ATLANTA, Georgia—The Armenian National Committee of Georgia commemorated the 104th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide at the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta, Georgia, on April 24. The Georgia State Capitol was crowded with members of the state’s Armenian-American community who were joined by both state and city officials.
Through the leadership and efforts of the local ANC, Georgia is one of the leading US states that properly commemorates the Armenian Genocide through annual remembrance events as well as proclamations issued by the State legislature, Atlanta City Council, members of Congress and other elected officials.
ANC Georgia’s Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day Chair Dr. Vardoui Agasarkisian-Jinian coordinated the event, speaking on behalf of the community and Armenians worldwide. She welcomed Atlanta’s Chief of Police Honorable Eldrin Bell who began with an invocation commemorating the suffering of the Armenian people and prayed for the safety of Armenia and Armenians worldwide and for similar atrocities to never happen again.
Following the invocation, Dr. Sarkis Agasarkisian, the chair of ANC Georgia, commended the state’s public officials for being outspoken on the Armenian Genocide and not bending to Turkey’s gag rule on the U.S. In his remarks, he recounted the history of the atrocities against the Armenian and other Christian minorities by the Ottoman Turkish government. He also detailed his own family’s story during the Armenian Genocide and Turkey’s continuous denial of this crime against humanity.
Dr. Agasarkisian’s overview of the Armenians and their Christian faith, the Near East Relief’s efforts in the U.S. during the Armenian Genocide, the ongoing Azeri aggressions against Artsakh, and the importance of the U.S. government to address the Armenian Genocide as genocide were welcomed by all in attendance.
“As a nation, we must support passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution because the denial will empower the enemy and lead to a much greater evil,” said Dr. Agasarkisian. “The US government has no reason to fear loss of Turkey as a strategic ally, because they have proven themselves to not to be an ally but rather an enemy.”
Following his remarks, granddaughter of Armenian Genocide survivors, Dr. Juliette Stepanian-Apkarian, associate professor of Russian and East European Studies at Emory University in Atlanta, spoke about the fact that several human and civil right advocates are members of the Georgia community and that the work of these advocates to obtain universal recognition will highly contribute toward promotion and protection of human rights worldwide.
Judge Thelma Wyatt Cummings Moore, an honorable member of ANC Georgia, stressed the importance to never forget the Armenian Genocide. “Let us renew our commitment never to forget the horror and barbarism of this event… We must remember, we must speak out and we must teach the next generation about the systematic persecution and murder of millions of Armenians by the Ottoman Government. As Americans we are blessed with freedom and security, but that blessing brings with it an important responsibility,” she said
Judge Moore stressed that by commemorating the Armenian Genocide, “we renew our commitment always to fight for human dignity and freedom. We send a message to the world never to allow genocide to be perpetrated again. Even as we remember the tragedy and honor the dead, we also honor the living.”
“Out of ashes of their history, Armenians all across the world have clung to their identity and have prospered in new communities and I am so very happy to be an honorary member of the Armenian National Committee. Our state of Georgia is fortunate to be home to a vibrant Armenian American community. My dear friends, Georgia is richer because of your presence and activism,” she concluded.
Following the remarks, the presentations of several resolutions and letters were presented, including:
- Georgia State House Resolution 145, which was read by Representatives Debra Bazemore and Roger Bruce, honoring the victims of the Armenian Genocide from 1915 – 1923.
- Nathan Watson-Mushegian, an ANC Georgia member, read the Honorable Senator Donzella James’ Nagorno Karabakh Republic Resolution, which recognizes the independence of Artsakh.
- William Sanders, the Chief Investigator of the Solicitor General’s office, read Congressman John Lewis’ letter of sympathy honoring the 1.5 million Armenians massacred during the Armenian Genocide.
- Honorable City Councilmember Michael Julian Bond presented the Atlanta City Council’s proclamation in observance of Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day. Councilman Bond commended the Armenian community of Georgia for its dedication in remembering the victims of the Armenian Genocide on behalf of the entire Atlanta City Council.
- Former Atlanta City Mayor Bill Campbell also read a letter on behalf of current Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms in recognition and sympathy with regard to the Armenian Genocide. Mayor Campbell stated that the City of Atlanta is proud to join ANC Georgia in commemorating 104th anniversary and saluted the ANC’s continued efforts to promote acceptance while fostering a deeper understanding of the Armenian Genocide.
Noy Watson-Mushegian offered the benediction for the victims of the Armenian Genocide and for the entire Armenian nation. In conclusion, Dr. Vardoui Agasarkisian-Jinian, thanked all the guests for joining ANC Georgia at the State Capitol for this memorable event.
“The ANC Georgia’s annual Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day was begun by Aroutioun Agasarkisian and his family, who are in Armenia at the invitation of Artsakh’s government. The family was present at the consecration of St. Mary’s Church in Stepanakert and the consecration of the huge cross stone carved from the Armenian Bazalt stone in the memory of the soldiers who died during the Karabakh war,” said Dr. Vardoui Agasarkisian-Jinian.