Nearly a dozen students locked arm-to-arm danced in the quad on Tuesday afternoon while Armenian music reverberated throughout the quad. Smiles, laughs and traditional pastries are overabundant. They gather to remember the victims of the Armenian Genocide.
The Armenian Genocide was a brazen and horrific crime led to the death of one and a half million of Armenians. But to these students, Tuesday’s celebration is not a somber event. It is, at its heart, a celebration of their culture that continues to live on after a terrible tragedy that nearly wiped out their race.
“I have three family members who died during the Armenian Genocide,” Armenian Club President Serly Thomas stated. “It is very important to recognize the genocide, that our culture lives on and we [continue to] celebrate that we survived.”
The survivalist attitude lives on strong and proud within the Armenian population on campus and around the world. The word ‘survive’ was used a lot throughout the day, but a better word is ‘thrive’. They continue to live on and celebrate their culture, and the event makes them proud to be who they are.
“The Ottoman Empire wanted to erase our country,” Armenian Club member Kirakos Thomasian explains. “The biggest writers and artists were assassinated. To this day, only 49 of  states recognize the Genocide.”
Thomasian came to the United States just three years ago. Before moving to the United States, Thomasian lived in Kuwait which had a very small Armenian population of around 5,000 people.
Most people acknowledge the Holocaust for the disaster it was. However, the state of Missouri, Puerto Rico and countries such as Israel and Turkey still do not acknowledge the Armenian Genocide. While this is terribly offensive and disrespectful to those who lost their lives, it is the still the truth today, 104 years later.
This plays into a secondary reason for the Armenian people to congregate on April 24 of every year. It will always hold an important nationalistic and emotional catharsis for the Armenian population, but the full recognition of the Genocide by the rest of the world is an important goal.
“The event was a success,” Associated Students Vice President for Cultural Diversity Yarenni Reyes stated after dancing in the quad. “The goal of my position is to celebrate all types of diversity and we did that today.”