Los Angeles County is home to the largest population of Armenians in the United States, with approximately 214,628 people living in the county, according to the 2011 American Community Survey.
To honor the county’s Armenian residents and their culture, the Board of Supervisors last month proclaimed April “Armenian History Month” – and this week also passed a motion declaring April 24 “Genocide Remembrance Day.” Armenian in Los Angeles County”.
Governor Gavin Newsom also issued a proclamation declaring April 24, 2022 “A Day of Remembrance of the Armenian Genocide” in the state of California.
“As we remember the victims and survivors of the Armenian Genocide, we also honor the strength and resilience of the Armenian people,” the proclamation reads in part. “Forced to build new lives in every corner of the globe, Armenians have valiantly marched forward in the face of unimaginable tragedy. Thousands have called California their home, and we are greatest for their contributions.”
April 24 is also observed throughout the Armenian Diaspora and is a public holiday in Armenia and the Republic of Artsakh.
In Los Angeles on Sunday at 3 p.m., the Armenian Youth Federation will stage a protest outside the Turkish Consulate at 8500 Wilshire Blvd. to demand that the Turkish government recognize the genocide and end its support for Azerbaijan in Artsakh, a region disputed by Azerbaijan and Armenia.
The Armenian Genocide began in 1915 and resulted in the deaths of 1.5 million Armenians in a campaign blamed on the Turkish Ottoman government. While the genocide has been chronicled by historians, who often view it as ethnic cleansing, Turkey has denied it took place, saying the deaths of Armenians were a function of the chaos of World War I, which also claimed the lives of Turks.
Until President Joe Biden in 2021 officially called the killings genocide, American presidents had also refused to do so, instead calling the deaths at the hands of the Ottoman Empire an atrocity, but not genocide.
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The Memorial Day motion introduced this week by LA County Supervisors – co-introduced by Supervisors Hilda Solis and Kathryn Barger – said, in part, “Despite overwhelming evidence, the Turkish government still denies the existence of “An Armenian Genocide. Many international and US leaders and elected officials from local, state, and federal governments have condemned the atrocities committed against Armenians and are calling on Turkey to recognize the genocide and its participation in it.”
The motion goes on to say, “On April 24, 2021, President Joe Biden officially recognized the Armenian Genocide. This was a huge victory for the Diaspora and the result of decades of tireless efforts to get the highest level of our government to call this genocide. by his name.”
Solis, whose district includes Lesser Armenia, said, “Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day is an especially poignant commemoration for the people of Los Angeles County. … With this motion, we mark our commitment to remember the lives lost in the Armenian Genocide, to honor the legacy of the survivors and to raise the voice of this vibrant and diverse community. »
Said Barger: “The month of April and the celebration of Armenian culture culminates with our Day of Remembrance, a day to mourn and remember the loss of over 1.5 million innocent lives. I take comfort that my Armenian constituents are a resilient people — determined, focused and dedicated to persevering.”
Last year, following Biden’s statement, Rep. Adam Schiff – whose district includes Glendale – said, “For Armenian Americans and all who believe in human rights and truth, today oday marks a historic milestone: President Biden has defied Turkish threats and acknowledged the massacre of 1.5 million Armenians for what it was – the first genocide of the 20th century. In doing so, he set aside decades of shameful silence and half-truths, and the broken promises of so many of his predecessors, and spoke truth to power.”
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There will also be other memorabilia around LA County on Sunday.
The City of Glendale will host its annual in-person Armenian Genocide Memorial Event for the first time in two years, at the Alex Theater at 7 p.m.
The city said the program will allow people to experience a contemporary perspective on the genocide through music and dance. The program will feature the work of Armenian priest Komitas through dance and music performances organized by the Lark Musical Society. Tickets are free and can be reserved at itsmyseat.com/april24.
Also at 7 p.m. Sunday, St. Mary’s Armenian Apostolic Church, at 500 S. Central Ave. in Glendale, will organize a concert dedicated to the martyrs of the Armenian Genocide and the 44-day war in Artsakh.
Copyright 2022, City News Service, Inc.
Copyright © 2022 by City News Service, Inc. All rights reserved.