April 24–1915–marked the beginning of the Armenian genocide–a crime against humanity that led to the death of 1.5 million Armenia’s between 1915 and 1923. The 500,000 Armenia’s who survived the horrors of this extermination by the Ottoman Empire were expelled from their homes and forced to settle in various countries throughout the world.
Stripped of their possessions–these refugees carried with them little more than the memories of loved ones–a hope for a better life and the courage to start anew. Armed with this determination–they flourished in many of their adopted homelands–including California–home to the largest Armenian population outside of the Republic of Armenia.
Today–these Armenian survivors and their descendants continue to provide tremendous leadership and invaluable contributions to our state’s businesses–art community–and academic–governmental and cultural institutions. Their spirit of hard work and perseverance–coupled with their dedication to tradition–is a great example to all Californians and adds to the luster of our Golden State.
As we commemorate the ninety-first anniversary of the Armenian genocide–we must study and learn history’s lessons–fight to end bigotry and hate in all their forms–and live lives of tolerance towards all people. Silence only serves to perpetuate the denial of the past–while open acknowledgement lays the foundation for a more hopeful tomorrow. In that spirit of hope–I stand alongside our friends in the Armenian community in recognizing the Armenian genocide–and urge all freedom-loving people in America and around the world to do the same.
NOW–THEREFORE–I–ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER–Governor of the State of California–do hereby proclaim the week of April 23rd through April 29th–2006–as "Days of Remembrance of the Armenian Genocide."
IN WITNESS WHEREOF–I have here unto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State of California to be affixed this–the nineteenth day of April 2006.
Governor of California