Armenian Legislative Caucus Leads the Genocide Centennial Events in Calif. Legislature

From left: Assemblymembes Adrin Nazarian, Khatcho Achadjian and Scott Wilk

SACRAMENTO—The Armenian Legislative Caucus, formed by Assemblymembers Adrin Nazarian, Katcho Achadjian, and Scott Wilk, are leading the effort to commemorate the Centennial Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.

The Caucus has introduced Assembly Joint Resolution (AJR 2) designating this year as California’s Year of Commemoration of the Centennial Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. The resolution also calls upon Congress and the President of the United States to recognize the Armenian Genocide.

“Congress and President Obama must officially recognize the Armenian Genocide, and engage in dialogue with the Republic of Turkey to come to terms with its past once and for all,” stated Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian. “In California, we are forging ahead, educating students on the genocide through an essay scholarship program and sponsoring an exhibit at the California State Museum that will focus on the Armenian Genocide, Armenian Immigration, and prominent Armenian-American figures in California History.”

In a show of solidarity for the centennial anniversary, AJR 2 has been jointly-authored by a majority of the Assembly, an unprecedented show of support from previous resolutions.

In addition to introducing AJR 2, the caucus has an array of activities to commemorate and engage California citizens during the centenary year of the Armenian Genocide.

“I am proud of the California Legislature for continuing to recognize the Armenian Genocide,” said Assemblymember Achadjian. “This year we commemorate the 100th anniversary of these atrocities. This day is not only about recognizing those tragic acts that happened a century ago, but about celebrating the triumphs of the Armenian people in rebuilding their lives and thriving all across the world.”

Efforts by the State of California and the Armenian Legislative Caucus include:

Armenian Genocide Commemoration in Sacramento: Community Commemoration on the West Steps of the State Capitol on April 20, 2015 at 2 PM.
“Armenian Journey: From Shattered Past to Prosperity.” Exhibit at the California State Museum: Exhibit opens on March 31, 2015 and concludes on August 2, 2015. The exhibit will focus on the Armenian Genocide, Armenian Immigration, and prominent Armenian-American figures in California History. Some highlights in the exhibit include original works by William Saroyan and sister carpets of the Armenian Orphan Rug woven by orphans, of the Armenian Genocide.

Armenian Genocide Essay Scholarship: A statewide scholarship contest sponsored by the Armenian Legislative Caucus with the aim to increase awareness of the Armenian Genocide. California high school students in 9th-12th grade are invited to participate. The three top entries will receive scholarship awards of $1,000, $500, $250, respectively, and will be invited to Sacramento to witness the Legislatures commemoration of the Armenian Genocide and be recognized by the Caucus for their winning entries. The top three winning submissions will also be displayed in the “Armenian Journey” exhibit at the California State Museum. Deadline for submissions is April 6, 2015.

Inclusion of Armenian Genocide Books in the California State Library: The Armenian Caucus worked to secure a collection of books, on the Armenian Genocide, for inclusion in the California State Museum’s catalogue.

AB 1410 (Divestment from Turkish Bonds): The Caucus introduced AB 1410, which calls for the divestment and prohibits holdings of state retirement investments in Turkish bonds.

“I know firsthand through family members, and will always remember, the horrors visited upon the Armenian people by the Ottoman Turks starting in 1915. That is why last year I joined two of my Assembly colleagues in forming the Armenian Caucus to dedicate ourselves to educate this and future generations of those events so they may recognize the Armenian struggle for justice and commit to the proposition that nothing like that will ever happen again anywhere in the world.” said Assemblymember Scott Wilk.

Assemblymember Nazarian added: “Education is the cornerstone of change. I look forward to providing future opportunities for Californians to learn about the Armenian story, while celebrating the collective achievements of the diverse and vibrant communities in our state.”

The Armenian Legislative Caucus serves as a forum for members of the Legislature to identify key issues affecting Armenian-Americans and develop and empower the Armenian-American community throughout California.


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