Nevada, California, Delaware Officials Mark Genocide Anniversary

During the last week, legislatures and governors of the states of Nevada, California, Wisconsin and Delaware marked the 92nd anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. The Armenian National Committee of Americas Western and Eastern regional offices and local chapters were instrumental in making these events happen. Below are related news items on these events. Governor Schwarzenegger Proclaims April 22 29, 2007 as Days of Remembrance The State of Californias largest Armenian American public affairs organization, the Armenian National Committee of America Western Region (ANCA-WR), is praising a proclamation concerning the Armenian Genocide released by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on April 6. The document specifically addresses the continued denial of the Armenian Genocide which is so deeply offensive to the over 500,000 Armenian Americans who live in the Golden State. We are proud to see Governor Schwarzenegger exercise moral leadership on the Armenian Genocide, commented ANCA-WR Executive Director Andrew Kzirian. His statement is appreciated by Armenian Americans in California and all people of conscience who believe that the denial of genocide is morally abhorrent. The ANCA-WR will be sharing the Governors proclamation with all 53 Members of Californias Congressional Delegation in the hope that they will pass, without delay, the Armenian Genocide resolution pending in the House Foreign Affairs Committee, added Kzirian. The statement reads in part, Documented as the first instance of genocide in the twentieth century, the Armenian Genocide remains unacknowledged to this day. I strongly echo the sentimen’s that all nations must examine their own painful histories, as the denial of genocide further wounds a nations ability to heal. It is our responsibility to recognize the brutal slayings of so many innocents [Armenia’s], remembering their suffering and vowing to help prevent future genocides. The proclamation goes on to declare the week of April 22 through April 29, 2007 as Days of Remembrance of the Armenian Genocide. Governor Schwarzeneggers proclamation was issued in the midst of a campaign by the Turkish Government to defeat a resolution (H.Res.106) pending in the U.S. Congress that would mark the slaughter of 1.5 million Christians as the first genocide of the 20th century. Over 48 of the State of Californias 53 Members of Congress have cosponsored the Armenian Genocide resolution. San Francisco – Bay Area Congressman Tom Lantos (D-CA), who serves as Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and is himself a Holocaust survivor, has not indicated whether he is supporting the legislation or if he will schedule a vote on the bill in his committee. Currently, nearly 200 Members of Congress from over 35 states have cosponsored the Armenian Genocide resolution. This is the tenth proclamation issued by the Office of the Governor of California in the past eleven years, and supplemen’s the sixteen proclamations by the California Assembly and Senate dating back to 1991. Governor Schwarzenegger has followed in the footsteps of predecessor Governor Grey Davis in issuing proclamations recognizing and calling for remembrance of the Armenian Genocide. ANCA-WR Joins California Legislature in Marking Armenian Genocide The California State Assembly and Senate Monday passed Assembly Joint Resolution 15 (AJR 15), which declares April 24, 2007 an Official Day of Remembrance in California. During the assembly session the coauthors of AJR 15, Assemblymembers Paul Krekorian and Greg Aghazarian presented the legislation. They emphasized that, while resolutions have been adopted in the past to designate April 24th as a Day of Remembrance, this resolution goes further by expressing that the Congress and President should appropriately recognize the Genocide, demanding that the Republic of Turkey acknowledge the Genocide and condemning them for their current abuses of human rights. Specific reference was made to the assassination of Hrant Dink. After being put to a vote, the resolution was accepted on the assembly floor. The resolution was principally coauthored by Senators Jack Scott and Joe Simitian, Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, and Assemblymembers Charles Calderon, Kevin De Leon, Mark Leno, Fiona Ma, and Anthony Portantino. Before the closing of the session Assemblymember Krekorian thanked those in the Armenian community in attendance, especially ANC 2000 Man of the Year J. Michael Hagopian, a distinguished film maker and genocide survivor who received a standing applause from the members. Following the vote, a special commemoration ceremony was held in the Assembly chamber. At the conclusion of the session a reception was held, which was hosted by the Armenian Caucus of the State Legislature. Many members of the delegation, as well as members from the Armenian American community, were able to meet with legislators and legislative staff. Additionally, on the same day a commemoration ceremony was held on the California Senate floor. Both AJR 15 coauthors, Senators Jack Scott and Joe Simitian, addressed the Senate on the occasion of commemorating April 24 and the Armenian Genocide. The opening prayer was given by the designated representative of Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Father Vahan Gosdanian of the Holy Trinity Church of Fresno. After the remarks of both Senator Simitian and Senator Scott, Senator Simitian introduced The Consul General of the Republic of Armenia to Los Angeles, Armen Liloyan. Liloyan extended gratitude and appreciation to both Houses of Californias legislature and applauded the reaffirmation of Californias firm stance against injustice. The California legislature today demonstrated its commitment to the protection of human rights everywhere, stated ANCA-WR Board Member Souzi Zerounian-Khanzadian. She added, We are happy to see Californias commemorative ceremonies calling for recognition of the Armenian Genocide and with 38 states that have issued similar declarations and resolutions the time is ripe for the United States Congress to do the same.

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