For the 106th anniversary commemoration of the Armenian Genocide, the AYF Manhattan “Moush” Chapter and AYF New York “Hyortik” Chapter collaborated like never before. We wanted to make sure that we not only honored our martyrs and ancestors through a religious service, but also celebrated the long legacy of strength and survival that they left behind. The program was titled, “We survived and we thrived,” because we, Armenians, are a product of sacrifice and a testament of determination.
Saturday afternoon began with a Holy Divine Liturgy under the auspices of His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian at St. Illuminator’s Church to commemorate the fallen soldiers of the Artsakh War and 1.5 million martyrs of the Armenian Genocide.
After church services, a crowd gathered on E27th Street to begin what has become a traditional march for justice through the borough of Manhattan. We walked for about two miles to our final destination at Washington Square Park.
The commemoration services at Washington Square Park began with the singing of the Star Spangled Banner and the Armenian national anthem by Anahid Indzhigulyan.
Speakers included writer, teacher and activist Sam Armen; former marine, anthropologist and independent journalist Julian McBride; and radio journalist Dimitris Filippidis. Each delivered empowering messages to the community, namely Filippidis and McBride, who have both been advocates of the Armenian cause on their public platforms.
Singer and actress Ani Djirdjirian also performed an original song using excerpts from Paruyr Sevak’s poem titled “Voghpam Merelots,” which left many in tears.
This year was also unlike any other in that the Armenian community was elated with President Biden’s recognition of the Genocide. There was positivity and hope in the air at Washington Square Park. I believe President Biden’s recognition of the Armenian Genocide will raise awareness towards the truth. This was a notable accomplishment for the Armenian Diaspora.
I am proud of the hard work and advocacy efforts of Armenian American organizations, like the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), which worked tirelessly toward this recognition and foster public awareness in support of a free, united and independent Amenia. With the leadership of the ANCA, we will continue to work toward true justice and reparations.
It took 106 years of Armenian Americans fighting for their cause every year to have the United States recognize the Armenian Genocide. The fight doesn’t just end here. This is only the beginning. No matter how long it takes, Armenians will never stop fighting for justice.