Genocide Commemoration at Pasadena City Hall

The flag procession at Pasadena City Hall

PASADENA—Hundreds of Armenian Americans gathered under cloudy skies at the front steps of City Hall on the morning of Wednesday, April 24th, in Pasadena to commemorate the  Armenian Genocide and calling for the official recognition of the atrocities committed by the Turkish Government on April 24, 1915.

A crowd of almost 500 Armenian Americans, community leaders, dignitaries and State Officials assembled for the event organized by the local chapter of the Armenian National Committee of America, where city officials from Pasadena, Sierra Madre and La Crescenta Town Council were present for the momentous occasion. Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca was among those officials who spoke and conveyed his heartfelt message at the event, as did Former State Assemblyman, Anthony Portantino and Pasadena City Councilmember Gene Masuda, who presented ANCA – Pasadena Chapter’s Chairperson, Shoghig Yepremian, the city’s official Armenian Genocide Commemoration Proclamation recognizing the Armenian Genocide.

ANCA – Pasadena Chapter Chairperson Shoghig Yepremian reminded us all of the day’s significance in the history of humanity and that this crime of genocide has gone unpunished for far too long and that the time has come to put things right.

ACF Member Hovig Saliba’s speech reminded the Armenian Community that there’s much work to be done and we as Armenians can never rest until reparations, restitution and the recognition of the heinous crimes the Turkish Government committed against the Armenians and Humanity is fully, utterly and unequivocally accounted for.

Former Pasadena Mayor and Chairperson of the Pasadena Armenian Genocide Memorial Committee, Bill Paparian took the podium and grabbed the crowd’s attention by saying, “The scars are not healed.” “We are still haunted by the emptiness that comes from losing entire families. When a loved one disappears, the disappearance lasts forever. Before former Mayor Bill Paparian concluded his remarks, he’d introduced the Pasadena Armenian Genocide Memorial Committee Members after which he introduced the Art Center student who designed the memorial, Catherine Menard.

Catherine Menard, the Environmental Design student at the Art Center College of Design, whose well-researched and brilliant design of the Armenian Genocide Memorial has taken the city by storm since she was the Design Panel’s pick out of 17 submissions. Catherine’s deep and sincere words expressed her feelings as she researched the genocide and atrocities the Turkish Government committed, even quoting the famous Armenian poet, Siamanto, whose words clearly had an impact on Menard as she prepared her award winning design.

Describing the Armenians, as one of the most “vibrant communities in Southern California,” Menard took on the challenge to come up with a masterful memorial design worthy of the accolades that have been bestowed upon it so far, so that it would find its place in Pasadena’s Memorial Park by the time the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide turns up on April 24th, 2015.

In the days leading up to the Armenian Genocide Commemoration on April 24th, The City of Sierra Madre City Council, at its regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, April 23, 2013, presented a Certificate of Recognition to the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) – Pasadena Chapter for the 98th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.

This is the first year that the City of Sierra Madre City Council has issued a proclamation declaring that the city acknowledges the April 24, 1915 atrocities perpetrated by the Turkish Government against the Armenian people, that as a community they stand together and join the Armenian community to memorialize their fallen ancestors, and to ensure that such horrible acts are not repeated ever again. John Harabedian, a current Council member, presented the proclamation to Shoghig Yepremian, the Chair of Pasadena Chapter ANCA.

Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD) Board, on April 23rd, 2013, also acknowledged the Armenian Genocide by adopting Resolution 2244, in part the resolution reads as follows:

Remembrance – Armenian Genocide, in which the Armenian Genocide is commemorated on April 24, the date in 1915 when the Turkish government arrested 200 Armenian leaders in Constantinople, thus beginning the wholesale slaughter, imprisonment and forced deportation of millions of Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire.

PUSD Board President Ms. Renatta Cooper, board members and School Superintendent, John Gundry, were all present along with ANCA – Pasadena board members for the passing of the Resolution.

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