On Dec. 2, the Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region initiative, “America We Thank You: An Armenian Tribute to Near East Relief,” will be hosting a “Golden Rule Sunday” lunch and assembly program in several Armenian middle schools and high schools, in an effort to educate students on the role of the United States in their Near East Relief effort, during and after the tragic days of the Armenian Genocide.
Near East Relief drew national and international interest for donations during and following the Genocide, by gathering support from churches, schools, and various national organizations. The organization created the International Near East Association, which then dedicated Sunday, December 2, 1923, as an International Sunday of the Golden Rule. The “Golden Rule Sunday” as it became known, encouraged people to eat something simple—namely staple menus typically served in orphanages—and offer the money they saved as a donation to the orphans of the Armenian Genocide. The Sunday of the Golden Rule was celebrated in many parts of Europe, Australia, and America. President Calvin Coolidge urged the American people to express a spirit of sacrifice and generosity on December 2, 1923 as part of the larger philanthropic effort. Golden Rule Sunday continued through the decade with 1930 devoting a full week to it, Dec 7-14, 1930.
The “Golden Rule Sunday” program will consist of a comprehensive presentation about Near East Relief by members of the ANCA-WR’s America We Thank You Committee to grades 6-12. The presentation will convey the impact the NER movement had on Armenians, and make it into a teachable moment for students to learn about how the Armenian Genocide, which is still being denied by the Turkish government, was such a critical part of the American history. The assembly will be followed with a simple orphan style lunch for students, in the spirit of Near East Relief’s Golden Rule Sunday, taking place on the same date as it did in 1923.
To end the presentation, each student will be asked to take action and prepare a thank you note to the White House, including facts about Near East Relief and America’s active role during the Genocide – a role which undeniably saved the Armenian People from total annihilation by rescuing 132,000 Armenian orphans and hundreds of thousands of refugees from the throes of Genocide.
Among other facts, students will learn that Near East Relief was an effort mandated by the US President and legislated by Congress to assist the victims of the Armenian Genocide. NER helped raise millions of dollars for relief as well as to send missionaries into ravaged regions. The effort managed to save millions of lives in the process, and developed orphanages, refugee centers, hospitals, clinic and vocational schools for hundreds of thousands of Armenian survivors.
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 and supporters around the country, the ANCA-WR advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.