Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Armenian Genocide commemoration will switch to humanitarian effort

Dancers with the Zvartnots Dance Ensemble perform during the city of Glendale’s Armenian Genocide commemorative event at the Alex Theatre in 2017. This year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the annual performance will not be presented, replaced by a humanitarian effort to support Feeding America.(File Photo)
Dancers with the Zvartnots Dance Ensemble perform during the city of Glendale’s Armenian Genocide commemorative event at the Alex Theatre in 2017. This year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the annual performance will not be presented, replaced by a humanitarian effort to support Feeding America.(File Photo)

The 105th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide will be commemorated on Friday. However, because of the coronavirus pandemic, the annual March for Justice in downtown Los Angeles and performance featuring speakers, musical and dance groups at the Alex Theatre in Glendale won’t take place.

Instead, the Armenian community is organizing a humanitarian fundraiser to support Feeding America, a hunger relief organization with a nationwide network of food banks feeding the hungry.

The effort is in honor of the Near East Relief, which was a large-scale humanitarian operation formed by the United States in the 1920s to help Armenian Genocide survivors, including saving 132,000 Armenian orphans, and establishing more than 400 refugee centers, hospitals, vocational schools and orphanages, according to officials with the Armenian National Committee of America, Western Region, or ANCA-WR, in Glendale.

“In times of crisis, it is important we remind ourselves how great acts of human generosity can carry our communities through tremendous adversity,” Armen Sahakyan, executive director of ANCA-WR, said in a statement.

“The Armenian people witnessed that firsthand during the darkest days of our history — the still-unpunished Armenian Genocide of 1915-1923 — when the American people banded together to form the Near East Relief,” he added.

During the annual March for Justice, tens of thousands of Armenians take to the streets in L.A., calling on Turkey to recognize the Armenian Genocide. The Ottoman Empire, now modern-day Turkey, led the genocide.

“As the descendants of those survivors, to express our collective gratitude to the American people for their generosity as well as honor the courage and selflessness of the humanitarians and frontline workers who have come to our aid both then and today, the Armenian American community has come together to assist fellow citizens affected by COVID-19,” Sahakyan said.

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