At a colorful, well-stocked display set up in the quad last week, a rotating collection of the 50 La Cañada High School’s Armenian Club members lured their peers with pastries and sandwiches and then opened up about some of their culture history.
“We’re trying to raise awareness about the culture, maybe diminish stereotypes,” said Haig Manoukian, a junior who is the club’s president. “But also to raise awareness of the genocide.”
Several members of the club were excused from school by administrators on Monday, April 24 — Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day — to join thousands of others for the March for Justice. The 1.5-mile trek through Los Angeles that ends annually at the Turkish embassy, freshman Alec Tujian explained, is a sign of protesters’ desire that the Turkish government admit that it orchestrated the first genocide of the 20th century.
“We’re here and we’re not going to leave,” he said. “That’s our goal here, and it’s very, very important for the younger generation — as my parents keep telling me — not to forget.”
And to explain to others: “Basically, we’ve had a lot of kids come up, and the people who do know about it, they know that Turkey said it didn’t happen,” Manoukian said. “And our response to that is that it’s not that they don’t think it happened, it’s that they refuse to call it what it actually was. The analogy I made for the younger kids was that it’s like if the Germans didn’t acknowledge the Holocaust.”
The club — which throughout the year also worked in support of the Armenian Lighthouse Foundation and helped decorate the American Armenian Rose Float Association’s parade entry, had plans to get together to watch “The Promise,” a major-release historical drama set during the Armenian Genocide on Sunday at the UA Theaters in LCF.
“This is a great, great, great club,” Tujian said. “It’s very interesting.”