April 19, 2011
For Immediate Release
Contact: Haig Hovsepian
tel: (818) 500-1918

SERJ TANKIAN JOINS PROTEST, URGES PRESIDENT TO HONOR ARMENIAN GENOCIDE PLEDGE

LOS ANGELES, CA—Grammy Award winning artist and System of a Down frontman Serj Tankian will be joining the Armenian American community as it protests President Obama’s continued failure to fulfill his campaign promise to appropriately recognize the Armenian Genocide. On the cusp of his Los Angeles 2012 Presidential campaign kickoff event in Los Angeles on April 21st, the community will urge President Obama to honor his 2008 campaign pledge. They are also calling on the President to visit the Armenian Genocide Martyrs Memorial, located just miles away in Montebello.

Tankian, who has a long history of advocacy in support of U.S. reaffirmation of the Armenian Genocide, is no stranger to taking on Washington, D.C. leadership. In 2006, Tankian traveled to Capitol Hill to confront then Speaker of the House, Republican Dennis Hastert regarding his failed pledge allow a vote on the Congressional Armenian Genocide resolution. Tankian posted a message to over a half million of his followers on Facebook highlighting the protest this Thursday.

President Obama’s trip to Southern California comes on the eve of April 24th, the international day of commemoration of the Armenian Genocide.

The community-wide task force organizing the protest represents Armenian community organizations from throughout California. Los Angeles Armenian Americans and anti-genocide activists can join the 3:00pm protest at Sony Picture Studios in Culver City. Buses are being provided to transport individuals starting at 1:30pm from Saint Mary Armenian Church in Glendale and Ferrahian Armenian School in Encino as well as Rose & Alex Pilibos Armenian School in Hollywood.

The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) has been following Obama from U.S. Senator to Presidential Candidate and current sitting President on the issue.

In a series of letters and statements issued as Senator and candidate, President Obama pledged to clearly and unequivocally end U.S. complicity in Turkey’s genocide denial and properly recognize this crime against humanity. In a January 18, 2008, statement, in the days leading up to the Super Tuesday Primary in California, he stated “As President, I will recognize the Armenian Genocide.”

The complete set of Senator Obama’s statements on the Armenian Genocide are can be found at:

“As President Obama embarks on his re-election campaign, the Armenian American community and anti-genocide activists of conscience are still waiting for him to demonstrate Presidential leadership to fulfill his 2008 promise by reaffirming the Armenian Genocide during his annual proclamation,” stated ANCA Western Region Chairman Andrew Kzirian.

“Coming to California, home to nearly a million descendants of the survivors of this Genocide, he can take a strong step in that direction by visiting the Armenian Genocide Martyr’s Memorial in Montebello,” he added.

The Genocide memorial, constructed in 1965, has been the site of annual commemorative programs, attracting tens of thousands to mark this crime against humanity.

California, which has a long tradition of political leadership and moral clarity in addressing the Armenian Genocide was also home to the last U.S. President to unequivocally reaffirm the Armenian Genocide.

In 1969, California Governor Ronald Reagan gave a rousing 15-minute speech at the memorial, stating “Today, I humbly bow in memory of the Armenian martyrs, who died in the name of freedom at the hands of Turkish perpetrators of Genocide.”

On April 22, 1981, President Reagan recognized the Genocide in Proclamation 4838, which proclaimed April 26-May 3 as “Days of Remembrance of Victims of Holocaust.” The proclamation stated, “Like the genocide of the Armenians before it, and the genocide of the Cambodians which followed it and like too many other such persecutions of too many other peoples—the lessons of the Holocaust must never be forgotten.”

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.

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