NEW YORK — For the first time in two years — and since President Joe Biden’s landmark Armenian Genocide affirmation — scores of resilient and spirited Armenian Americans gathered in Times Square, New York, on Sunday, April 24, to commemorate the 107th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, in a momentous event organized by the Knights and Daughters of Vartan.
Key elected officials such as Senators Bob Menendez and Chuck Schumer, who for decades fought for US recognition of the first genocide of the 20th century, once again graced the podium, and remarked on the symbolic victory of Armenian Genocide affirmation by the US.
The Tekeyan Cultural Association of the United States and Canada, a co-sponsor of the event, was represented by its executive director, Aram Arkun. He paid tribute to the pioneering work of Sam Azadian, who helped secure one of the most prominent locales in the world to inform the world about the Genocide nearly four decades ago, the many years of service of Hirant Gulian, and the efforts of succeeding generation of leaders of the Knights and Daughters of Vartan.
Pointing to the front row, Arkun exclaimed that the Armenian Genocide survivors who used to sit there several decades ago were no longer with us and even the generation of their children is largely gone from the scene, leaving the third generation as the last with direct contact with eyewitness survivors, while denial of the Genocide continues. Collectively, Armenians are left with the powerful obligation to transmit their memory, cull lessons from their experiences, and pass on the torch for the struggle for justice, not just for Armenians but for other oppressed peoples and subjects of genocide, to new generations. He added that Armenians today are facing another existential crisis, but if they come together, they can overcome it.
“I am so proud that we put legislation on the floor and finally got America to recognize the genocide against the Armenian people,” said Senator and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). “For too long throughout history, nations of the world turned a blind eye to one of the most shameful episodes of human history, and for years I called on both parties to lead the world by example and to define the atrocity for what it was, a genocide, and finally those tireless efforts culminated last year in a huge milestone when President Biden recognized the genocide.”
Schumer commended the “hardworking and successful” Armenian-American community for their persistence and hard work, and highlighted their efforts to never forget their ancestors who died in peril.