LOS ANGELES, CA – A capacity crowd filled the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles at the second annual “Silence the Lies! Rock the Truth!” concert on April 24th to commemorate the Armenian Genocide. Various artists, bands and community leaders came together to send a powerful message to rock the truth of the Armenian Genocide and bring an end Turkey’s 95 years of shameful denial. The ANCA-WR and AYF-WR were joined by the AGBU, Serjical Strike Records, Alpha Gamma Alpha Sorority and Knoup Presents in co-hosting the event.
Featured speakers and community leaders during the concert were California State Assemblymember Anthony Portantino (D-44) and James Lafferty, KPFK host and Executive Director of the National Lawyers Guild, Los Angeles Chapter. Speaking to a crowd of over 700 youth, Portantino and Lafferty highlighted the importance of perseverance, determination, and activism in the struggle to end Turkey’s gag rule.
“The fact that Turkey is an ally is no excuse for immorality,” stated James Lafferty. “There are some truths that are so potent, so powerful, and so undeniable, that you can bury them for 10, 20, and even 95 years, but you can’t bury them forever. If you keep marching, if you keep raising your voices, if you keep strong, and if you remember that history is on your side, the truth will prevail.”
This year, with House Resolution 252 passing the Foreign Affairs Committee of the United States Congress and President Obama’s failure to properly recognize the Armenian Genocide, commemoration events all across the United States were extraordinarily poignant.
“The State of California officially recognizes and commemorates the Armenian Genocide,” said Assemblymember Anthony Portantino (D-44). “Now we have to get Washington to do the same thing, and we have to get Turkey to do the same. Because what affects one of us, affects all of us,” he added.
Silence the Lies! Rock the Truth! is an annual social justice concert dedicated to exposing the denial of the Armenian Genocide and raising awareness of this horrible crime against humanity. This year, the lineup featured Viza and Element and guest artists Dirty Diamond and Rapper R-Mean. As a part of its benevolent mission, concert organizers donated the proceeds to The Armenian Relief Society’s “Armenia-Artsakh Orphan Project” and the Bird’s Nest Orphanage in Lebanon.
Andrew Kzirian, a member of the headlining band Viza and long-time activist, explained the importance of holding such events for the Armenian-American community. “Events such as this speak out to the youth and to the public very clearly, especially when the messaging is so significant to human rights and our community,” said Kzirian.