AYF Pushes Social Justice With Music; Joins Visa, LA Mission To Feed


Dec 9th, 2009

VISA at the Troubadour singing to feed the needy on Thanksgiving.

HOLLYWOOD, Calif.,-The Armenian Youth Federation last month
teamed with experimental-fusion rock band Visa and a host of local
socially-conscious artists to put-on a special benefit concert that
helped feed the less fortunate on Thanksgiving Day through the Los
Angeles Mission, a non-profit serving the homeless of Downtown Los

The concert, held at the Troubadour on November 25, came to life with
the help of up ‘n’ coming local artists R-Mean, MadStory, Red Snow,
and Cahn & Yang. The AYF sponsored the evening, working in the days
and weeks leading up to the packed-house holiday event to promote
the collaborative endeavor.

"The AYF is very proud to have been a part of an event that gave back
to the community, and shed light on an issue that not only affects
our own communities here, but millions of people around the world,"
said Arek Santikian, the AYF’s Chairman. "Our organization’s founding
principle, and driving force till this day, is social justice. And
we are always looking to work with as many groups and people toward
that end."

One of those groups is the AGBU’s GenNext youth mentorship program,
which helped promote the event. "They’re a great band. They’ve
got great music, and they attract a great crowd," Luiza Baloyan of
GenNex said, explaining how the concert gave GenNext an opportunity
to promote her organization’s mission and recruit new mentors to serve
as role models for underprivileged community youth. "When it comes to
helping our kids, people don’t think in terms of political persuasion,
country of origin or ideological tilt; they just say, "sign me up."

When it comes to helping our youth, we can all be on the same page."

When it comes to working with community groups on social issues,
Visa is "all about action," according to band member and AYF
alumnus Antranig Kzirian, who described the band as an eclectic
mix of individuals who appreciate the importance of helping the
less fortunate.

"Working with socially conscious community organizations to be
civically active is very important," said Kzirian. "The AYF sets a
strong example for today’s youth by doing more to make sure social
justice issues such as genocide recognition and feeding the hungry
are addressed properly in the public eye and Visa looks forward to
working together again in the future."

According to Santikian, the Visaconcert was first among many such
events the organization is planning for the coming months. "Over
the years we have come to realize that music can be used to not only
bring people together but to amplify the stretch of causes focused
on positive issues," he explained.

"The ayf has a couple more projects in mind for the rest of year that
fuse music with socially conscious projects," Santikian said, adding
that the AYF plans to work with popular local artists to help raise
awareness of human rights violations, past, present and future. "One
of our focuses for the next year will be to work with artists to raise
awareness to connect a diverse cross-section of people with social and
humanitarian causes working to end the ongoing cycle of genocide, which
began with the Armenians in 1915 and continues to rage on in Darfur."

For more information about the AYF and collaboration opportunities,
visit: AYFwest.org or email: [email protected]

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