Philadelphia Armenians Commemorate 101st Anniversary of Genocide
Hold Dilworth Park Sit-in
By Sareen Streeter
The Philadelphia Armenian community held a sit-in protest in Dilworth Park on April 23, to commemorate the 1.5 million Armenians who were brutally massacred 101 years ago.
Attendees gathered at 1 S 15th Street in downtown Philadelphia to raise awareness about the atrocities committed against the Armenians by the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1923, as well as the continued Turkish denial of this unforgettable crime.
The program, which lasted from 12-4 p.m., began with prayers by Rev. Nishan Bakalian (Armenian Martyrs Church), Rev. Fr. Hakob Gevorgyan (Holy Trinity), Rev. Thomas Garabedian (St. Marks), and Very Rev. Fr. Oshagan Gulgulian (St. Sahag and St. Mesrob Church), representing local Armenian Churches in the greater Philadelphia area, followed by the singing of the U.S. and Armenian national anthems by Alisia Handian.
Guest speaker Arpy Minasian, a board member of the Philadelphia Armenian Inter-Communal Committee, gave a remarkable speech, which highlighted the current challenges Armenians are facing today, particularly in Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabagh Republic/NKR).
Lena Ohannesian spoke next. She told the crowd about her family’s genocide story and what brutalities her grandmother witnessed and endured.
Following her remarks, an hour of silence was initiated to commemorate and remember victims of the genocide. In the meantime, the crowd was invited to approach the large cardboard cutout maps of Greater Armenia and indicate where they were from with a red sticker.
The youth spread out around City Hall holding posters and duct taping their mouths shut to represent denial.
Many members of the community also passed out information sheets about the Armenian Genocide to educate the public.
Sareen and Nare Minasian broke the silence by telling their families’ genocide story and what both sides of their families faced and overcame.
Students of the Armenian Sisters Academy followed by singing commemorative songs. The best was saved for last when the Hamazkayin Meghry Dance group stopped traffic by performing multiple Armenian dances. They invited the crowd, along with Americans passing by, to join them in a “shourch bar” around city hall.
To learn more about this event and other related commemorative events taking place in the greater Philadelphia area, visit http://www.armeniangenocidewalk.com. To view photographs and videos from the event, visit https://www.facebook.com/ArmenianGenocidePhilly.
Source: Armenian Weekly Mid-Atlantic