Irvington students advocate for Armenian Genocide awareness on 100th anniversary
April 21, 2015
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By Vivian Chu and Srija Srinivasan | Staff Writers
April 24 marks 100 years since the 1915 Armenian Genocide, and to help spread awareness, juniors Natalie Azizian and Yajna Casiano presented about the historical event and its impact on the Armenian community in Ms. Byrne’s history class.
“After Natalie and Yajna presented their information on the Armenian genocide, my third period class was asked what we could do to show our support for the Armenian people,” Ms. Byrne said. “Natalie mentioned that purple is the color representing the genocide for its 100th year anniversary, and as a community, we decided that we would wear purple fabric around our wrists to show our support for the Armenian people.” Ms. Byrne also suggested that the Irvington administration facilitate a moment of silence in remembrance of those affected by the genocide.
As a member of the Armenian Youth Federation, Azizian plans on attending protests with the Bay Area’s Armenian community.
“We try to get involved in the Armenian community as much as possible so that we learn about our culture and history,” she said. “We had a protest at Mt. Davidson, an Armenian Genocide memorial in San Francisco. Armenians in Los Angeles are also protesting in front of the Turkish consulate. In the past, I’ve also gone to an Armenian Genocide march near the Golden Gate Bridge.”
Historically, the Christian Armenians experienced much religious persecution in the officially Muslim Ottoman Empire, and more than half of the Armenian population was systematically killed. Today, people worldwide protest the Turkish and American governments’ denials of the mass killings.
“Each year, there is a different color and symbol for the cause to help people recognize it. An example of a past symbol includes a pomegranate, the national fruit of Armenia. If you want to help raise awareness for the Armenian Genocide, social media is a good way of doing it,” Azizian added. “You can #armeniangenocide or #turkeyfailed on Instagram, Facebook, and other forms of social media.
This year, the symbol chosen to represent the cause for awareness is the purple forget-me-not, symbolizing that the Armenian people will never forget the genocide their families went through.