NEW YORK, N.Y. – On Friday April 22, the Armenian National Committee of New York (ANC of NY) hosted an Armenian Genocide commemoration at the Armenian Center in Queens, NY. In addition to commemorating the memory of the innocent victims of the first genocide of modern times, the event this year also featured an update regarding the situation in Artsakh and ANCA’s ongoing activities geared toward supporting and protecting NKR.
The program was opened by the ANC of NY Chairman Nazareth Markarian, who invited the New York Hamazkayin Dzirani Children’s Choir soloists to sing the Armenian national anthem. The program was followed by a moment of silence for all the fallen soldiers and civilians in Artsakh as a result of Azerbaijan’s warmongering in early April. Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian from St. Illuminator’s cathedral and Rev. Fr. Nareg Tertrian from St. Sarkis church also offered a prayer.
During his presentation, Stephen Mesrobian, Chairman of the ANCA Eastern Region Board of Directors, touched upon the operations of ANCA, its structure as a grassroots advocacy organization, recent achievements, and planned activities for the future all the while encouraging the attendees to become more active with the ongoing action alerts and campaigns. Mr. Mesrobian’s presentation covered the pro-Artsakh advocacy efforts, which include congressional meetings, media campaigns, demonstrations, coalition building, and other initiatives aimed at stopping the Azerbaijani aggression as well as calling for an investigation of the Azerbaijani war crimes perpetrated during the 4-day war of April 2-5, 2016. He also discussed what can be done to improve grassroots advocacy and encouraged all to embrace the American political system through different means, such as writing letters, participating in grassroots activities, and taking a more active role within local ANCs. “The greatest thing we can all do is to get engaged,” Mesrobian noted.
The keynote speaker of the event was George Aghjayan, who runs the Armenian Genealogy project and also serves as the ANC of Central Massachusetts Chairman. His presentation revolved around the idea of the Armenian identity being under attack. He noted that this process is taking place from Artsakh to Armenia, from Syria and the Middle East to Western Armenia as well as the the assimilation in the diaspora. In his remarks Aghjayan noted that, “You cannot accumulate all that was lost in the genocide.” He further discussed the connection between Armenian identity and the physical land. He illustrated this by explaining the Armenian DNA project through which he was able to trace his family lineage and find his grandmother’s sister’s descendants. “Our people were born as a people on those lands,” said Aghjayan.
The presentations were accompanied with musical performances by New York Hamazkayin Dzirani Children’s Choir led by director Kevork Hadjian with soloists Sarine Zeitlian, Anahit Indzhigulyan, AnnMarie Hazarian, and Bedros Hovanessian as well as the violinists of the Arminstring Ensemble directed by Diana Vasilian who performed various Armenian melodies.
Toward the end of the program the audience was introduced to the “Armenian Remembrance Day” proclamation of the New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo. The event was concluded with a fundraiser for the families of the fallen and injured soldiers in Artsakh, a special vocal performance by tenor Kevork Hadjian followed by a blessing of the tables by Rev. Fr. Lakissian and Rev. Fr. Terterian.
Photos from the event are available here.