SACRAMENTO—Assemblymember Chris Holden’s extended support to the Armenian community in his district and beyond on April 25 by writing a letter to the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CALSTRS) and the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CALPERS) on commending them for their commitment to divest from Turkish assets operated and held by the Republic of Turkey from the system’s many funds.
This directive to divest from the Republic of Turkey, is especially poignant given both the State’s and Nation’s recognition of the atrocities committed by Turkey during the Armenian Genocide. The Armenian Genocide, which killed over 1.5 million Armenians and other minority groups including Greeks, Assyrians, Syriacs, and Chaldeans, is a horrific criminal act that our state must address meaningfully so that we may afford justice to the victims.
“Last year, I authored legislation that creates a Sister State relationship between California and Syunik, ACR 105,” said Assemblymember Chris Holden. “Strengthening our relationship with Syunik comes at a critical time as regional powers like Azerbaijan and Turkey pose a threat to Syunik, Armenia, and Artaskh.”
For the past century, the Turkish state has denied the genocide and the profound generational trauma which it inflicted on Armenian culture, heritage, and statehood. It is integral that the Public Employees’ Retirement System and Teachers’ Retirement System take this next step to divest and rebuke the Republic of Turkey’s use of funds to fuel a genocide denial campaign and continued aggressions, with Azerbaijan, against the Armenian state, the Armenian populations of the Nagorno-Karabakh also known as Artsakh, and the greater Armenian diaspora.
Furthermore, it is incumbent upon our state to represent and respect our Armenian population. California is home to the largest Armenian population in the United States, much of whom are direct descendants of survivors of the Armenian Genocide. It is in the state’s interest to divest assets of the Republic of Turkey, to uplift our Armenian communities by respecting their real trauma, and to use our economic power, as the fifth largest economy globally, to stand against the genocide denial of the Turkish state.