GLENDALE – The Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region (ANCA-WR) welcomed the California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond’s support for the inclusion of the Armenian Genocide in the Instructional Quality Commission’s (IQC) ethnic studies model curriculum.
“We welcome comments made by Superintendent Thurmond at Wednesday’s press conference in regard to the inclusion of the Armenian experience in the ethnic studies model curriculum and thank him for being responsive to the specific concerns we have voiced,” remarked ANCA-WR Chair Nora Hovsepian, Esq. “The California history and social studies framework makes specific reference to the importance of teaching students specifically about the Jewish Holocaust and the Armenian Genocide. It is our hope and expectation that the new Ethnic Studies curriculum will build upon this framework, and we have offered all resources at our disposal to ensure that the topic is appropriately covered.”
During a press conference on Wednesday, addressing the concerns of the California Legislative Jewish Caucus, Superintendent Thurmond noted, “We’re being contacted by many other groups that feel that their story also needs to be told. I’ll just say, as it relates to the Armenian Genocide, for example, we’ve heard from the leaders in the Armenian community and many other communities.” He went on to continue, “While ethnic studies has a historical framework, the task for us will be to establish California’s version of what ethnic studies looks like… we have to make sure we create a place for all who have experienced oppression to share that.”
In March of this year, ANCA-WR representatives had met with Superintendent Thurmond to discuss the importance of genocide education in public schools and its significance in combating denialist efforts that continue today. At this meeting, Superintendent Thurmond expressed his deep understanding of the need for genocide education and his support for the Armenian community of California, promising to be a strong advocate for the needs of Armenian Americans in the sphere of education.
The ANCA Western Region Board of Directors as well as the ANCA-WR Education Committee have sent letters to the Instructional Quality Commission as well as the California Department of Education with a specific request to ensure that the Armenian experience is included in the final version of the ethnic studies model curriculum. Copies of the letter have also been shared with the Governor, the Lt. Governor, State Superintendent as well as members of the State Legislature.
Additionally, the ANCA-WR has partnered with the Armenian Assembly of America, American Hellenic Council, American Jewish Committee — Los Angeles, American Jewish Committee — San Francisco, Hindu American Foundation, Korean American Coalition – Los Angeles, and Faith And Community Empowerment (formerly KCCD) to share the concerns of the major ethnic and faith communities in California that have been left out in the initial draft version of the ethnic studies model curriculum.
The ANCA-WR is monitoring the developments and actively engaging with all stakeholders – including members of the press – to effectively protect and uphold the interests of the Armenian American community.
The Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region is the largest and most influential nonpartisan 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 in pursuit of the Armenian Cause.