Students from Local Armenian Schools Fight Denial at Junior Statesmen Conference

Mesrobian and Pilibos teacher advisors Berj Parseghian and Carolyn Sermeno with students Alicia Hernandez, Lara Ghoogasian, Abraham Iskajyan, Sako Koseyan, Sevana Manukian, Maria Discigrikyan, Armine Kalbakian, Aram Manukyan, Angela Gevoglanian, Arpi Beshliklian, and Lily Dermendjian.


TORRANCE, Calif.—Over the weekend of Feb. 28 to March 1, a team of students from Armenian Mesrobian School in Pico Rivera and Rose and Alex Pilibos Armenian School in Hollywood, successfully introduced and passed a measure recognizing the Armenian Genocide at the Winter Congress of one of the largest national youth organizations in the United States, the Junior Statesmen of America (JSA).

The Junior Statesmen of America (JSA) prepares students to become informed of current events and issues facing the United States, while making them aware of the structure of democracy in our country. Members of JSA learn debate techniques through their school chapters and participate in formal debates at their regional meetings. In the Winter Congress, they take part in proceedings that mimic the Congress of the United States, presenting bills for discussion, debate and vote.

During the course of the weekend, Mesrobian and Pilibos students put forth a bill recognizing the Armenian Genocide. They first had to work on passage through committee in both the House and the Senate of the Winter Congress by presenting arguments and speaking to delegates from schools across Southern California on the importance of their bill. After passing committee, students worked to get it passed by the entire electorate in both houses. They were able to secure its passage with over two-thirds majority in both houses, in total over 350 yes votes out of roughly 500 votes.

Although over 40 US states have recognized the historical series of events as genocide, (in fact, the very definition of genocide was created to explain the Armenian Genocide), this brought an excellent opportunity for those outside the community to learn about the Genocide and be on the side of truth and justice. Furthermore, we are proud of our students for spreading positive awareness among future leaders of the United States, their peers at the Junior Statesmen of America conference.

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