L.A. Unified Recognizes April As Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide of 1915

LOS ANGELES (April 12, 2016) – At its regular meeting on April 12, 2016, the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education unanimously approved a resolution brought by Board Member Mónica Ratliff – and co-sponsored by Board President Steve Zimmer and Board Members Dr. Ref Rodríguez and Scott M. Schmerelson – recognizing April 2016 as the commemoration of the Armenian Genocide of 1915.

From 1915-23, it is estimated that over 2 million Christian Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians were systematically deported and murdered by the Ottoman government. Today, the Republic of Turkey, among other nation states, continues to deny the occurrence of these crimes against humanity. Nevertheless, the State of California and L.A. Unified are at the forefront of encouraging and promoting a curriculum relating to human rights and genocide to empower future generations to prevent the recurrence of genocide.

“L.A. Unified is charged with educating youth about all facets of human history, including wars and genocide, to ensure that such atrocities may never happen again,” said Board Member Ratliff. “The Armenian Genocide and its impact should be recognized. I look forward to working with the Armenian National Committee of America to ensure that this chapter of human history doesn’t go untold.”

“April 24th is one day, but the importance of Armenian Genocide recognition needs to be present in our schools and classrooms every day. Genocide education needs to be an essential part of the curriculum,” said Board President Zimmer. “We will not rest until the President and Congress recognize the Armenian Genocide. As long as one genocide remains unrecognized, no genocide is fully understood.”

Dr. Kay Mouradian, author of My Mother’s Voice, a book about her family’s experience during the Armenian Genocide, which was turned into a film, addressed the Board in favor of the resolution. Tereza Yerimyan, government affairs director for the Armenian National Committee of America and an LAUSD alumna, also expressed her gratitude to L.A. Unified for its dedication to not only recognizing the Armenian Genocide but also teaching it in the classroom.

“Over 100 years ago, the world bore witness to the systematic and deliberate annihilation of one and a half million Armenians,” said Board Member Rodriguez. “I am proud that as a Board and as a District, we have acknowledged this crime against humanity so that we may build a better future and prevent such atrocities from ever happening again.”

Board Member Schmerelson added, “Commemorating the Armenian Genocide allows us an opportunity to reflect on this tragedy suffered by our Armenian brothers and sisters and to commit to a world where such unimaginable suffering cannot exist.”

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Picutred: Board Member Moníca Ratliff is flanked by guests, from left, Tereza Yerimyan, Lusine Aslanyan, Lori Sinanian, Nayiri Partamian, Sarine Boyadjian and Kay Mouradian for the resolution commemorating the Armenian Genocide of 1915