On April 24, thousands of people spent their day in Los Angeles to march in commemoration of the 102nd anniversary of the Armenian genocide. Organized by Unified Young Armenians, the march began at around 10 AM in Little Armenia. The marchers put traffic to a halt and filled the streets with “Shame on Turkey” chants and Armenian flags.
In a second march, held by the Armenian Genocide Committee, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti made an appearance. “Whenever there is a lie, we speak what? The truth,” said Garcetti. “May our voices from Mount Hollywood be heard all the way on Mount Ararat. This community can not only not be silenced, this community can never, never be destroyed.”
In 1915, the Ottoman Empire killed 1.5 million Armenians in the genocide, also known as the Armenian Holocaust, which occurred in Turkey during World War I. The reason behind this atrocity was the Muslim Ottoman government’s attempt to persecute and “exterminate” the Armenian Christians residing in modern-day Turkey. These Armenian Christians were deported, expropriated, abducted, tortured, and starved to death. According to armenian-genocide.org, they were sent into the desert to die of thirst and hunger, as they were expelled from Armenia and Anatolia to Syria.
The abuses and deportations were witnessed by American missionaries and diplomatic representatives, who sent news to the outside world. This had been unknown because the Ottoman government restricted such knowledge from being released to the world through reports and photography. When it was released to the world, countries, such as Great Britain, France, and Russia, warned the Turk leaders that they would “be held personally responsible for this crime against humanity.” The United States also conducted relief efforts to aid the Armenians. Though the genocide was acknowledged internationally, Turkey showed no sympathy.
To this day, Turkey refuses to acknowledge the genocide and believes that the term, “genocide,” is inaccurate for the mass killings. However, 29 other countries and 43 states in America have officially recognized the Armenian genocide as a bona fide historical event.
Besides the march in Los Angeles, other communities also acknowledged the genocide through events and other marches. For example, the Armenian clubs at the high schools in the Glendale Unified School District collectively came together to celebrate their 16th annual Armenian Genocide event. Also, the Unified Young Armenians in Glendale, California, held a candlelight vigil to honor the lives of those who died in the genocide.