Calling All Activists

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Back home in California, I do a lot of volunteer work for the community because my parents taught me to always give back. After all, how can we grow as a society if we do not help one another? As I got older, I added more volunteer hours to my schedule; I realized that helping others was not only beneficial for them, but for me as well.

And now here I am at the ripe, young age of nineteen, living in Montreal and on my own. I knew I could not disconnect from my passions, so I signed up to work with the Canadian branch of the grassroots organization I am affiliated with in Orange County, CA.

Most people my age do not really care about politics and are concerned with things that effect them immediately and directly (politics falls into this category but those individuals do not realize this). Being the unique individual that I am, I got involved with politics very early on. I am very involved with human rights and strive to do my best to correct injustices that come across my way. For those who do not make it to the sandy beaches of California or the snow-covered sidewalks of Montreal, I make sure to fight for them anyways.

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So about three months ago I started my journey with the Armenian Youth Federation of Canada. Our goals for the next few months were to educate youth about politics in Canada and Armenia, to organize two protests in respect to the Armenian Genocide of 1915, and many more mini projects that reflect on giving back to the community. We have made sure to keep the kids of our communities in Montreal and Laval well informed about elections and bills that are trying to be enforced. It is a great feeling to know you are part of a movement that wants to create a bright generation to take your place. The weekly meetings last for hours as we go back and forth about details in our events because the team cares about the work we are doing from the bottom of our hearts. Working with AYF Canada has given me the opportunity to travel to Toronto, Cambridge, and Hamilton. I have been lucky enough to attend seminars and learn new ways to keep our culture alive while being an involved citizen in Canada or the United States.

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The two biggest events are in the month of April. The first is on Saturday, April 12th in Laval. A vigil ceremony will be held at the Genocide Memorial Monument in homage to the 1.5 million lost souls of 1915. The second event will be held in Ottawa. An annual protest and rally held in front of the Turkish Embassy. Canadians all across the nation come together every April 24th to remember the atrocities that occurred almost 100 years ago. Both events are composed of poetry readings, commemorative folk dances, hymns, and motivational speeches to keep the passion of the humanitarian cause burning.

– Lucy Dishoian, Public Health Sciences, University of California, Official Blogger, Spring 2014

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