Los Angeles, CA – Over 1,500 Armenian-American and anti-genocide activists flooded the streets of Culver City on Thursday, April 21 to protest President Obama’s failure to honor his pledge to recognize the Armenian Genocide, reported the Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region (ANCA-WR).
The protest, which took place in front of Obama’s campaign fundraiser at the Sony Picture Studios, was organized by the Armenian Genocide Community Task Force and included Grammy Award-winning artist Serj Tankian along with Armenian American community leaders and activists young and old from throughout the Southland. Armenian American TV icon Kim Kardashian alerted her 7.2 million twitter and blog followers about the demonstration and encouraged them to participate in Easter Sunday’s National Day of Prayer commemorating this crime.
“As President Obama embarks on his re-election campaign, the Armenian American community, anti-genocide activists, and people of good conscience are still waiting for him to demonstrate Presidential leadership to fulfill his 2008 promise by reaffirming the Armenian Genocide,” stated ANCA Western Region Chairman Andrew Kzirian.
Serj Tankian led the energized crowd in chants of “As President, I will recognize the Genocide,” referencing Obama’s January 18, 2008 statement pledging to call this evil by its rightful name. With the international day of commemoration of this crime just days away on April 24th, protesters called on the President to visit the Armenian Genocide Martyrs Memorial, located just miles away in Montebello.
One demonstrator made a powerful statement without uttering a word by coming dressed up as the Statue of Liberty with a Turkish flag covering her mouth and holding a sign urging President Obama to “End Turkey’s Gag Rule over America – Recognize the Armenian Genocide”. The costume and the sign reference the unspoken gag rule Turkey has placed on the United States Administration, through threats and intimidation, from speaking publicly and honestly about the Armenian Genocide.
In a series of letters and statements issued as Senator and candidate, President Obama pledged to clearly and unequivocally end U.S. complicity in Turkey’s genocide denial and properly recognize this crime against humanity. He has yet to honor that pledge, resorting to euphemistic language to describe the murder of over 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Turkish government from 1915-1923. The complete set of Senator Obama’s statements on the Armenian Genocide are can be found at: http://anca.org/change/docs/Obama_Armenian_Genocide.pdf
The April 21st protest was part of a series of events commemorating the Armenian Genocide in the Southland. On Saturday, community members will gather at Armenian Genocide Martyrs Monument at Bicknell Park in Montebello for a commemorative event at 11AM, which will be followed by a candle light vigil and concert at the same location at 7PM.
On Easter Sunday, Armenian-Americans will gather for a protest at the Turkish Consulate on Wilshire Boulevard at 4PM, after attending Easter Service where they will participate in a National Day of Prayer in celebration of Easter and in honor of the Armenian Genocide.
For the first time in 150 years, Easter and April 24 will fall on the same day, and people of faith all over the world are being asked to pray with Armenians as a part of “Resurrection and Recognition: National Day of Prayer on April 24.” The Conference of European Churches and World Council of Churches have called on their member churches to pray with Armenians this Easter for the resurrection of the Armenian people from the ashes of Genocide.
“We commend the World Council of Churches and Armenian religious leaders in leading Christian communities across the U.S. in this National Day of Prayer,” said Rostom Sarkissian, Senior Advisor to the ANCA WR Board of Directors. “This year’s Easter celebration on April 24th not only marks the resurrection of Christ but the rebirth of the Armenian Nation from the ashes of the Genocide.”
For more information regarding the National Day of Prayer, visit http://www.facebook.com/dayofprayer.
The Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots advocacy organization in the Western United States. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the Western United States and affiliated organizations around the country, the ANCA-WR advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.