Students, leaders remember genocide

Alecia Foster

NORTHWEST GLENDALE -- Toll Middle School student Henrik Garibyan

wondered when all the violence in society would stop.

"Who knows? We need to work together unopposed," he readfrom his poem

"Unity for All."

Garibyan was one of several students and community members Monday

sharing their thoughts and music with Toll students on the subjects of

the Armenian Genocide and social justice.

"It's not a day for mourning," said City Councilman Rafi Manoukian.

"It's a day of remembrance."

April 24, 1915, was the day the genocide began in Turkey, Manoukian


"That's when the leadership of the Armenian community was eliminated,"

he said.

In the end, 2 million Armenians were eventually relocated or killed by

the forces of the Ottoman-Turkish Empire.

Alex Sardar, executive director of the Armenian National Committee,

said knowing the history of the genocide or any other struggle is the

first step toward becoming an activist against social injustices.

"We have to make sure we keep learning about that history," he said,

adding that it should be should be shared with as many people as


Sardar encouraged students to use their knowledge to become "warriors

of a cause" even in fighting injustices suffered by their ancestors, he


"The importance of that is when we're all gone ... there will be the

day when we will come face to face with our ancestors," Sardar said.

"I want to be able to look into the eyes of my great-grandmother and

say, 'I did not sit back,' " he said.

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