Each April for the past 32 years, members of the Armenian community along with state legislators and guests have come together at the State House to commemorate the Armenian Genocide.
This year marks the 102nd anniversary of the Armenian Genocide with the commemoration taking place on Friday, April 21 at 10:30 a.m. in the House Chamber with a program of speakers, music, and honorees, announced State Sen. Will Brownsberger’s office.
Following the ceremony, a reception provided by Ani Catering of Belmont will be held in the Hall of Flags.
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. Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey will deliver the keynote address.
Anthony Barsamian, James Kalustian, and Dr. Ara Nazarian, Co-Chairs of the Armenian Genocide Centennial Commemoration Committee, and Ambassador to the Vatican and former Boston Mayor Raymond Flynn 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 offer an update on the George Keverian Memorial Scholarship Program on behalf of the Keverian family.
Music and the participation of youth are an integral part of the commemoration. Performing will be children of St. Stephen’s Armenian Elementary School, jazz guitarist John Baboian, and vocalist Mary Galstian. 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), James Miceli (D-Wilmington), and David Muradian (R-Grafton), who will emcee the ceremony. The event is organized by a planning committee of pastoral and lay leaders chaired by Belmont resident Lalig Musserian.
“I am eagerly looking forward to the Armenian Genocide commemorative event as it is a way to recognize our heritage and teach others our history,” said Representative David Muradian. “While this is the 102nd anniversary, we still feel the effects of such horrible heinous actions. Armenians are very proud people, and I am proud that we can host this commemorative event in the Massachusetts House of Representatives Chamber.”
“The Armenian light still shines bright,” said Lalig Musserian. “We do what we do best: move forward and not let anything stand in our way. We will always remember and honor our martyrs who have now been canonized. But it is uplifting to feel the energy and sense of resolve when we meet every year to commemorate our Genocide.”
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.