LOS ANGELES/NEW YORK – The Armenian community has produced a formidable social media presence since the tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan reached a new peak on July 12. Armenian organizations, activists, and even meme accounts have taken to their platforms to compensate for the lack of coverage the conflict has received in mainstream American media.
Each of these pamphlet-like Instagram posts uses infographics to highlight a particular issue and provide users with actionable steps they can take to make a difference. These types of posts have become especially prominent during the COVID-19 pandemic as mental health, worldwide human rights issues, and the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement are of particular concern.
Armenian youth are at the core of this united endeavor to amplify Armenian issues. Sixteen-year-old Alique Keleshian of La Crescenta, CA created the informational post above. Explicitly directed towards non-Armenian users, this viral post has received nearly 13,000 likes on Instagram. Alique was compelled to make this post after she noticed that her outspoken non-Armenian friends were failing to spread awareness about Armenia.
She exclaimed: “I was angry and frustrated about people choosing what issues are worthy of attention. It made me upset because those people who weren’t posting live in a really big Armenian community. My main goal was to get people to open their eyes to what is happening in Armenia and call them out for ignoring it and not posting about.”
In New York City, 16-year-old Sarine Zeitlian also utilizes Instagram to pursue justice and raise awareness for the Armenian cause. Her numerous posts about Armenian history, culture, and the current Armenian political climate have amassed over 30,000 likes on Instagram.
Sarine said: “All of this has inspired me to be more vocal… After the first graphic I made I realized people really liked the information I was sharing, so I geared myself toward activism.”