MONTEBELLO–The Montebello City Council Wednesday unanimously approved a resolution in support of the Armenian Genocide Resolution currently pending before the United States Congress (H. Res. 106). Echoing, H. Res. 106, the Montebello Resolution also called upon President George Bush to “accurately characterize the systematic and deliberate annihilation of 1.5 million Armenia’s as genocide and to recall the proud history of United States intervention in opposition to the Armenian Genocide” during his annual statement on April 24th.
The 5-0 vote was greeted by enthusiastic applause from the packed City Council chambers. The audience included over 100 local Armenia’s, many of whom were students from the Armenian Mesrobian School, accompanied by their principal and many teachers. “I was particularly happy to see such a strong turn out from Mesrobian students” said Viken Pakradouni, Chairman of the Armenian National Committee, San Gabriel Valley Chapter. “This sort of involvement from young activists means that this issue can never be buried and we will prevail.”
Before the vote, Pakradouni spoke in support of the resolution as did Razmig Sarkissian, an 11th grade student from Mesrobian School. Pakradouni pointed out the broad representation of Armenian organizations in attendance at the chamber, which included members of the ANC, Holy Cross Cathedral Church Board, Armenian Relief Society, Armenian Youth Federation and Mesrobian Students. Sarkissian spoke from the heart, about his grandmother who was left orphaned as a result of the Genocide. He urged the Council to adopt the Resolution because it was simply the right thing to do.
Councilmen Bob Bagwell spoke movingly and eloquently in support of the resolution. Councilman Jeff Siccama then expressed his disappointment that the United States administration criticizes deniers of the Jewish Holocaust such as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad but engages in the very same practices by refusing to honestly address the Armenian Genocide. Councilman Siccama also recounted his meetings with survivors of the Armenian Genocide and how the looks in their eyes were reflected in the looks in the eyes of the young people at the City Council meeting.
Along with Councilmen Bagwell and Siccama, Mayor Norma Lopez-Reid, Mayor Pro Tem William Molinari and Councilwoman Rosemarie Vasquez voted in favor of the resolution. Mayor Lopez-Reid then read the text of the resolution.
“The City of Montebello has had a large and active Armenian population for over 50 years,” said Nazareth Sadorian, Chairman of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation “Dro” Gomideh. “Forty years ago, Montebello was the first city in the United States to approve construction of a memorial to victims of the Armenian Genocide. Tonight we saw a very welcome continuation of that legacy.”