstration “to demand justice, and showcase our rich culture, while calling on the world to stop Azeri aggression,” said ARF “Armen Garo” Gomideh chair Arousiag Markarian. “We stood [in solidarity] with our brave soldiers on the front lines, expressed our condolences to the families of the heroes killed in the line of duty, and condemned the pattern of hate crimes being committed against Armenians around the world,” she continued.