ANCA-backed bipartisan measure seeks $10 million for Library of Congress educational programs about the history, consequences, and ongoing costs of the Armenian Genocide
WASHINGTON—Representatives Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Ted Lieu (D-CA), and David Valadao (R-CA), re-introduced the Armenian Genocide Education Act on Monday – a bipartisan measure, backed by the ANCA, which would allocate $10 million over 5 years to help educate American students about Ottoman Turkey’s 1915-1923 Genocide of Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Syriac, Arameans, and Maronite Christians.
“The ANCA thanks Reps. Eshoo, Bilirakis, Lieu, and Valadao, welcoming their introduction of this timely bill, brought forward in the wake of official U.S. recognition of the 1915 Genocide and amid renewed efforts by Azerbaijan and Turkey to complete this crime against the Armenian nation,” remarked ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian.
“This federal legislation represents a necessary next step, building upon U.S. remembrance, alerting Americans to the ongoing threat of genocide, and ensuring that future generations benefit from the terrible lessons of this still unpunished crime. We will do all we can to support this bill and look forward to it being passed by Congress and signed into law by the President,” added Hamparian.
“By ensuring students have access to the resources necessary to understand why and how the Armenian Genocide occurred, the Armenian Genocide Education Act preserves the legacies of the victims, combats genocide denial, and ensures that future generations learn the lessons of this dark chapter of history,” said Rep. Eshoo, who is the lead author of the measure. “This legislation honors the memories of my ancestors and all those who perished at the hands of the Ottoman Empire.”
Representatives Eshoo, Valadao, Lieu, and Bilirakis were joined by 38 of their House colleagues as original cosponsors of the Armenian Genocide Education Act, including Representatives: Jake Auchincloss (D-MA), Tony Cardenas (D-CA), Judy Chu (D-CA), David Cicilline (D-RI), Jim Costa (D-CA), Jasmine Crockett (D-TX), Nanette Diaz Barragan (D-CA), Jimmy Gomez (D-CA), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Jared Huffman (D-CA), Sara Jacobs (D-CA), Sydney Kamlager-Dove (D-CA), William Keating (D-MA), Rick Larsen (D-WA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Susie Lee (D-NV), Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY), James McGovern (D-MA), Grace Meng (D-NY), Joseph Morelle (D-NY), Kevin Mullin (D-CA), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Katie Porter (D-CA), Linda Sanchez (D-CA), John Sarbanes (D-MD), Janice Schakowsky (D-IL), Adam Schiff (D-CA), Brad Schneider (D-IL), Brad Sherman (D-CA), Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ), Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), Haley Stevens (D-MI), Eric Swalwell (D-CA), Dina Titus (D-NV), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), and Lori Trahan (D-MA).
The lead Congressional advocates of the measure cited the key role that education plays in genocide prevention.
“Our darkest moments as a human race have come during times when those who knew better stood silently, making excuses for passivity and allowing injustice and persecution to reign. We must acknowledge the atrocities of the past so that we might hopefully prevent them in the future,” said Rep. Bilirakis. “One of the best ways to achieve this goal is through education and awareness, which is why I am proud to co-lead the Armenian Genocide Education Act again in the 118th Congress.”
Rep. Lieu concurred, noting: “The Armenian Genocide was one of the most horrific losses of human life in modern history. It resulted in the deaths of roughly 1.5 million Armenians, and even more were displaced and forced to start new lives from scratch. Remembering atrocities like the Armenian Genocide is crucial to ensuring they never happen again. A key part of that is education, which is why I’m proud to co-lead the Armenian Genocide Education Act with Representatives Anna Eshoo, Gus Bilirakis, and David Valadao. This bill honors the legacies of those who perished by helping to ensure future generations learn about, and never forget, the Armenian Genocide.”
Rep. Valadao stressed that, “people who fail to understand history are bound to repeat it, and education is one of the best tools we have to prevent repeating some of our darkest days. The Armenian Genocide Education Act preserves the memories of the 1.5 million Armenians who were killed at the hands of the Ottoman Empire, and ensures Americans have accurate information on why and how this horrific event happened.”
Congressional Armenian Caucus founding co-Chair Frank Pallone welcomed the introduction of the measure, stating, “education is one of the best ways we can honor the memory of the victims of the Armenian Genocide and ensure it never happens again. This bill will help keep the memory of this horrific genocide alive by ensuring future generations have access to historically accurate resources. Expanding access to educational tools moves us one step closer to fulfilling our obligation to speak candidly about the past that is directly tied to our moral responsibilities of the present.”
Congressional Armenian Caucus Vice-Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA) explained, “when we remain silent in the face of injustice, we dishonor the victims and make further tragedy inevitable. Through education, we can combat genocide denial and ensure that future generations learn the lessons of history. The Armenian Genocide claimed 1.5 million lives. It must never be forgotten. And it must never happen again. Not to the Armenians. Not to anyone.”
The Armenian Genocide Education Act was introduced on April 24th, the international day of Armenian Genocide commemoration. Building upon the 2019 passage of H.Res.296 and S.Res.150 – which specifically rejected any official U.S. association with Armenian Genocide denial – the Armenian Genocide Education Act seeks to counter discourse and propaganda that claims that Ottoman Turkey’s systematic and deliberate state-sponsored mass murder, national dispossession, cultural erasure, and exile of millions of Christians between 1915 and 1923 did not take place. A similar measure was introduced in the last session of Congress.