LOS ANGELES–The Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education unanimously passed a resolution on Tuesday brought by Board Member Mónica Ratliff – and co-sponsored by Board President Steve Zimmer and Board Members Dr. Ref Rodríguez and Scott M. Schmerelson – recognizing April 2016 as the commemoration of the Armenian Genocide of 1915.
“With a unanimous voice, this board is making sure that our voices are added to the voices of responsible governmental bodies throughout this country, calling upon Congress and calling upon the President to recognize the Armenian Genocide and use the word genocide. We do this because we know that if one genocide is not recognized then all genocides are not fully recognized and acknowledged,” noted Board President Zimmer during his remarks. He continued, “All of us who have genocide in our history stood with the Armenian Community proudly last April 24th and we look forward to standing with you and protesting with you at the Turkish Consulate this coming Sunday April 24. Thank you for all that you do to bring this important issue to the forefront of our educational thought.”
Members of the Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region (ANCA-WR), community members and students were present to speak on the importance of this resolution and how we can continue to build upon these milestones.
In her remarks, Government Affairs Director Tereza Yerimyan noted the timeliness of the LAUSD motion, “Our tragic reality is that we’re seeing the events of 101 years ago repeat today, with the murder and intimidation of Christian Armenians and other minorities in Syria, Turkey and Azerbaijan.” She continued, “I’m proud to be a product of the LAUSD system and stand here before the second largest school district in the United States knowing that you not only support the recognition, but that our school district is implementing the teaching of the Armenian Genocide to our students.”
Dr. Kay Mouradian shared her mother’s story of survival the how students of all ages have connected with her story through her book and film My Mother’s Voice, “since we lost our best and brightest and their gene pool in the genocide it has taken a hundred years to rebuild the Armenian Intelligentsia,” Dr. Mouradian remarked. She added, “Today with the LAUSD school board passing a resolution to recognize and teach the Armenian genocide in their districts, they have given our new Intelligentsia more opportunities to continue to grow.”
“L.A. Unified is charged with educating youth about all facets of human history, including wars and genocide, to ensure that such atrocities may never happen again,” said Board Member Ratliff. “The Armenian Genocide and its impact should be recognized. I look forward to working with the Armenian National Committee of America to ensure that this chapter of human history doesn’t go untold.”
This resolution comes a week after a productive meeting between the ANCA-WR Education Committee and Board President Steve Zimmer to coordinate teacher trainings as they pertain to the Armenian Genocide and the Near East Relief, in World History and U.S. History classes.
“LAUSD has for years served as a model for other school districts to follow as it pertains to the proper recognition and teaching of the Armenian. We are grateful to President Zimmer and all the Board of Education Members who made today’s resolution possible and look forward to our continued partnership in providing resources to teachers to pass on to future generations,” stated Elen Asatryan, ANCA-WR Executive Director.
The Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots advocacy organization in the Western United States. Working in coordination with a network of offices and supporters around the country, the ANCA-WR advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.