Glendale, California- On March 15, 2016 at approximately 8:30pm the, the Glendale Unified School District Board of Education unanimously voted to observe April 24th as the “Armenian Genocide Commemoration Day” closing down all 30 schools within the district.
The resolution, the first of its kind in the diaspora, will be enacted within the entire GUSD system, which represents over 50,000 Armenian students, parents, teachers, administration, and staff. Prior to the board’s vote community organizations, leaders and members one after another took to the podium to speak in support, including ANCA Glendale Chair Zareh Adjemian, Community and Outreach Director Gev Iskajyan, and ANCA Western Region Executive Director Elen Asatryan.
In his remarks ANCA Glendale Chair Adjemian stated, “Glendale Unified School District’s board of education’s resolution passed today approved by Glendale’s Teacher Association, California Schools Employees Association’s Glendale Chapter and Glendale Schools Management Association is a historic decision. The resolution which is in response to ANCA Glendale’s initiative and the community’s demands proving that our city’s school officials not only honor their constituents, but they also respect the over 1.5 million innocent martyrs of the Armenian Genocide. I strongly believe that this resolution will have a positive impact for our community for generations to come. This is not a victory only for our community but for all of humanity and a step towards to world without genocide.” All the while, Asatryan noted that the district has come a long way in properly teaching about the subject matter and commended the efforts of the leadership as she urged for passage of the resolution. In her remarks, Asatryan went on to state “Commemorating the Armenian Genocide in such a manner not only pays tribute to the over 1.5 million lives lost during the Genocide, but also to the American people and all those who risked their lives to travel across seas and help save over 132,000 orphans, 1 million refugees and ultimately the Armenian nation from annihilation.”
“It is not only important that we remember this day, but we continue the process of education, until the whole world knows about the Armenian Genocide, until we live in a world without one”, stated GUSD Board Member Nayiri Nahabedian.. The resolution was the accumulation of petition drives, online social media campaigns, and the relentless work of the ANCA-Glendale chapter in making this vision a reality. For the past several years, calendar negotiations on a yearly basis allowed for schools to close on April 24 as a pupil-free day. The March 15 resolution, permanently marks April 24 as a non-instructional day of remembrance of the Armenian Genocide for all GUSD students. The measure passed as a unanimous decision, with all 5 Board Members voting in favor of the resolution with board member speaking at length and in favor of the resolution and all of it’s historic implications. “The passage of this resolution was over 6 years in the making and we are ever so grateful to everyone who worked, year after year, towards this historic day,” said Iskajyan. “Our heartfelt appreciation goes to GUSD President Walters, GUSD Members Greg Krikorian, Dr. Armina Gharapetian, Nayiri Nahabedian, and Jennifer Freemon, GTA, CSEA, GSMA and especially our grassroots as It is through their leadership and our collective commitment that we were able to pass this unprecedented measure” said ANCA Outreach Director Gev Iskajyan.
The ANCA-Glendale advocates for the social, economic, cultural, and political rights of the city’s Armenian American community and promotes increased civic participation at the grassroots and public policy levels.