The Armenian National Committee of America San Francisco-Bay Area condemns in the strongest terms possible the reprehensible act of vandalism against San Francisco’s KZV Armenian School perpetrated in the early morning hours of July 24.
The many hateful, profane, and graphic messages and images painted across the front of the school are a vile and cowardly attempt to harass and intimidate the Bay Area Armenian American community and are an affront to the decency, good conscience and tolerance of the majority of Bay Area citizens.
The Bay Area became a safe haven for Armenians fleeing the Armenian Genocide of 1915, during which the Turkish government of the Ottoman Empire annihilated 1,500,000 Armenians, half of the population living on its historic homeland, and destroyed or stole all Armenian community and individual properties. The few survivors were dispersed throughout the world. San Francisco is home to the only Armenian-American day school in northern California, educating preschool through middle school students.
After the Armenian Genocide, a small portion of the Armenian homeland was incorporated into the Soviet Union, later declaring independence in 1991. Bordered to the west by Turkey and to the east by Turkey’s ethnic and political ally, Azerbaijan, Armenia has continued to endure intense hostility from both sides; Azerbaijan carried out its own pogroms against its Armenian citizens in 1988 and 1990, and attacked the Armenian enclave of Nagorno-Karabagh, resulting in war and a continuing, volatile cease-fire. Numerous KZV school families are survivors of those pogroms.
Last night’s attack occurred amidst a recent, global series of hate crimes against Armenians, including mob attacks against Armenians by Azerbaijanis in Russia, an arson attack on an Armenian embassy vehicle in Germany, and the burning down of an Armenian business in Ukraine. A similar incident involving racially motivated anti-Armenian vandalism of Armenian schools in Los Angeles took place last year.
Unfortunately, the Bay Area Armenian-American community is not unfamiliar with anti-Armenian animosity; Mt. Davidson Cross, a San Francisco historical landmark, which is under the stewardship of the Armenian-American community, has been targeted with vandalism on numerous occasions.
When hate crimes such as this are left unchecked and unpunished, perpetrators and their supporters are emboldened to carry out further, more egregious crimes.
We call upon San Francisco elected officials and community leaders to condemn this hate crime and we urge our law enforcement agencies to vigorously investigate, identify the perpetrators and bring them to justice.
Armenian National Committee of America
San Francisco-Bay Area Chapter