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Los Angeles, CA – Today, April 16, 2009, the ANC-WR welcomed a proclamation from California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger declaring the week of April 19-26, 2009 as “Days of Remembrance of the Armenian Genocide.”
“The Armenian American community offers its deep gratitude for Gov. Schwarzenegger’s declaration and commitment to recognizing the past so that genocides will not occur in the future,” said Armenian National Committee – Western Region (ANC-WR) Executive Director Andrew Kzirian. “An important part of our educational efforts to end the cycle of genocide and raise awareness of the Armenian Genocide and the genocide taking place in Darfur is to ensure that the horrific crimes of the past are not repeated,” remarked Kzirian. “The Governor’s proclamation is quite timely as it comes days before the eagerly anticipated Armenian Genocide statement by President Obama. With President Obama’s home state of Hawaii officially recognizing the Armenian Genocide just days ago while the President visited Turkey, the community is confident that the President will be clear in his message on April 24,” he added.
The proclamation reads in part, “Four years ago I signed a bill that permanently recognized the Days of Remembrance of the Armenian Genocide. This week, we honor that commitment as we stand with our Armenian friends and neighbors here and across the world in remembering and acknowledging the genocide, the families it destroyed and the history it changed. We do not like to recall such sorrows, but we must, so that we can learn from history and renew our efforts to make sure nothing like this ever happens again.”
This is the twelfth proclamation issued by the Office of the Governor of California in the past thirteen years, and supplements the seventeen proclamations by the California Assembly and Senate dating back to 1991.
The full text of the proclamation is included below.
The Armenian National Committee – 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 ANC-WR promotes awareness of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.
Photo Caption: California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT STATE OF CALIFORNIA PROCLAMATION On the night of April 24, 1915, more than 200 leaders in the Armenian community, in the city known today as Istanbul, were arrested. Sent to prison, most were executed, beginning a horrible, systemic killing and forced relocation of the Armenian people that would last until 1923. During these years, the government of the Ottoman Empire claimed the lives of 1.5 million Armenians and forced 500,000 more from their homeland. Those who escaped death had to flee, and many of them settled right here in California. They and their descendants have become leaders in all walks of life and have made extraordinary contributions to our state. While their presence has been and continues to be a great blessing to California, it also reminds us of the incredible evils that brought them far from their ancestral homes. Four years ago I signed a bill that permanently recognized the Days of Remembrance of the Armenian Genocide. This week, we honor that commitment as we stand with our Armenian friends and neighbors here and across the world in remembering and acknowledging the genocide, the families it destroyed and the history it changed. We do not like to recall such sorrows, but we must, so that we can learn from history and renew our efforts to make sure nothing like this ever happens again. NOW, THEREFORE, I, ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, Governor of the State of California, do hereby proclaim April 19-26, 2009, as “Days of Remembrance of the Armenian Genocide.” IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State of California to be affixed this 13th day of April 2009. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER Governor of California
ATTEST: DEBRA BOWEN Secretary of State