April 24, 1915 is a date I will never forget. I sometimes forget holidays and birthdays but I always remember April 24. I don't just remember it, but I think about it in depth every year.
Being raised by an Armenian father from Turkey, growing up at St. Mary Armenian Church as a young child and teen and having attended the only Armenian School in Orange County, A.G. Minassian Armenian School from Pre-School until 4th grade, I have been instilled pride of my Armenian heritage, and a feeling of home in the Armenian Community.
Below is a picture of me in Pre-School at A.G. Minassian Armenian School, where I still am life long friends with these beautiful people in my class, many which you see me mention on Instagram! Can you guess which one I am?!
For this reason, when April 24 comes around every year, I start thinking about all the stories my grandmother told me about how my own family members were killed on April 24, 1915, and even if they were not killed, they were tortured. I don't want to get into the stories because I want to spread positivity instead of talking about the gruesome details (which you can google), but it really makes me so sad that innocent Armenians were literally slaughtered on this day.
On April 24, 1915, 1.5 MILLION Armenians were systematically killed by the Ottoman empire. This was not a war, it was an attempt to wipe out the Armenian Race. It was an attempt that successfully killed a large portion of the Armenian population....but not all.
Having been raised with a strong Armenian influence throughout my life, I can say first-hand that Armenians are very proud and stick together as a family. Even when Armenians do not know each other, there is an instant connection...just because we are Armenian. No, we are not a HUGE population, and yes our country is now small , however our culture is HUGE and I believe this is one of the events that made our culture stronger than ever.
Today especially, I am proud to be Armenian. Even more, I am proud to be Bolsa Hye (Turkish-Armenian). I am proud of my family background and I am proud to be Armenian. My family did not perish, our Christian beliefs did not perish, I speak Armenian, I read and write in Armenian (even though it might take me a long time lol), but I am proud to be here today and to be able to spread the word.
I want to thank my family, family friends, and everyone that I do not know that went through this event. It didn't stop here. After the Armenian Genocide, my own family still living in Turkey still went through racism, hate and social segregation in Turkey because they were Armenian and Christian. They were even looked down upon for wearing the cross in public. For that reason, some of my family moved to the United States which is why I am here today.
I will pass these stories down to my children and spread the word because sadly today is recognized by some, and not all. Some still deny this event occurred and I am here today, as one little human in this BIG WORLD to be just another person spreading the word and awareness and to say, yes this did happen and we will always remember in memory of those who perished.
By the way, I was the little girl at the left and the bottom row in the AG Armenian School Picture. :) I just want to be clear that I love everyone and do not have hate or negative feelings towards others. I just want to do my duty as an Armenian woman and spread the word about something so close to my heart.