LANSING, Mich.—The Michigan House of Representatives on Tuesday passed House Bill (HB-4493), mandating genocide education, including the Holocaust and the Armenian Genocide, in Michigan public schools. The bill passed with a nearly unanimous vote in favor. 84 out of 110 Representatives co-sponsored the legislation sponsored by Rep. Klint Kesto (Mich.-39).
“The effort put forward by all of our churches, our political, cultural, and social organizations, as well as our Armenian radio groups, showed great resolve in a common cause that unites us. We now move forward with that same resolve to the Michigan Senate,” said Ed Haroutunian, chairperson of the Armenian Genocide Education Committee.
Organizations representing the various interests of the Armenian community joined forces to form the independent AGEC, and worked tirelessly with lead sponsor of HB 4493, Rep. Kesto who was the voice of the Armenian community in the Michigan House.
Rep. Kesto is a long-time friend of the Armenian National Committee of Michigan (ANC of Michigan), where in April 2015, he cosponsored the House Resolution (HR-61) commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide as well as made an address at the 9th Annual ANCA Eastern Region banquet held in Detroit in November.
“We see history repeating itself today in the Middle East with ISIS targeting and committing acts of genocide against Chaldean and Assyrian Christian communities and other religious minorities such as the Yazidis. It is imperative that our students study the history of genocide as it occurred to the Armenian people by the Ottoman Turks, as well as to the Jewish people at the hands of the Nazis. Never again should mean never again,” said Rep. Kesto.
According to the Chairperson of the Armenian American Bar Association (AABA), and of ANC of Michigan Lara Nercessian, “Today’s vote is the result of the collaborative efforts of dedicated activists from all aspects of the Armenian community who came together with a common goal of educating Michigan’s youth to recognize, identify, and learn the history of genocide, so that they may have the necessary education and skills to prevent future acts of genocide.”