Armenian Genocide Commemoration 2021

Date: Thursday, April 22, 2021
Time: 7:00 pm EDT

This event will take place on Facebook Live. No registration is required. You do not need a Facebook account to view the commemoration. Please go to Chhange's Facebook Live page at 7:00 pm EDT on April 22nd to watch the ceremony.

In memory of Arsene B. Haroutunian.

Zabel Yessayan, author and political activist, was the voice of courage during the most important historic events in Western and Eastern Armenia in the early 20th century. Born in 1878 in Constantinople, she published her first literary works at the age of seventeen. In the same year, she travelled on her own to Europe to study at the Sorbonne, one of the first Ottoman women to pursue higher education either abroad or at home. After the 1909 massacres of Adana, she was sent to Cilicia by the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople to provide relief for the orphans. She wrote an eyewitness testimony of her experience, In the Ruins, published in 1911, which was very influential. The only woman on the list of over 200 Armenian writers and intellectuals to be targeted for arrest and deportation on April 24, 1915, she escaped to Bulgaria and then Baku and bore witness to the Armenian Genocide through published accounts and reports to the 1919 Paris Peace delegation. During this tumultuous period, she penned her most significant novels and novellas. After moving to Armenia in 1933, Yessayan stood up to another empire, this time the Soviet Union. During Stalin’s purges, Yessayan spoke out in support of other Armenian writers who were targeted. She herself was later arrested and imprisoned, fought her death sentence – which was commuted to ten years of hard labour – and died under mysterious circumstances.

In collaboration with a small group of women from the Armenian International Women’s Association, Saryan published three volumes of Zabel Yessayan’s books in English translation.

Judith Saryan was born in Delaware and graduated from Wellesley College in Massachusetts with a major in economics and a concentration in music. She spent her career in the financial services industry, most recently at Eaton Vance Management, where she was vice president and portfolio manager. She has been called upon numerous times to provide financial commentary for the media, and she has been featured on CNBC and CNN. Saryan retired from her successful career in order to pursue her passion for literature and the history of Armenian women's activism. Ten years ago, after watching a documentary entitled Finding Zabel Yessayan, Saryan was determined to introduce this groundbreaking author’s legacy to a wider audience. She joined a group of women from the Armenian International Women's Association, AIWA, and together they arranged for the English translations of three of Yessayan’s works, The Gardens of Silihdar (2014), My Soul in Exile and Other Writings (2014), and In the Ruins (2016). Saryan is also co-editor of the first English translation of Srpuhi Dussap's Mayda: Echoes of Protest (2020, AIWA), a novel originally published in 1883 advocating equal rights for women. She serves on the boards of the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research, Democracy Today, and the Advisory Council of Facing History and Ourselves.

Click Here for a Brief Video About Zabel's Life

Plant a Virtual Forget-Me-Not

Join us as we honor and remember survivors and victims of the Armenian Genocide and please consider planting a virtual forget-me-not. Virtual forget-me-not's are $10 each and will support Chhange programming (they are not required to participate in this program). Tributes will be posted on social media and the Chhange website.

Click on the link below, or text the word PLANT to 855-736-9367

Plant a Virtual Forget-Me-Not

Please email us at with any questions about this event.

Chhange educates, inspires, and empowers individuals to stand up to injustice.