Each April for the past 31 years, members of the Armenian community along with state legislators and guests have come together at the State House to commemorate the Armenian Genocide, according to State Sen. Will Brownsberger’s office.
This year marks the 101st anniversary of the Armenian Genocide with the commemoration taking place on Friday, April 22 at 10:30 a.m. in the House Chamber with a program of speakers, music, and honorees. Following the ceremony a reception provided by Ani Catering of Belmont will be held at the Grand Staircase and guests can view a video created especially for this event by filmmaker Roger Hagopian about Armenia and survival of the Armenian nation.
The event recognizes the genocide of 1.5 million Armenians between 1915 and 1923 by the Ottoman Turkish government. This is an opportunity for survivors and Armenian-American descendants to demonstrate their commitment to preserving their culture, religion, and language; working for humanitarian projects and awareness; and striving for recognition of the Armenian Genocide.
House Speaker Robert DeLeo will provide welcoming remarks and Governor Charlie Baker is invited to present proclamations. Ray Flynn, former U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican (1993‐1997) and three-term Mayor of Boston (1984‐1993), will deliver the keynote address. Conventures, Knights of Vartan Ararat Lodge #1, and the Armenian Genocide Commemoration Committee of Merrimack Valley will be recognized with joint Senate and House resolutions.
The late Speaker George Keverian began the annual commemoration at the State House in 1985. His brother, Jack Keverian, will be making a special announcement on behalf of the Keverian family to honor George.
Music and the participation of youth are an integral part of the commemoration. Performing will be children of St. Stephen’s Armenian Elementary School, the Zankagner Performing Arts Ensemble, and pianist Jasmin Atabekyan and young violinist Emily Gasparyan. Members of the Homenetmen Scouts will also be attending.
The commemoration is hosted by state Senator Will Brownsberger (D-Belmont) and state Representatives Jonathan Hecht (D-Watertown), Dave Rogers (D-Cambridge), John Lawn (D-Watertown), David Muradian (R-Grafton), and James Miceli (D-Wilmington). The event is organized by a planning committee of pastoral and lay leaders chaired by Belmont resident Lalig Musserian.
Buses to the State House will leave from Watertown at 9 a.m. from St. James Church, 465 Mount Auburn Street and St. Stephen’s Church, 38 Elton Avenue. The buses will depart the State House at 1:15 p.m. and transport guests back to originating locations with an expected arrival in Watertown at approximately 2 p.m. The bus service is free, donated by the Knights of Vartan, Ararat Lodge #1.