By Taleen Babayan
Special to the Mirror-Spectator
UPPER SADDLE RIVER, N.J. — The seeds of political activism were planted in Nvair Beylerian at a young age. Waking up one Saturday morning as a 7-year-old, she spotted her Armenian dance costume, resplendent and long-flowing with its traditional embroidery, hanging on her closet door, no doubt placed there by her mother who taught folkloric dances from the highlands of ancient Armenia. That dress was in fact more than a costume — it echoed the cultural footsteps of a people who had been torn apart across the world, reincarnating a New Armenia in these pockets of the Diaspora. Rolling down New York City’s 5th Avenue on a Map of Armenia float later that afternoon, young Nvair waved at the large crowds as fellow Diasporans yelled into the microphone, “Recognize the Armenian Genocide!”
That symbolic afternoon, all those decades ago, is her first clear memory of witnessing the power of activism right before her eyes. Those calls for justice continued to ring in her ear as she devoted a life not only to important Armenian causes but to a greater purpose of education and equality — and it was a moment that stayed with her when she recently announced her run for Borough Council of Upper Saddle River, NJ, in an election set to take place in the fall.
A Bergen County native, Beylerian accepted a bid to run for local politics following the devastating Parkland, Fla., shooting last April, when a student opened gunfire on his fellow classmates, killing 17 in cold blood. She was in awe as she watched the victimized students rise from tragedy and create a platform for change.
“I was so inspired by the young people who pulled themselves together, organized and engaged an entire generation, and then some, in their message,” said Beylerian. “They were speaking truth to power.”