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State legislature declares 2019 ‘Year of Commemoration of the Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide’
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Turlock resident Deacon Daniel Aydenian, representative of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America, poses for a picture with the Consulate General of Armenia in Los Angeles Ambassador Armen Baibourtian and members of the California State Senate and Assembly on April 22 following the passage of a Joint Resolution commemorating the 104th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. - photo by Photo Contributed

Members of the California Legislature commemorated the 104th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide on April 22.

Armenians commemorate the mass killings on April 24 because on that date in 1915 a group of Armenian intellectuals was rounded up and assassinated in Constantinople by the Ottoman government. On April 24, Armenians worldwide commemorated the 104th anniversary of the genocide which continued until 1923. Some three dozen countries, hundreds of local government bodies and international organizations have so far recognized the killings of 1.5 million Armenians as genocide. Turkey denies the event to this day.

The Assembly Joint Resolution recognizes California as being home to the largest Armenian American population in the United States.

“Armenians living in California have enriched our state through their leadership and contribution in business, agriculture, academia, government, and the arts, many of whom have family members who experienced firsthand the horror and evil of the Armenian Genocide and its ongoing denial; and

“WHEREAS, Every person should be made aware and educated about the Armenian Genocide and other crimes against humanity; and

“WHEREAS, The State of California has been at the forefront of encouraging and promoting a curriculum relating to human rights and genocide in order to empower future generations to prevent the recurrence of genocide.”

The resolution designates 2019 as “State of California Year of Commemoration of the Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide of 1915–1923” and April 24, 2019, as “State of California Day of Commemoration of the 104th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide of 1915–1923.”

Local State Senator Andreas Borgeas said he was “humbled to present SR 31 to the Senate, commemorating the 104th anniversary” of the Armenian Genocide.

The Senator gave an impassioned reading on the Senator floor of the personal account of his wife’s grandmother, who as a 10-year-old was miraculously able to flee the genocide on a boat because she was wearing an American flag on her arm.

“Without papers, without money and without resources, they made Greece their home before coming to America in the 1970s. This story of tragedy and survival is shared throughout the Armenian, Greek and Assyrian communities,” said Senator Borgeas.

He went on to urge the President and Congress to “have the courage to finally declare what went on from 1915 to 1923 as what is was — genocide. We hope that President Trump will recognize that Turkey is neither a loyal friend nor a true NATO ally and justice should not be subordinated to political convenience.”