LANSING, Mich.—Michigan Governor Rick Snyder on Tuesday signed into law House Bill 4493, mandating the teaching of genocides, including the Holocaust and Armenian Genocide.
Specifically the new law states: “Beginning in the 2016-2017 school year, the board of a school district or board of directors of a public school academy shall ensure that the school district’s or public school academy’s social studies curriculum for grades 8 to 12 includes age- and grade-appropriate instruction about genocide, including, but not limited to, the Holocaust and the Armenian Genocide. The legislature recommends a combined total of 6 hours of this instruction during grades 8 to 12.”
On Feb. 23, the Michigan House of Representatives passed the legislation with an overwhelming majority, with bill sponsor, Representative Klint Kesto (Mich.-39) sponsoring the bill and leading the support for the legislation.
“We see history repeating itself today in the Middle East with ISIS targeting and committing acts of genocide against Chaldean and Assyrian Christian communities and other religious minorities such as the Yezidis. It is imperative that our students study the history of genocide as it occurred to the Armenian people by the Ottoman Turks, as well as to the Jewish people at the hands of the Nazis. Never again should mean never again,” said Representative Kesto after the vote on the Michigan House floor.
With the leadership and support of State Senator and Majority leader Arlan Meekhoff (Mich.-30), Michigan State Senator and Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall (Mich.-15), State Senator and Senate Education Committee Chairman Phil Pavlov, State Senator Marty Knollenberg (Mich.-13), and State Senator David Knezek (Mich.-5), the Michigan Senate again passed the legislation with an overwhelming majority on May 18.
The Armenian Genocide Education Committee (AGEC), comprised of members from the various Armenian-American community organizations and churches and the Armenian National Committee of Michigan united and worked tirelessly with members of the Armenian-American community as they advocated on behalf of the new law.
“The signing of this bill into law is the culmination of many months of great effort and cooperation from all Armenian political, social, and cultural groups in the Metropolitan Detroit Community. We will now go forward with that same resolve to implement the new Law,” said Armenian Genocide Education Committee Chairperson Edward Haroutunian.
“Representative Kesto has always been a friend to the Jewish and Armenian communities and has stood strong in making sure that the atrocities of past genocides are known by all and are prevented in the future,” said Armenian National Committee of Michigan Chairperson Lara Nercessian, adding, “No longer will students wonder why they never heard of the Armenian Genocide. This new law will provide our students with a complete history of genocides of the past, and provide them with the necessary framework to prevent future acts of genocide.”