WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) mourns the loss of Virginia “Ginny” Ohanian, who passed away peacefully on September 13, 2018.
Both Ginny and her late husband Michael were staunch supporters and core members of the Assembly from the beginning. They were close to Stephen Mugar and actively participated in all of the Assembly’s work. In 2013, she was honored, alongside Ann Hintlian and Nevart Talanian, with the Assembly’s Distinguished Humanitarian Award.
“Ginny was a remarkable individual with a sparkling sense of humor who cared deeply and passionately about Armenia and its people. Her generosity and commitment to Armenia and the Armenian Assembly served as an inspiration to us all. She will be missed greatly. This is a loss to the entire Assembly family,” Assembly Co-Chairs Anthony Barsamian and Van Krikorian said.
After visiting Armenia and Artsakh as part of the Assembly Mission Trip in 1999, Mrs. Ohanian became committed to the reforestation of the country. Of the thousands of supporters of the Armenia Tree Project no one individual has given as many “tree gifts.” She took it beyond just planting trees.
Mrs. Ohanian had said: “I saw for myself the need for trees, jobs and education. I thought this was a fitting way to memorialize Michael’s and my ardent devotion to the Armenian Assembly,” thus giving the funds to open the Michael and Virginia Ohanian Environmental Education Center at the Karin Nursery in Armenia.
Mrs. Ohanian, her sister, daughter, and daughter-in-law were at the ribbon cutting in 2004. In 2011 the Michael and Virginia Ohanian Center for Environment Studies was opened in Margahovit, Lori Marz province. This center trains students, teachers and professionals in best forestry practices and conducts environmental education lessons with students from all regions of Armenia.
Her son Bruce is a long-time Assembly Trustee, and her daughter-in-law, Lu Ann Ohanian, is also a Life Trustee and a member of the Assembly’s Board. Mrs. Ohanian’s daughter Veronica Heath and husband Donn have been members and supporters of the Assembly and the Armenia Tree Project.
Mrs. Ohanian was a life-time member of the Holy Trinity Church in Cambridge where she was an ardent supporter and a member of the Women’s Guild, and a longstanding seasonal parishioner of St. David Armenian Church in Boca Raton, FL. She was very active along with her husband in the Armenian General Benevolent Union. Michael was an excellent golfer, winning the Massachusetts Amateur. Mrs. Ohanian thought it only fitting after he passed that she establish a college scholarship through the Ouimet Society named the Michael Ohanian Scholarship. Her other philanthropies include: Armenian Heritage Park, Berkshire Hill Music Academy, Bentley College, the Belmont Hill School, and Massachusetts General Hospital.
The wake will take place on Wednesday, September 19 from 10:00 am – 11:30 am with a funeral service to follow at Holy Trinity Armenian Church of Greater Boston at 145 Brattle St., Cambridge, MA.
By Rosario Teixeira
Executive Director, Peace of Art, Inc.
During the month of April 2013, Peace of Art, Inc., will be displaying Armenian Genocide commemorative billboards to honor the victims of the Armenian Genocide, calling for recognition and condemnation of the genocide. Peace of Art, Inc. is a nonprofit educational organization that uses the universal language of art to address human concerns and to promote peaceful solutions to conflict. In Massachusetts, the billboards will be located in Foxboro, Watertown, and Cambridge.
One 10′ x 30′ digital billboard is on display now on Route 1 in Foxboro, MA, 1/4 mile south of the main entrance to Gillette Stadium and Patriot Place. A second 11′ x 27′ billboard will be on display on April 1st in Watertown, on Mount Auburn Street in the heart of the Armenian community, close to the Armenian cultural centers and churches. In addition, a third 11′ x 27′ billboard will be on display on Cambridge Street, near Lechmere Station, East Cambridge. This area, with high traffic and high visibility, is the gateway between Cambridge, Boston, and Somerville.
The artist Daniel Varoujan Hejinian, president and founder of Peace of Art Inc., said that “with these billboards we are honoring the memory of the victims of the Armenian Genocide, calling upon the international community to recognize the Armenian Genocide, and to condemn the perpetrators. He added, “98 years have passed but the bloody hand prints of the horrible events of 1915 stained the pages of the world history, when 1.5 million Armenians lost their lives.”
The 2013 billboard depicts the bloody hand prints on the words ‘Armenian Genocide’ over a black background. Since 1996, Mr. Hejinian has been calling for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide. In 2004 Peace of Art, Inc. began to sponsor the commemorative billboards honoring the victims and calling for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide. This year’s message further calls for the condemnation of genocide.
To date, the Armenian Genocide has been recognized by over 20 countries and 43 U.S. states. However, in spite of his campaign promise to recognize the Armenian Genocide, in the last four years President Obama has failed to use the term genocide in reference to the slaughter of Armenians, which took place almost to a century ago. Once again we urge the President on his second term, to honor his first campaign promise.
The Armenian Genocide is not a matter of concern for Armenians alone but to everyone. Genocide is a crime against humanity. Without recognition and condemnation, the Armenian Genocide remains a wound that continues to bleed, under the hand prints of the culprit.
In a separate and ironically unrelated event, genocide billboards are being displayed in South Florida. Paid for by “Individuals concerned about the plight of Armenians,” and displayed in South Florida are four 14′ by 48′ Armenian Genocide commemorative billboards on heavily traveled freeways to honor the victims of the Armenian Genocide, and to thank the countries that officially have recognized the Armenian Genocide. The billboards can be seen on I-95 in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties and on the Florida Turnpike intersection with Interstate-595. Peace of Art, Inc. is not involved in the Florida Armenian Genocide billboards.
This article originally appeared on Peace of Art, Inc. and is reprinted with the permission of the author.
CORRECTION: This story was updated Tuesday, April 23 at 2:10 pm to clarify that the Massachusetts billboards are separate and unrelated to the South Florida billboards.