From left, Fr. Krikor Zakaryan (St. Vartan, Oakland); Fr. Smbad Saboundjian (St. Gregory; San Francisco) (photo Eric Panosian)

Bay Area Armenians ‘Bridge’ Connection to Homeland on the Golden Gate Bridge

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Special to the Mirror-Spectator

Going towards the bridge (photo Kim Bardakian)

SAN FRANCISCO – Nearly five thousand Bay Area Armenian residents and supporters marched over a mile along the iconic Golden Gate Bridge on Saturday, October 10, to raise a unified voice in protest of Azerbaijian’s egregious attacks against Artsakh and Armenia. The march, sponsored and organized by the San Francisco Rosdom Chapter of the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF), was peaceful and dignified as the community not only bridged the gap between their homeland of Armenia and Artsakh, but it was a symbolic and unified stance against Azerbaijan’s and Turkey’s continued human rights violations and attacks.

On the bridge (photo Kim Bardakian)

As Mayor John Goodwin of neighboring Colma joined community and church leaders, he proclaimed, “Today, we are all Armenians” to the cheers of thousands. The peaceful and unified protest was joined by upstanders of all ages, from all facets of the community. Fr. Smbad Saboundjian of Saint Gregory’s Armenian Apostolic Church, Fr. Datev Harutyunian of St. Andrew Armenian Church, Father Mesrop Ash of Saint John’s Armenian Church, and Father Krikor Zakaryan of Saint Vartan Armenian Apostolic Church led the group in a unified force across the bridge – a bridge which symbolizes unity and the American spirit.

By the girders of the bridge (photo Kim Bardakian)

AYF member and KZV Armenian School graduate Krikor Der Abrahamian articulated the importance of standing up for justice through this and future marches in support of the war. He stated, “It is a humanitarian issue at the end of the day…it’s something every person should care about.”

In the waters near the bridge (photo Kim Bardakian)

This protest was especially important to the Bay Area community as the Krouzian-Zekarian-Vasbouragan (KZV) School, the Bay Area’s only Armenian day school, was riddled with bullets last month in an early morning shooting, following an earlier attack where the school was spray painted with hateful Azerbaijani slogans and expletives in the middle of the night. San Francisco’s Saint Gregory’s Armenian Church was just recently attacked through arson which shocked the Bay Area community, but has catalyzed Bay Area Armenians to stand up against all forms of hatred. KZV Armenian School Principal Mrs. Grace Andonian articulated, “as educators, it is our job to not only teach our children the importance and strength of our language and culture, but our duty to teach the world about the trickle-down effect of man’s inhumanity to man. we are strong and united, and we must protect our homeland.”

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