PASADENA, CA – On Friday, October 20, 2023, twenty-eight Pasadena based Armenian organizations including Armenian schools, and various churches stood united at the Pasadena City Hall to raise awareness about the illegally detained Artsakh presidents, POWs, MIAs and civilians in Azerbaijan, and demanded their immediate release.
A coalition of 28 Pasadena based Armenian organizations came together in a momentous show of unity to demand the immediate intervention of United states Government and the International Community to release the illegally held presidents of Artsakh, and POWs from the prisons of Azerbaijan. A candlelight vigil was held at Memorial Park’s Armenian Genocide Memorial. A Requiem Service was led by Father Boghos Baltayan, Rev. Fr. Yeremia Abgaryan, and the clergy and deacons of various churches in remembrance of those who made the ultimate sacrifice for Armenia and Artsakh. In front of the Armenian Genocide Memorial, students from Sahag-Mesrob Armenian Christian School, Levon and Hasmig Tavlian Preschool and Kindergarten, and St. Gregory A & M Hovsepian School joined in the prayers then proceeded to lay flowers at the memorial. Immediately following the vigil scouts from Homentmen and A.G.B.U baring the flags of the United States, Armenia, Artsakh, and the State of California led the procession in a march toward the City Hall.
Television personalities Sona Movsesian and Jill Simonian served as co-masters of ceremony, and members of the Coalition, Vache Sevajian and Aleksan Giragosian addressed the crowd both in Armenian and English, emphasizing the importance of standing united during such trying times in our history. The speakers highlighted the humanitarian crisis that Artsakh refugees face today, and committed to speaking up and continuing to demand the release of all Armenian POWs.
Students from Hovsepian and Sahag-Mesrob Schools read, one by one, the names of Armenian civilians and prisoners of war currently held in Azerbaijan. With vigor, the students chanted the message, “You are not forgotten,” in English and Armenian.
Leaflets listing the names of the 28 participating organizations, and their individual initiatives in fundraising for Artsakh refugees was distributed to the crowd.
The program concluded with the clergy joining the students to sing the Lord’s Prayer in Armenian.