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University of Miami Hosts ‘Walk for Justice’ for Armenian Genocide Recognition

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By Mercedes Gechidjian
FLArmenians Miami Contributor

The Armenian Student Association (ASA) at the University of Miami (UM), organized a “Walk for Justice” this past Saturday, April 23, 2016, sponsored by the Armenian Genocide Commemoration, Inc. and Florida Armenians, LLC. The walk began at 6:30PM alongside Lake Osceola at the University of Miami.

ASA invited the broader Armenian and non-Armenian community to “Walk for Justice,” to demand international recognition of the Armenian Genocide of 1915 and to condemn all crimes against humanity. Marchers were holding signs with statements such as “We Remember and Demand” and “1915 Never Again”, in addition to waving Armenian flags as they walked around the University’s historic lake. Participants had a common idea-to march for the recognition of the massacres of 1915. “It is wonderful to have a walk respecting the victims of the Genocide in our own campus,” said Max Armour, a University of Miami senior of non-Armenian descent.

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The Association’s E-Board decided to celebrate the lives of their ancestors by performing and teaching Khochari to all the participants. “We want to celebrate their lives, to remember them dancing in the streets of Van and Adana,” said ASA member Guadalupe Gechidjian, “I am extremely proud of this organization and the event we were able to organize.”

Those in attendance were able to enjoy exquisite Armenian appetizers, such as dolma, lavash rolls, baklava, gata, and pockets with basturma, cooked by Sirvard Saakian, a Member of the National Registry of Food Safety Professionals in Los Angeles. In addition, participants received a free t-shirt with the Forget-Me-Not flower in commemoration of the 100+1 anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.

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The UM-Armenian Student Association would like to extend a big THANK YOU to the following individuals: Reverend Paren Avedikian, Viviana Horigian, Iren and Arsen Gasparyan, and Sirvard Saakian.

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Miami Armenian Student Clubs Bleed Red, Blue, and Orange

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Gevorg Shahbazyan, President, FIU-AASO; Mercedes Gechidjian, President, UM-ASA; Todd Avedian, NOVA; Mishela Gevorkian, UM-ASA; Arman Shahbazyan, FIU-AASO; and Guadalupe Gechidjian, UM-ASA. Photograph credit Ashot Mamyan.

By Mercedes Gechidjian
FLArmenians Miami Contributor

Hollywood, FL— On Sunday, September 20, several representatives of the Armenian Student Association (ASA) of the University of Miami (UM), the Armenian American Student Organization (AASO) of Florida International University (FIU), and NOVA Southeastern University, had the opportunity to meet at the Armenian Independence Day picnic hosted by St. Mary Armenian Church.

Following Church service, and after indulging in delicious kebabs and barbecued meats prepared by the St. Mary Men’s Club, the UM-ASA and FIU-AASO members met and discussed future plans, potential for joint events, and aspirations for their clubs this academic year and beyond. Ms. Mercedes Gechidjian, President of the UM-ASA, and Florida Armenians Broward County Chair Gevorg Shahbazyan, also President of FIU-AASO, discussed the idea of cooperation between the two clubs to bring awareness of Armenian life and culture in Miami.

However, it was not just a business meeting for the members of the Armenian clubs. Social events such as joint dinners, beach days, and movie nights were also explored. “I think that by strengthening our friendship and planning ‘non-business’ hang outs with FIU-AASO we will be able to work as a family,” said Mishela Gevorkian, a graduate student at the University of Miami and member of the UM-ASA. Arman Shahbazyan, an active member of FIU-AASO, was extremely happy to meet more young Armenians in South Florida. “Living in Miami, it’s a little hard given the size of our community here. So when you have the opportunity to meet new Armenians, you just become happy. We had a very productive day and I’m looking forward to future joint activities,” said Shahbazyan.

Both clubs are relatively new but, since their establishment, have caught the attention of their respective student bodies and Armenian communities around the world. It is wonderful to see the next generation of Florida Armenians promoting our culture, our traditions, and our language amid their peers, as they help grow and expand the Armenian American community in South Florida.