ANC-IL hosts inaugural flag raising in three cities

The Armenian National Committee of Illinois (ANC-IL) launched its first annual April 24th flag raising. Three cities in Illinois – Chicago, North Chicago and Waukegan – paid tribute and  honored the memory of the martyred saints on the 108th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.

Mayor Leon Rockingham, Jr. of North Chicago and Mayor Ann Taylor of Waukegan demonstrated their support for the Armenian community by holding proclamation and flag raising ceremonies. These trailblazing actions signify a step toward acknowledging the struggles and sacrifices of the Armenian people and raise awareness about the Armenian Genocide and the ongoing blockade in Artsakh. 

The Armenian flag is raised for the very first time in the North Chicago City Hall (Photo: Aris Buechele)

Turkey has yet to accept responsibility for perpetrating the Armenian Genocide, but it was officially acknowledged by President Joe Biden in 2021. Descendants of survivors continue to campaign for justice.

“The goal is to see the Armenian flag being flown in every city throughout Illinois on April 24th,” said ANC-IL co-chair Anoush Bargamian. “Raising the flag raises awareness and honors our martyred saints. These observances are also meant to call attention to the blockade by Azerbaijan, with the backing of Turkey, against the Republic of Artsakh and its people.”

The flag raising ceremonies were attended by Hayr Soorp Boghos Serj Tinkjian, pastor of Armenian All Saints Apostolic Church in Glenview, and Rev. Fr. Andreas Garabedian of Chicago’s St. Gregory the Illuminator Church. Before a small gathering of people, Hayr Soorp Tinkjian spoke and offered prayers for the martyred saints, fallen soldiers and the people of Artsakh.

On April 21, Mayor Rockingham read the proclamation and said, “We also mark this day citywide, observe the solemnity of this event and the contributions by the Armenian community to this city.” Following the proclamation, a moving ceremony took place that included prayers and blessings for the Armenian flag. As the flag was raised, the crowd joined together in singing “Mer Hairenik.”

The blockade of Artsakh has been gaining attention due to the looming threat of continuing genocide. “As of December 2022, Azerbaijani troops have cut off the only humanitarian lifeline… food, fuel, medicine to 120,000 indigenous people,” explained ANC-IL co-chair Ken Hachikian, who offered remarks at both events. “Their objective is to exterminate them by starving them out. House Resolution 108 calls for the end of aid to Azerbaijan and aid to Artsakh. Please call your legislators. Your participation makes a difference; get involved.”

Clergy, activists and community members at the first annual April 24th flag raising at Chicago’s Richard J. Daley Plaza (Photo: Aris Buechele)

On April 24, there was a two-hour demonstration organized by the AYF Chicago “Ararat” Chapter at Chicago’s Daley Plaza. The ANC-IL arranged for the noon flag raising with a 375-square foot Armenian flag, hoisted by AYF activists. The flag raising ceremony was attended by honored clergy, members of the Armenian community, as well as leaders including the Honorary Consulate of the Republic of Armenia in Chicago Oscar Tatosian.

That afternoon, Waukegan Mayor Taylor read her city’s proclamation recognizing the date as “Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day.” She emphasized that the descendants have been steadfast in keeping their heritage, language and culture while contributing to the state and nation. Raising awareness of the Armenian Genocide is crucial to the prevention of other genocides.

Mayor Ann Taylor holding the proclamation with ANC-IL co-chairs Armen Alexanian, Anoush Bargamian and Ken Hachikian at the Waukegan first annual April 24th flag raising ceremony (Photo: Aris Buechele)

During the Waukegan ceremony, Hachikian remarked that there is a long history of the Armenian community in Waukegan for over 100 years, making it fitting to raise the flag in the area, which is also referred to as “Little Armenia.” Both cities observed “Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day” by raising the tricolor and reading proclamations in honor of the Armenian community.

ANC-IL co-chair and master of ceremonies for all three city flag raisings Armen Alexanian shared, “Every 30 to 40 years, we always come to this kind of heartache (genocide), and now we have the blockade of Artsakh. It keeps going on, and we  have to stop this.” Alexanian mentioned the Musa Dagh resistance during the Genocide and urged people to follow its example today, referencing the book Forty Days of Musa Dagh.

“Raising the Armenian flag and observing the Armenian Genocide in these cities serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of acknowledging historical events,” said Bargamian, emphasizing that “such actions are necessary to prevent the recurrence of humanitarian crises, such as the one currently unfolding in Artsakh.”

Guest Contributor

Guest Contributor

Guest contributions to the Armenian Weekly are informative articles or press releases written and submitted by members of the community.


  1. So proud of you ANC of Illinois, and AYF Chicago ‘Ararat’ Chapter! You are the epitome of the Armenian spirit. Your leadership and activism educates, inspires, and motivates
    all who struggle for and support the Armenian/Artsakh Cause! Keep up the great work!

  2. Looks like your heart remains in Chicago, Hazel. So nice to hear from you. Hope you are well.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.