AYF Boston Chapter demands justice for the Genocide after 107 years

March for Justice led by the AYF Greater Boston “Nejdeh” Chapter, April 22, 2022

BOSTON, Mass. — Dozens of community members marched through the busy and historic streets of Boston on Friday afternoon to raise awareness about the Armenian Genocide that occurred over a century ago. 

The protest was led by the Greater Boston “Nejdeh” Chapter of the Armenian Youth Federation-Youth Organization of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (AYF-YOARF).  

“I’m marching because I’m Armenian, and it’s important to me that the Genocide is recognized,” said Antranig Douglas, who serves on the executive of the AYF Middlesex County “Musa Ler” Chapter. Douglas, who says his great-grandfather fled Gesaria during the 1915 Genocide, is a student at the University of Vermont. He drove down to Boston to march with his peers and honor his ancestors. “I wish we didn’t have to be doing this 107 years later. Most of us agree that this is a pretty pivotal moment right now,” he continued, referencing Azerbaijan’s ongoing aggressions in Artsakh amid the international community’s heightened concerns with the war in Ukraine.  

The group started at Armenian Heritage Park and made its way through Faneuil Hall Marketplace, City Hall and Boston Common, all bustling with tourists and local families on April vacation. On the route, Douglas was one of several AYF members who hustled to captive passersby and even a Boston Duck Boat stuck in afternoon traffic and invited them to scan a QR code on their posters for more information.

“We want everyone to know about [the Armenian Genocide],” stressed AYF Greater Boston “Nejdeh” Chapter member Alina Ouligian while marching through Boston Common. “When people don’t want to scan a QR code that takes two seconds out of their day, it makes me angry. It feels like more denial of the Genocide. It makes me think no one wants to know about our history. Once people know what happened, then they’ll also want justice like we do.”

Indeed, this pursuit of justice has been a responsibility shouldered by generations of Diasporan Armenians. “I’m marching to remember the victims of the 1915 Armenian Genocide, and although the US has recognized the atrocities, we still would like to see recognition from Turkey and also reparations for what they did,” shared AYF Greater Boston “Nejdeh” Chapter member and Northeastern University student Emin Abrahamian before his turn on the megaphone on Friday.

Vatche Seraderian was one of a handful of parents who brought his children to the march. “It’s all part of awareness and participation and pride of being part of the [Armenian] cause that is undeniable and unforgettable,” said Seraderian, while proudly carrying the Armenian tricolor. “I want the kids to be aware of this from a young age so they can be a part of change in this world.”

The two-mile walk ended outside the Consulate General of Turkey on St. James Avenue, where AYF Central Executive member Meghri Dervartanian led the group in a series of emotional chants. Dervartanian informed the protesters that the office of Consul General Ceylan Özen Erişen rejected a letter written by the AYF Greater Boston “Nejdeh” Chapter, demanding recognition, restitution and reparations.

“We are not afraid,” said Gayane Khaligian, “We are going to come back year after year because our work will not be finished until our demands are met.”

During a spontaneous and heartfelt message, Dervartanian urged her fellow protesters to take on the spirit of an Armenian soldier: “You can fight by writing, by speaking, by advocating and by living up to what our ancestors would have hoped to see—a united Armenia.”

Many of those who participated in the Friday afternoon demonstration will return to the city on Saturday, the eve of the Armenian Genocide anniversary, for a commemoration at Armenian Heritage Park. 

 

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Leeza Arakelian

Leeza Arakelian

Assistant Editor
Leeza Arakelian is the assistant editor of the Armenian Weekly. She is a graduate of UCLA and Emerson College. Leeza has written and produced for local and network television news including Boston 25 and Al Jazeera America.
Leeza Arakelian

@LeezaYeretzian

Assistant editor @armenianweekly, former @boston25 writer, former associate producer @AmericaTonight (AJAM), @ecjrn 2012, @ucla 2010 ([email protected])
RT @ArmenianWeekly: Rev. Dr. Avedis Boynerian has fulfilled his purpose at Armenian Memorial Church after ~19 yrs on the pulpit. @LeezaYer - 5 days ago

1 Comment

  1. Bravo to the AYF and God bless these informed and
    dedicated young Armenians. The struggle will continue!!

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