SACRAMENTO – The Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region and several local chapters, including representatives from Pasadena, San Francisco, and Sacramento, attended the California State Assembly and State Senate sessions commemorating the 108th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide on April 24, 2023. Assemblymember Laura Friedman and Senator Anthony Portantino both introduced resolutions in the California State Legislature relating to the affirmation of California’s recognition of the Armenian Genocide and calling upon the Federal Government to prevent a second genocide from occurring in Artsakh, currently besieged by Azerbaijan. Local Homenetmen Scouts administered the flag ceremony in the Assembly and Senate, and prayers in the opening sessions were offered by Armenian clergy.
The California State Senate commemorated the 108th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide and brought light to the current humanitarian crisis in Artsakh following a months-long blockade by Azerbaijan. Senator Anthony Portantino introduced SR-28. In addition to memorializing the Armenian Genocide, SR-28 calls upon the President of the United States to ensure the rights of the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) to extraterritorial self-determination (independence) in accordance with the principle of remedial succession and the global commitment to the Responsibility to Protect (R2P). During his floor remarks, Senator Portantino was joined by Senators Archuleta, Durazo, Menjivar, Weiner, and Bradford for commemorative statements. The resolution passed unanimously on the Senate floor without opposition, 39-0.
Similarly, the California Assembly unanimously passed HR-26, introduced by Assemblymember Laura Friedman of Glendale, reaffirming California’s recognition of the murder of 1.5 million Armenians from 1915 to 1923 as genocide, perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire and Kemalist Turkey. Assemblymember Friedman was joined by several of her colleagues during the special floor remarks, including Assemblymembers Rivas, Papan, Ramos, Patterson, Gabriel, Gipson, Cervantes, and Carrillo. Following the statements by members of the Assembly, HR-26 was passed on the Assembly floor by an overwhelming vote of 74-0.
California leads the nation in Armenian-American issues, as it is home to the largest Armenian diaspora population in the world. “I applaud California’s reaffirmation of its recognition of the Armenian Genocide. This is not only a matter of historical truth, but also a matter of human rights and justice,” said Chair of the ANCA-Western Region, Nora Hovsepian, Esq. “The Armenian Genocide and the current blockade of Artsakh highlight that the genocidal ambitions of Turkey and Azerbaijan still exist and are a present threat and danger to the Armenian nation. California sends a clear message that we will not tolerate genocide denial, revisionism, or impunity. We will stand with the survivors and their descendants, and we will honor their memory and legacy,” she concluded. For decades, many Armenian-Americans in California have been actively involved in raising awareness and advocating for justice for the Armenian Genocide of 1915. California’s Armenian-American community is a vibrant and resilient force that strives to preserve its culture, history, and identity in the face of adversity.
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.