• Armenian Assembly of America

Georgia State Senate Recognizes Armenian Genocide


April  Designated ‘Genocide Prevention and Awareness Month’ in Georgia

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  Today, the Georgia  State Senate adopted SR  991, a resolution “Recognizing the month of April, 2016, as Genocide  Prevention and Awareness Month” in Georgia, reported the Armenian  Assembly of America (Assembly).

The resolution states that “when coining the term  ‘genocide,’ Raphael Lemkin was moved to investigate the forced assimilation,  deportation, and near eradication of the Armenian population and other  Christian communities, beginning in April, 1915, prompting Adolf Hitler to  remark in 1939, ‘Who after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the  Armenians?’”

“It was an honor to meet and join with members of the  Georgia State Senate today in recognizing April as Genocide Awareness  month,” stated Dr. Vahan Kassabian, Armenian Assembly Georgia State  Chair, who was present at the capitol to witness the bill’s passage.  "The resolution had bipartisan support and we will continue our efforts  to broaden genocide recognition and human rights education in our school curriculum,“  Kassabian said.

The resolution goes on to reference the Holocaust of European  Jews during World War II, as well as the genocides in Cambodia, Bosnia, Iraq,  Rwanda, Sudan, and the current brutality of the Islamic State (aka  ISIS/ISIL/Daesh) in Syria and Iraq as outstanding examples.  

The bill recognizes the "contributions of the Georgia  Coalition to Prevent Genocide” of which the Assembly is a member, as  well as Am Yisrael Chai, Eternal-Life Hemshech of Holocaust Survivors, the  Georgia Commission on the Holocaust, the Jewish Community Relations Council  (JCRC) of Atlanta, the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, the  American Jewish Committee (AJC) Atlanta Regional Office, and AJC’s ACCESS  Atlanta.

Last year, Dr. Kassabian spearheaded the Armenian Genocide  centennial commemoration of Atlanta, which was held in conjunction with the  Georgia Coalition to Prevent Genocide, at the Breman Museum. Kassabian was  invited to speak to the JCRC-Atlanta town-hall  meeting in August when a resolution was put forth recognizing the 1915  Armenian Genocide. Two months later, the JCRC’s national body, the Jewish  Council for Public Affairs (JCPA), adopted the resolution, with support from  chapters in Boston, Palm Beach, and Providence, acknowledging the 100th  anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, and called on Congress and the White  House to recognize the Armenian Genocide. “This is the first time that a  policy position on the Armenian Genocide has been adopted by the JCPA,”  the Assembly reported in November.

SR 991 was sponsored by State Senators Elena Parent (D-GA-42),  David Shafer (R-GA-48), Renee Unterman (R-GA-45), Joshua McKoon (R-GA-29),  Nan Orrock (D-GA-36), and Harold Jones II (D-GA-22).

“The Assembly appreciates the work of the Georgia State  Senate, particularly Senators Parent, Shafer, Unterman, McKoon, Orrock, and  Jones, as well as our state chair Dr. Vahan Kassabian,” stated Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny. “These anti-genocide activists in  Georgia and across the U.S. are playing a major role in advancing human  rights education and we look forward to the day when all 50 states incorporate  the teaching of the Holocaust and Armenian Genocide in our schools,”  Ardouny said.

Photo Caption (L-R): Martin Ngamije, Rwandan community of Atlanta, Harvey Rickles, President of The Jewish Community Relations of Atlanta, Melanie Nelkin, Chair of The Georgia Coalition to Prevent Genocide and Dr Vahan Kassabian, Georgia Chair of The Armenian Assembly of America.

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