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California Legislature Designates April 24, 2003 as “Day of Remembrance of the Armenian Genocide”

Staff Report

Sacramento—The California Assembly yesterday passed Senate Joint Resolution (SJR)1 (Poochigian, R-Fresno), which was the final legislative hurdle for the State Legislature to officially designate April 24, 2003, as the “Day of Remembrance of the Armenian Genocide” and request the United States Congress to also commemorate the Armenian Genocide. The bill passed both the Assembly and Senate this week with overwhelming support.

“I am pleased with California’s long-standing record of recognizing the Armenian Genocide,” said Senator Poochigian. “Commemorations such as this are important to the families of those who perished or were tortured and driven from their historic homeland by the regime in control of the Turkish Ottoman Empire.” April 24 is the date on which Armenians around the world hold solemn observances of the Genocide in recognition of the day in 1915 when a group of Armenian religious, political, and intellectual leaders were arrested and killed. The Armenian Genocide became the world’s standard of atrocity until World War II. That is when Adolph Hitler gave reassurance to his followers about his Holocaust plans when he said, “Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?” For decades, California has recognized the Armenian Genocide of 1915-23 when nearly 1.5 million men, women, and children were systematically tortured and murdered or taken on death marches in the Syrian desert.

“While the Genocide took place long ago and far away, the lives of so many living Californians have been touched by it, and the issue of its commemoration is more important than ever,” implored Poochigian. “There are growing attempts to revise the history of this period. It’s so important to reject the devious schemes of Genocide deniers. The continued recognition of this crime against humanity is crucial to ensuring against the recurrence of genocide and educating people about such despicable acts.” California is home to the largest population of Armenians in the United States.