SACRAMENTO, CA – This afternoon, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger invited leaders of the Armenian-American community in California along with State Senators Jackie Speier and Charles Poochigian and Assemblyman Greg Aghazarian to his chambers to commemorate the Armenian Genocide. Armenian National Committee (ANC) Western Region Chairman Steven Dadaian and Sacramento Chapter Chairman Hovanes Boghossian were among those at the special occasion. Prior to visiting the Governor, the ANC organized the Armenian Genocide 90th Anniversary Commemorative Committee of California’s day of remembrance in the Golden State’s capital.
The day began with the last leg of the March for Humanity from the Sacramento Armenian Apostolic Church to the State’s Capitol building. Over 500 members of the California Armenian American community joined Senator Jackie Speier and State Assembly Majority Leader Dario Frommer and walked with the marchers in concluding their 215-mile, 19-day journey that began in Fresno on April 2nd. The procession was met at the Capitol steps by legislators, including Sen. Poochigian, and leaders of the California’s Armenian American community and welcomed into the Senate as it took up SJR 2 – the resolution that marks April 24, 2005 the California day of remembrance led by Sen. Speier.
With an overflow crowd of March for Humanity supporters attending the day’s Senate session, His Eminenece Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian gave the invocation in commemoration of the Armenian Genocide.
“This week we commemorate the 90th anniversary of this most atrocious massacre perpetrated by the Turkish Government,” said Archbishop Mardirossian during his opening prayer. “Bless our Governor, our State Senators, State Assemblymen, and all those elected officials who are staunch supporters for truth and justice,” stated the Archbishop.
Sen. Speier, who is Armenian American, gave a heartfelt account of the Armenian Genocide for the Senate’s record. Many Senators gave statements in support of Sen. Speier’s resolution, and passed the resolution unanimously.
Following the Senate’s conclusion of its commemoration of the Armenian Genocide, the Armenian-American group made up of approximately 30 community leaders, including the clergy, the Armenian Consul General of Los Angeles, and the March for Humanity, left the floor of the Senate to be introduced on the floor of the State Assembly for the consideration of SB 424 –the bill that permanently designates the week of April 24 California’s week of remembrance of the Armenian Genocide authored by Sen. Poochigian. After supportive speeches by Assemblymembers Greg Aghazarian, Dario Frommer, Juan Arambula, Carol Liu, Jerome Horton, and Jackie Goldberg, the Assembly voted unanimously 70-0 to pass the Poochigian Bill.
Following the sessions, leaders of California’s legislature joined the Rally for Humanity on the South Steps of the Capitol. Master of Ceremonies and ANC-Western Region Chairman Steven Dadaian welcomed the crowd of almost 2,000, who turned out from communities in the San Francisco Bay Area, San Joaquin Valley, and Southern California to thank California on its principled leadership on the issue of the Armenian Genocide recognition. Dadaian then introduced legislators Poochigian, Speier, Scott, Alquist, Simitian, Yee, Frommer, Aghazarian, Liu, Villines, as well as Controller Steve Westly, who all addressed the gathering, demanding that the US Congress and the Administration acknowledge the Armenian Genocide properly and require that Turkey atone for this monumental crime against humanity.
“We call on Turkey to stop its shameful campaign of denial of the Armenian Genocide, and we are proud that we are joined unanimously by the entire government of the State of California,” expressed Dadaian.
After the signing ceremony with the Governor, Hovanes Boghossian stated “In all my years in Sacramento I have never seen so many Armenians so motivated as they were today.”
The 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.