SACRAMENTO—California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom issued a proclamation last week commemorating the 96th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, reported the Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region.
In his proclamation, Newsom noted the contemporary consequences of the Armenian Genocide in raising awareness about the cultural dispossession of the Genocide survivors from their historic homeland.
Newsom also highlighted the contribution of Armenian Americans – most being direct descendants of the Genocide – to the cultural, social, economic, and civic enrichment of California.
“We thank Lieutenant Governor Newsom for his leadership and the forthright manner in which he commemorated the Armenian Genocide through his proclamation,” said Andrew Kzirian, Chairman of the ANCA-WR. “Too often we forget this important legacy of the Genocide which is felt by the community to this day.”
Newsom has had a long track record regarding affirmation of the Armenian Genocide. As Mayor of San Francisco, he was a leading public advocate calling on Congress and the President numerous times to appropriately remember the Armenian Genocide as genocide. In his proclamation this year, he referred to the International Association of Genocide Scholars, the world’s leading academic association in the field, which has repeatedly reaffirmed the historical truth of the Armenian Genocide.
“With April 24th falling on Easter this year, we are particularly reminded of the loss of the vast cultural heritage of the Armenian people,” said Armen Carapetian, Chairman of the ANCA San Francisco Bay Area Chapter. “The survivors and their descendants are separated from their homes, properties and churches most of which have fallen into ruin either out of neglect or intentional destruction by the Republic of Turkey over the past several decades.”
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.
Complete text of Newsom’s proclamation:
WHEREAS, April 24, 1915, marked the beginning of the Armenian Genocide which resulted in the death of over two million Armenians as well as Greeks and Assyrians between 1915 and 1923; and
WHEREAS, nearly half million Armenians who survived the horrors of extermination were expelled from their homes and forced to settle in various countries throughout the world; and
WHEREAS, the Armenian Genocide is one of the first modern genocides which resulted in the near annihilation of a people and the dispossession of the survivors from their cultural homeland and heritage; and
WHEREAS, the Republic of Turkey, the successor state to the Ottoman Empire under which the Genocide was committed, unjustifiably and adamantly denies the occurrence of this crime against humanity while actively continuing to remove traces of Armenian existence. This includes the neglect and intentional destruction of the thousands of remaining churches throughout the Armenian Highlands which make up today’s eastern Turkey; and
WHEREAS, the International Association of Genocide Scholars has repeatedly affirmed that the massacres of Armenians initiated in 1915 constitutes genocide; and
WHEREAS, throughout the 20th Century the Armenian Genocide was followed by several other genocides and this pattern continues to this day as seen in the Darfur region of Sudan. If we fail to remember the lessons of the past and remain silent in deference to a campaign of denial we embolden current and future perpetrators of genocide; and
WHEREAS, many survivors of the Genocide settled in states around the country, including California. California has become home to the largest population of Armenians in the United States and those citizens have enriched our state through leadership in the fields of academia, medicine, business, agriculture, government, and the arts and are proud and patriotic practitioners of American citizenship; and
NOW, THEREFORE I, GAVIN NEWSOM, Lieutenant Governor of the State of California, do hereby join Californians in a day of remembrance of the Armenian Genocide.