L.A. City Council Pays Tribute to Documentary Filmmaker J. Michael Hagopian During Genocide Commemoration

LOS ANGELES—City Councilmembers Paul Krekorian and Eric Garcetti, with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the Los Angeles City Council, commemorated the 95th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide on April 23 with a special presentation in Council Chambers that paid recognition to Dr. J Michael Hagopian, 96, one of the few remaining survivors of the Armenian Genocide.

The founder and chair of the Armenian Film Foundation, Dr. Hagopian has dedicated his life to the visual documentation of the Turkish extermination of 1.5 million Armenians in 1915. His work includes nearly 400 filmed interviews of Armenian Genocide survivors and witnesses and over 40 years of personal research.

“Through his life and career, Dr. J Michael Hagopian is proof that a single person can change humankind’s understanding of itself,” said Councilmember Krekorian, the first Armenian-American to ever sit on the Los Angeles City Council. “He is proof that we can rise above intolerance and ensure future generations are armed with the information needed to combat bigotry in all forms.  I am proud to stand with him today and honor the memory of the 1.5 million innocents who were so horrifically taken from this world, but who continue to speak through the life’s work of J. Michael Hagopian.”

Aida Dimejian, chairwoman of the Armenian National Committee’s Western Region, who spoke during a reception held before the presentation in City Council chambers, said that J. Michael Hagopian is the only individual to have received the organization’s prestigious ANC Man of the Year award twice, once in 1984 and again in 2000.

“Today when we see the House Foreign Affairs Committee vote to reaffirm the truth of the Armenian Genocide against a shameful denialist campaign that has continued for over 95 years, or when we look up at billboards throughout this city and see the “Truth Will Prevail” in bold letters next to a photo of a genocide survivor, we need look no further than to Dr. J. Michael Hagopian as the inspiration for that call for truth, dignity and justice in our land,” she said. “His life’s work stands as inspiration to us all.”

The reception and commemoration was attended by many Armenian-American community dignitaries and leaders, including Armenian Consul General Grigor Hovhannisian, Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian of the Western Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America, Archbishop Vatche Hovsepian of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church of North America and representatives of the Armenian National Committee, the Armenian Council of America, the Armenian Professional Society, the Armenian Relief Society and many other organizations.

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