Mayor Newsom calls on President and Congress to recognize Armenian Genocide
SAN FRANCISCO, CA–The Bay Area Armenian Community rallied together on April 24th to commemorate the 95th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide and expressed its outrage regarding President Obama’s statement which refrained from using the term genocide. A walkathon and commemoration ceremony were hosted by the Armenian Genocide Commemorative Committee of Northern California, which encompasses all Armenian organizations including the Armenian National Committee of the San Francisco Bay Area (ANC SF Bay Area) and the Armenian Youth Federation “Rosdom” San Francisco Chapter. The following Tuesday, the ANC SF Bay Area hosted a screening of the genocide documentary film, “The River Ran Red”.
The first event of the day was the “Walk for Remembrance” walkathon across the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. More than 800 participants, some from as far east as Sacramento and as far south as Monterey, came out to help raise awareness about the Armenian Genocide. The event commenced on the San Francisco side of the bridge with prayers offered by San Francisco Bay area clergy and culminated on the Marin County side of the bridge. Joining community activists for the walk across the bridge were several special guests including Armenian National Committee of America Executive Director Aram Hamparian as well as members of the Darfur Coalition, Members of the Rwandan community, and a Holocaust survivor.
Later that day, the community gathered at Saint Ignatius Church in San Francisco for a commemorative event featuring several local public officials including San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, California Assembly Member Tom Torlakson, California State Senator Joe Simitian, and US Representative Jackie Speier.
In the opening remarks of the evening, Mayor Newsom thanked the elected community of San Francisco support on the issue and noted that he was “glad to be Mayor of a city that stands on the side of truth, justice, and human rights. It is time for the President and Congress to do the right thing and acknowledge the Armenian Genocide.”
Congresswoman Speier recalled her childhood upbringing noting how her mother’s constant reminders about her Armenian heritage inspire her to remain committed to the Armenian community promised those gathered that “I will continue to fight for just recognition of the Armenian Genocide.”
Senator Simitian spoke about the importance of recognition while Assembly Member Torlakson reiterated his commitment to work with the Armenian National Committee and presented a proclamation congratulating the efforts of the event organizers.
Delivering the keynote address for the evening, Hamparian discussed the importance of recognition and justice. Pointing to past precedent and the contribution of ongoing denial to the continuing cycle of genocide, Hamparian reminded those in attendance that the just pursuit of this issue is not only in the interests of the Armenian community, but America as a whole and even the voices of truth in Turkey that remain repressed by their own government today.
As part of the evening’s program, students from the KZV Armenian School in San Francisco performed two musical pieces and a poem in honor of the victims of the Armenian Genocide.
On April 27th the ANC SF Bay Area also hosted a screening of the documentary, “The River Ran Red” with film director Dr. J. Michael Hagopian. The film, the final installment of the “Witness” trilogy, was screened at the San Francisco Public Library. Over 150 people attended the event which was followed by a lively question and answer session with Hagopian.
The Armenian National Committee of the San Francisco Bay Area advances the social, economic, cultural, and political rights of the area’s Armenian American community and promotes increased Armenian American civic participation at the grassroots and public policy levels.