Merrimack Valley ANC Honors Trio with Freedom Awards

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CHELMSFORD, Mass.—A former mayor who designated a parcel of land for an elaborate genocide monument at Lowell City Hall.

Daniel Varoujan Hejinian, David Boyajian, James Milinazzo

A consummate journalist from Greater Boston who stops at nothing to bring homage and proper recognition to his beloved nation.

A relentless artist from Chelmsford who erects billboards and promotes world understanding through an organization he has founded and perpetuated.

All three will be presented the coveted ANC Freedom Award from the Armenian National Committee (ANC) of Merrimack Valley (MV).

The event will take place on Sat., Dec. 5, at the Kazanjian Memorial Pavilion of Sts. Vartanantz Church, 180 Old Westford Rd., during a 120th anniversary celebration by the Lowell “Aharonian” Gomideh.

The recipients—James Milinazzo, David Boyajian, and Daniel Varoujan Hejinian—will be presented tokens of appreciation for service above self. Each has made a visible impact on the welfare of Armenians in the Merrimack Valley community.

“When one equates quintessential milestones for any organization, the Lowell ARF stands supreme and domineering after 120 years as the first organized Gomideh in the United States,” said Aram Jeknavorian, chairman. “The commitment of time, energy, workmanship, and spirit is truly a tenet to celebrate and manifest toward future generations.”

Milinazzo served as mayor in 2013 when approached by the Gomideh to erect a memorial. Never did the organizers suspect that the land would be by the staircase at Lowell City Hall, where the tricolor flies every April 24.

It marked the first time any ethnic marker of this sort was erected on government land throughout the United States.

Hejinian created the design and provided the impetus for “The Mother’s Hands” motif, which has gained universal applause for its emotional setting. For 20 years, every April, Hejinian has financed billboards commemorating the genocide across the state.

His organization, Peace of Art, is a pragmatic invitation to bring awareness to the human condition, opening dialogue about controversial matters of human concern while promoting peaceful solutions to conflict.

Boyajian has made his impact with the written and oral word, combining both mediums to stir the controversial pot. The activist continues to set the record straight, encouraging cities to cut ties with the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) “No Place for Hate” program. Much of it was conducted inside the MV communities where he maintains close relationships.

Three others will also be honored with Community Service recognitions:
The Lowell Sun newspaper, for its constant publication of Armenian events and forum articles, in addition to its welcoming coverage of April 24 observances.

Jennifer Doak, a social students instructor at Chelmsford High School, for the genocide curriculum she has taught her students over the past decade, resulting in classroom presentations from the Armenian Genocide Education Committee of MV and panel discussions featuring other beleaguered nations.

And, Kathy Cryan-Hicks, the assistant director of programs and community relations at Chelmsford Public Library, for taking a proactive stand during this Armenian Genocide Centennial by hosting library programs and a major photo exhibit that underscored the theme of human rights and Armenia’s infrastructure. All were widely attended, especially from the outside community.

The evening will also celebrate the talent of young oud virtuoso Datev Gevorkian, son of Sona and Alan Gevorkian of Bedford.

The event will begin at 6:30 p.m. with cocktails, followed by dinner at 7 p.m., then the program. Admission is $50 for adults and $15 for children under 12. For reservations, e-mail either Armen Jeknavorian ( or Tom Vartabedian (

Source: Armenian Weekly
Link: Merrimack Valley ANC Honors Trio with Freedom Awards