For Immediate Release
Contact: Ardashes Kassakhian
tel: (818) 500-1918
ANCA-WR REAFFIRMS ITS POSITION ON GENOCIDE EDUCATION AT STATE SENATE HEARING
SACRAMENTO, CA – The Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region reaffirmed its strong support for Genocide and Holocaust Education Bill of 2003 (AB2003) which was originally introduced by Assemblymembers Paul Koretz (D-West Hollywood) and Mark Wyland (R-North San Diego) earlier this year in the State Assembly. Existing law requires that the California State Department of Education incorporate into its educational material the frameworks to teach about civil rights and human rights violations including the Armenian Genocide.
AB 2003 would emphasize the testimony of witnesses and survivors into the suggested curriculum and would in addition establish the Holocaust/Genocide Commission, which would in turn establish the Center of Excellence on the Study of the Hollocaust and genocide. The Center of Excellence would provide teachers with the knowledge and training to effectively teach California’s students about these historical atrocities.
John Boghossian of the Sacramento ANC and a member of the Western Region Board submitted testimony at the hearing on June 19, 2002 and emphasized the importance of implementing the bill’s goals as a means of combating denial of the Holocaust and Armenian Genocide.
Mr. Boghossian confronted Turkish deniers in April when representatives of the Turkish Cultural Association of Yolo County held a press conference in Sacramento to try and discredit AB 2003. In his written testimony, Mr. Boghossian asked committee members “to take into account that the adoption of AB2003 is crucial for Californians to have tools necessary to fight genocide and Holocaust denial,” and added that “by assembling information, research and documenting these facts we ensure the preservation of the memory of the victims of these genocides. By doing this, we also take a stand against genocides that still take place today.”
The Bill was sent to the Committee’s suspend file where it will remain until the State budget is resolved.
The Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region has worked over the last two decades to incorporate the Armenian Genocide into California’s school curriculum through a number of methods, including the recent publication of the Armenian Genocide Handbook for Teachers and Students. “The Armenian National Committee hopes that AB 2003 is adopted into law and is encouraged to see that the issue is still alive and making its way through the state legislature,” commented Ardashes Kassakhian, Director of Government Relations for the ANCA-WR. “The Armenian-American community has entrusted us with the responsibility of fighting denial of the Armenian Genocide and we will do everything within our abilities to ensure that denial does not occur.”
Other groups that have expressed their support for AB 2003 include the B’nai B’rith of Southern California, Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation, the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles, the California Federation of Teachers, and the Simon Wiesenthal Center- Museum of Tolerance and the Armenian Assembly of America.
The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots political organization. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the United States and affiliated organizations around the world, the ANCA actively advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.