Over 60 members of the Armenian Youth Federation – Western United States took part in a “die-in” demonstration this afternoon in front of the Staples Center in Downtown.
The demonstration was planned in an effort to bring attention and awareness to the Armenian Genocide, as part of the AYF’s 100 Days of Action campaign leading to the centennial of the genocide.
“We’re here today to show the resilience of the Armenian youth 100 years after the Ottoman Empire tried to wipe out our entire race,” said Raffi Senekeremian, a member of the AYF’s Central Executive body. “The Armenian Genocide, being the first genocide of the 20th century, is not as widely-known as it should be, so we’re here trying to raise awareness on the issue in an active part of our city.”
Demonstrators simultaneously collapsed to the ground in the sudden-death act despite the rainy weather, as thousands of people exited the Staples Center following a Lakers game. They wore t-shirts that displayed the hashtag#ArmenianGenocide in order to foster a sense of awareness within the Los Angeles community. Several spectators joined the demonstrators on the ground.
Following the silent demonstration, AYF members marched across the street through L.A. Live chanting slogans to educate the public around them. Members also passed out multilingual pamphlets about the Armenian Genocide.
The “die-in” demonstration coincides with the United Nations’ Zero Discrimination Day. The day draws attention to millions who continue to suffer from prejudice and intolerance.
“The foundations of the Armenian Genocide were set on the ideas of racism and discrimination, but it has yet to be recognized by its perpetrators to this day,” said Verginie Touloumian, a member of the Central Executive. “The AYF calls on the global community to shed light on all crimes against humanity that have derived from an endless cycle of discrimination.”
The 100 Days of Action, which began on January 14, includes daily actions such as weekly social media campaigns, boycotts and divestment, political lobbying, tactical demonstrations, cultural displays, and educational forums. The campaign will culminate on April 24 with the March for Justice from Little Armenia to the Turkish Consulate in Los Angeles.