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BOCA RATON, FL – On Tuesday, April 16, a group of local and national human rights activists, community leaders, elected officials, religious leaders, teachers and students gather in Sanborn Square for “Together We Remember: The Future of Our Past,” reported Florida Armenians.
David Estrin, Founder and CEO of Together We Remember, organized the second annual universal commemoration program in Boca Raton. “April is Genocide Awareness Month,” Estrin said. “So it’s important that we all come together this time of year to commemorate our past and take action for the future,” he said.
The program began with the reading of names of victims of various genocides, including the Armenian Genocide, as well as victims of hatred, bigotry, discrimination and gun violence in the world. Arsine Kaloustian, Chairwoman of the South Florida Armenian Genocide Commemoration, Inc. (AGC) read the names of genocide victims. Lonny Wilk, Senior Associate Regional Director, Anti-Defamation League-Florida read the names of victims of hatred, bigotry, discrimination and gun violence. A local student from the Boca Raton Interfaith Youth Association read the names of lynching victims in Florida.
Congressman Ted Deutch (D-FL), whose district includes the cities of Boca Raton and Parkland, gave the keynote address. His remarks focused on the meaning of “Never Again” today and how individuals learn from one another and take collective action.
The program also featured musical interludes from Shine MSD, students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
The program also featured an expert panel of religious leaders, community activists, and academics who discussed their respective community’s experience with genocide, violence, and hatred. Panelists included Liz Vocasek, Associate Education Director, Anti-Defamation League-Florida; Rev. Fr. Andrew Sherman, Pastor of St. Gregory’s Episcopal Church of Boca Raton, Florida; Taniel Koushakjian, Editor of FLARMENIANS.com; Darren Levine, Teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School; and Rabbi Leonid Feldman, Temple Beth El in West Palm Beach, Florida. The panel was moderated by Antonella Regueiro, Assistant Professor at Lynn University.
To conclude the program, participants were encourage to take action in their own way. Some took action by writing to their elected officials from their smart phones. Others shared stories and pictures on social media to amplify the message. Some pledged to write letters to their local newspapers.
At the end, everyone listened to the stories of each other, engaged with people they had never met, and people came together to say in one voice: “We Remember” and “Never Again.”
For more photos, check out the Florida Armenians Facebook Page Photo Album.
WASHINGTON, DC – In February, Florida Armenians Editor Taniel Koushakjian travelled to the nation’s capital for a series of meetings with government officials, NGO’s, and policy makers. During his time, he met with Armenia’s new Ambassador to the U.S., His Excellency Varuzhan Nersesyan, and welcomed him back to the United States in his new capacity. They discussed a series of issues of concern to the Armenian American community.
Koushakjian conveyed the congratulations of several thousand Armenian Americans in Florida who cheered the democratic movement of the citizens of Armenia and the peaceful transition of power that swept across Armenia in 2018. He also invited Ambassador Nersesyan to visit the Sunshine State in 2020.
Ambassador Nersesyan is no stranger to Washington, DC. From April 2008 to December 2012, he served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia to the United States.
Nersesyan is the first Armenian Ambassador to the U.S. under Armenian President Nikol Pashinyan. He presented his credentials to the President of the United States Donald J. Trump in a ceremony in the Oval Office on January 11, 2019. During a brief conversation, President Trump and Ambassador Nersesyan highlighted the steps towards expanding the US-Armenia bilateral relationship in several areas. The interlocutors emphasized the role of the Armenian American community in enhancing the friendship between the two nations.
Join South Florida’s next-generation of inspiring community leaders, artists and change-makers at Sanborn Square in Downtown Boca Raton, FL on Tuesday, April 16th from 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM for a community-wide vigil, dialogue, and call to action aiming to unite our city across lines of difference to address rising hatred and ongoing violence. This event seeks to remind us of the past while looking to the future, through an exploration of the meaning of “never again” in South Florida and how we, as a community, can continue to work to make that dream a reality.
We will honor the victims of violence around the world through a powerful name-reading ceremony, hear inspiring performances that open hearts and minds, learn from influential community members about issues of violence and remembrance, and participate in a bridge-building dialogue. To celebrate and activate our renewed commitment to look out for one another, we will host a concluding celebration with food trucks and feature game-changing organizations that you can immediately take action with. This event is one of dozens of #TogetherWeRemember vigils taking place around the world in April to transform remembrance into action during Genocide Awareness Month.
Time & Date:
Tuesday, April 16, 2019
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
72 North Federal Highway
Boca Raton, FL 33432
Confirmed Speakers, Performers, and Organizations:
- Sawyer Garrity and Andrea Peña (Shine MSD / MSD Students)
- Congressman Ted Deutch (D-FL)
- Rabbi David Steinhardt (B’nai Torah Congregation / Boca Raton Interfaith Clergy Association)
- Rabbi Leonid Feldman (Temple Beth El, West Palm Beach)
- Rev. Fr. Andrew Sherman (St. Gregory’s Episcopal Church, Boca Raton)
- Arsine Kaloustian (Armenian Genocide Commemoration, Inc.)
- Taniel Koushakjian (Florida Armenians)
- Liz Vocasek (Anti Defamation League)
- Antonella Regueiro (Lynn University)
- David Estrin (Together We Remember)
- Representatives from Church World Service