SACRAMENTO—The Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region welcomed the introduction of Assembly Concurrent Resolution 96, introduced by California Assembly Member Felipe Fuentes (CA-AD-39-D-Arleta). The resolution commemorates the massacres of Armenians in Sumgait, Kirovabad (present-day Ganja), and Baku, Azerbaijan on the anniversary of the massacre in Sumgait (February 1988) and calls on the legislature to remember the victims of massacres and oppression of Armenians in Azerbaijan, many of whom barely survived the atrocities and ended up as refugees in the United States, including California.
“I am honored to lead the State Assembly in commemorating the massacre of Armenians in Azerbaijan nearly 25 years ago,” said Fuentes. “The Armenian people have demonstrated throughout history that they are true survivors. They have faced persecution and genocide and yet they have once again flourished and have become an integral part of our community in California. We stand together today to acknowledge the atrocities of the past so that we do not repeat them in the future.”
The resolution, which should be adopted before the anniversary, on February 27, of the Sumgait massacres, provides the broader context of the issue and how the massacres were part of the widespread, anti-democratic backlash faced by the ethnic Armenians of Nagorno Karabakh when they voted for independence when the Soviet Union fell.
The Soviet Azerbaijani state and subsequent Republic of Azerbaijan brutally responded to Armenians’ call for self-determination, both within and beyond Nagorno Karabakh in Azerbaijan.
With hundreds of thousands fleeing Azerbaijan in the last decade of the 20th Century, many found refuge in California.
“This resolution resonates both from the American and Armenian perspective. As a country founded on the principle of self-determination by people seeking a better life and often escaping persecution in the ‘Old World,’ the United States and its history is an inspiration to the Armenians of Azerbaijan and Nagorno Karabakh,” said Armen Garabedian, chairman of the ANCA-WR’s California State Affairs committee. “It has become a safe haven and home for those fleeing the massacres in Sumgait, Kirovabad, and Baku as well as an inspiration to those who stayed behind to shape a more secure and democratic future there.”
Hundreds of Armenian families who survived the massacres ended up in towns across California including those in the San Francisco, Sacramento, Central Valley, Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego County areas. Many of these survivors have put down roots in the state and are giving back to the communities in which they live as established and young professionals.
Those interested in learning more about the resolution and participating in the community’s commemoration activities in the State Capitol should contact the ANCA-WR at (818) 500-1918.
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.