DENVER– Colorado’s State Senate unanimously voted today to designate April 24 as “Colorado Day of the Remembrance of the Armenian Genocide” through a strongly-worded resolution that also recognized the Republic of Artsakh and the recent cultural genocide in Nakhichevan.
“We are grateful for Colorado’s ongoing remembrance of the Armenian Genocide and we are so proud of this year’s courageous resolution that recognizes the ongoing genocidal repercussions faced by the Armenian homeland,” remarked the Armenian National Committee of America Western Region (ANCA WR) chair Nora Hovsepian, Esq. “The resolution is particularly commendable for referencing and effectively recognizing the Republic of Artsakh,” continued Hovsepian. “This success, which builds upon the Sardarapat Highway and the Capitol Khachkar Memorial, is another testament to the effectiveness of the determined and persistent activism pursued by Colorado’s vibrant Armenian American grassroots.”
Championed by Democratic Senator Dominick Moreno and Republican Senator Jack Tate, Senate Resolution 19-012 recounts the historical background of the Armenian Genocide, recalls Colorado’s WWI-era efforts in support of the Armenian Nation, and references the ongoing consequences of the Armenian Genocide that impact the Armenian homeland on a daily basis. In particular, the resolution states that “The ongoing consequences of the Armenian Genocide and its impunity include the Turkish-Azerbaijani blockade of the already-landlocked sister states of the Armenian homeland, the Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Artsakh.” This recognition increases the number of American states that have recognized Artsakh to nine.
SR 19-012 also cites the recently-exposed cultural genocide in Nakhichevan as an outcome of the impunity for the Armenian Genocide: “Turkey’s unpunished denial of the Armenian Genocide and ongoing desecration of Armenian sacred sites without accountability has inspired and enabled the recent execution of an unparalleled cultural genocide of the entire indigenous Christian Armenian heritage in the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhichevan, where between the years of 1997 and 2006 the Azerbaijan Government eradicated every trace of the region’s ancient Armenian past of an estimated 90 churches and 6,000 intricately-carved cross-stones, including the celebrated Djulfa khachkars, one of which was replicated in 2015 for the Colorado State Capitol Armenian Genocide Memorial Garden.”
First introduced in 2002, Colorado’s annual Armenian Genocide resolution, as it has done previously, concludes by expressing support for “constructive and durable relations between the country of Armenia, the homeland for the Armenian people, and its neighbors, based upon acknowledgment of the facts and ongoing consequences of the Armenian genocide, and a fair, just, and comprehensive international resolution of this unpunished crime against humanity.”
SR 19-012 was voted on in the morning of April 24 in the presence of ANCA activists and Armenian American community leaders. The introduction and vote was broadcast live on ANCA-WR’s Facebook page and aired on The Colorado Channel. Due to time consideration, only parts of the resolution were read on the floor.
In addition to SR 19-012, the Armenian Genocide has been commemorated this year through a gubernatorial proclamation. Colorado Governor Jared Polis recently proclaimed April as “Genocide Awareness Month,” stating that “Coloradans find it important to remember and commemorate the 20th-century genocides perpetrated against Armenians, Jews, Cambodians, Bosnians, and Rwandans, among others, as well as the 21st-century genocide against Darfuris in Sudan, the ongoing brutalities against the Rohingya minority in Myanmar, and the crimes against the indigenous Christians and Yezidis in the Middle East.” Notably, the proclamation issued by Gov. Polis at the request of the Coalition Against Global Genocide condemned genocide denial and other genocidal policies, as well as underlined the importance of teaching Colorado schoolchildren about genocides and crimes against humanity.
On Sunday, April 28, the Armenian community and its supporters, led by Armenians of Colorado (AOC) and ANCA-Colorado, will gather at the Colorado State Capitol Armenian Memorial Garden to commemorate the 104th anniversary of the commencing of the Armenian Genocide, an annual commemoration that will be keynoted this year by Colorado’s freshman Congressman Jason Crow, whose district is home to the Centennial State’s largest Armenian-American constituency.
Headquartered in Glendale, California, the Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots advocacy organization in the Western United States. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the Western United States and affiliated organizations around the country, the ANCA-WR advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.