Pennsylvania House Passes Armenian Genocide Resolution

Pittsburgh City Council commemorates first genocide of 20th century

HARRISBURG (ANC-PA)–The Pennsylvania House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution designating April 24–2004 "Pennsylvania’s Day of Remembrance of the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1923."

Representative Daylin Leach (D) and 56 co-sponsors introduced Pennsylvania House Resolution No. 593 (HR593).

"The Armenian National Committee of Pennsylvania thanks Rep. Leach for his leadership in introducing this resolution. We also commend the House of Representatives for their unwavering commitment to recognize the Armenian Genocide and to honor the memories of the victims whose descendants are citizens of the Commonwealth," said ANC Pennsylvania co-chairman Dr. Ara Chalian. "The ANC of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania General Assembly have an enduring relationship that spans nearly twenty years. We look forward to continue working closely with Rep. Leach and others who take an active role in supporting the issues of the Armenian American community."

The resolution identifies the Ottoman Empire as the perpetrators of a genocide that claimed the lives of one and a half million Armenian men–women–and children from 1915 to 1923. It also acknowledges that modern Turkey continues to deny and distort the facts of the Armenian Genocide. Through this resolution–the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania reaffirms its commitment to condemn atrocities–such as the Armenian Genocide–and to prevent similar crimes against humanity from occurring again.

This is the second consecutive year that the first-term legislator has introduced an Armenian Genocide resolution. Rep. Leach–whose wife is of Armenian descent–represents a district which includes a large Armenian American constituency–two Armenian churches–and the Armenian Sisters Academy. "It is important that we never forget the atrocities visited upon the Armenian People in the last century," stated Rep. Leach. "It is only by remembering the past that we can recognize the gathering warning signs of new oppression. As long as I am in the legislature–I can assure you that no one will forget the struggle of the Armenian People," concluded Rep. Leach.

In addition to the Pennsylvania House Resolution–the Pittsburgh City Council passed a proclamation declaring April 24–2004 "A Day of Remembrance" for the victims of the Armenian Genocide. The City Proclamation was introduced and spearheaded by Councilman Douglas Shields–and was co-sponsored by Council President Gene Ricciardi and Council members Luke Ravenstahl–Jim Motznik–William Peduto–Len Bodack–Alan Hertzberg–Twanda Carlisle–and Sala Udin.

"On behalf of the Pittsburgh area Armenian-American community–I would like to thank Councilman Doug Shields and the City Council for observing the Armenian Genocide," stated ANC activist Rostom Sarkissian–who resides in Pittsburgh. "This proclamation and others like it not only honor the victims and survivors of the Armenian Genocide–but they also send a strong message to the Turkish government that continued denial of this Genocide can no longer be a state-sponsored policy. Time has come for Turkey to join the international community in acknowledging the Armenian Genocide for what it was–genocide," concluded Sarkissian.

The ANC-PA urges all Pennsylvania Armenia’s to contact their State Representative to thank them for passing HR593 and the Pittsburgh City Council for their "A Day of Remembrance" Proclamation.chievemen’s and encouraging a continued path toward similar success.

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