ANCA-San Francisco Bay Area Chapter Condemns “Emerging Pattern of Hate Crimes”
The Board of Trustees of the St. Gregory Armenian Apostolic Church of San Francisco announced on Thursday that around 4 a.m. the building adjacent to the church was set ablaze by arsonists.
“The building housed Vasbouragan Hall, as well as offices for St. Gregory Armenian Church and various organizations. The San Francisco Fire Department responded immediately, however, the building has suffered a great loss,” said the church board of trustees.
“The Church Board of Trustees and community leaders are on site assessing the damage and working closely with San Francisco Fire and Police Departments in their investigation. We will provide more updates to the community as they become available,” added the board.
Armenian community officials said that the fire was started in three different areas on the building–the church Sunday School classrooms, the church office and the Hamazkayin Library.
This follows an attack on the Krouzian-Zekarian Vasbouragan Armenian School and the adjacent community center in July. The exterior of the building was spray painted with anti-Armenian, pro-Azerbaijani graffiti.
“The ANCA San Francisco-Bay Area condemns the attack on the St. Gregory Armenian Church Center and is deeply concerned about an emerging pattern of hate crimes targeting the Bay Armenian Armenian American community as an extension of Turkish and Azerbaijani Government aggression against Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh,” said the Armenian National Committee of America San Francisco Bay Area chapter in a statement on Thursday.
“As descendants of victims and survivors of the Armenian Genocide, the Bay Area Armenian American community understands the very real consequences of allowing intolerance and hate to remain unchecked. We will be working with the St. Gregory Armenian Apostolic Church Board of Trustees and the San Francisco Fire and Police Departments to help better ensure the safety and security of the local Armenian American community and its institutions, while pressing for a thorough investigation and prosecution of the perpetrators of both the Krouzian-Zekarian Armenian School and St. Gregory Armenian Church Center attacks,” added the ANCA-SFBA.
“There is no room for this cowardly, hateful, criminal act in San Francisco,” said San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin in a Twitter post. “We stand with the Armenian community against hate.”
This is an outrage.
The Armenian community of San Francisco woke up today to an arson at their church.
There is no room for this cowardly, hateful, criminal conduct in San Francisco. We stand with the Armenian community against hate!https://t.co/ucGAHFLwGW
— Chesa Boudin 博徹思 (@chesaboudin) September 17, 2020
The center houses the offices of the ARF “Kristapor” chapter, the ANCA-San Francisco, the local Homenetmen, ARS, Hamazkayin and AYF chapters.
The church has set up a GoFundMe page to assist in the recovery efforts.