Raising Genocide Awareness


The 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide is a significant milestone, particularly for the large Armenian-American population in Glendale and its surrounding cities. Two upcoming events this April are among the many taking place during Genocide Awareness Month, which commemorates the events of 1915 while exploring the root causes of genocide and what can be done to prevent further atrocities of its kind.

From April 9-11, the second annual Red Poppy Project, organized by Homenetmen Glendale Ararat Chapter, will offer an interactive educational experience, with art exhibits which seek to offer a full sensory exhibition of the various aspects of the Armenian Genocide.

Sevada Hemelians of the Homenetmen Glendale Ararat Chapter called the Red Poppy Project an “out of the box” approach to education on the Armenian Genocide. Attendees will be privy to an audio visual tunnel, a 40ft. by 60ft. map of Western Armenia indicating which villages were affected by the Genocide, life size pictures of the Genocide’s atrocities, live music and a screening of “Screamers,” a documentary covering the Armenian Genocide all the way through genocides of the present.

The three-day event will also feature a series of panelists made up of historians, politicians and scholars, including Glendale City Clerk Ardashes Kassakhian, Gevork Nazaryan, Dr. Garabet Moumdjian, Harut Sassounian, Dr. Rubina Peroomian, and Vatche Thomassian.

Hemelians said he hopes the efforts towards putting the Red Poppy Project together will help create a dialogue on the struggles of the Armenian people, whose legacy has been forever shaped by the Genocide.

“We keep talking about the 100th anniversary and 100 years of challenge. Now we want to see what the community does looking forward to the next 100 years,” said Hemelians.

The Red Poppy Project will be located at 3347 San Fernando Rd. in Glendale. The event is free and open to the public.

The Armenian American Medical Society (AAMS) will also be hosting an event on Saturday, April 11, titled Heroes and Healers: Stories of Courage and Altruism in Times of Genocide.

This April will mark the society’s 30th anniversary, which also coincides with the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide and the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

For that reason, the event will not only celebrate the continuing history of AAMS, but also reflect upon genocides throughout history and in particular, medical professionals who have had a humanitarian impact on some of history’s darkest moments.

Five honorees will be acknowledged at the event for their efforts during the Armenian Genocide and the Holocaust. The honorees include Ara Jeretzian; Harutyun Khachatryan, MD; Ambassador Henry Morgenthau, Sr., Clarence Ussher, MD, and Armin T. Wegner.

The event will also feature an exhibit titled the Tents of Witness: Genocide and Conflict Exhibition. Ten tents will simulate the conditions of actual refugee camps throughout history, covering the Armenian Genocide and Holocaust, as well as genocides in Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda, North Korea, Darfur, Argentina, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Evelyn Baghdasraian Barkhoudarian, AAMS Parliamentarian and event co-planner, called the event “a once in a lifetime situation,” not only for the fortuitous timing, but the opportunity to bring these tragedies to light.

Heroes and Healers will take place at the Glendale Civic Auditorium starting at 6:30 PM. on April 11. For tickets to the event, contact (818) 980-7777.

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