We know the story. Turkey committed genocide, Armenians have been furious and grieving for almost a century, and every year, on April 24, they gather to protest.
The cold-blooded murder and crimes committed against over one million people should never be forgotten, no matter what century we are in.
The second most closely studied genocide after the Holocaust, the Armenian Genocide has been recognized and repeatedly acknowledged by the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS). The IAGS continues to assert that the atrocity took place and calls for Turkey to acknowledge the brutal actions against not only Armenians, but other Christian minorities that had fallen victim to the Ottoman Empire, including Pontian and Anatolian Greeks, as well as Assyrians.
Although the United States has yet to recognize the genocide, despite its repeated yet unfulfilled promises to do so, many Armenians take the day off from work or school on April 24 in order to honor their ancestors and give them proper commemoration, hoping that Turkey and the United States will finally acknowledge the atrocities committed against their people.
Glendale has the largest population of Armenians outside of Armenia itself, with about 30 percent making up the city’s population. With so many students absent from school due to the anniversary of the genocide, we can’t help but wonder why the district does not just give students the day off.
According to school board member and California State Assembly candidate Greg Krikorian, the district has contemplated the idea due to the large Armenian population, having already accommodated school calendars to work around Eastern Orthodox Christmas celebrations on January 6 and 7, during which many Armenians celebrate the holiday. He predicts that students should have the day off soon, as the district creates its master calendar every two years and only just completed the 2012-2013 years. The main “hurdle” that stands in the district’s way is that, under federal law, schools must be open for an “x number of days,” and once they organize the schedule to work around the Armenian Genocide anniversary, they will have to get the date approved by the teachers union.
Though we understand there are many students at the school not tied to the Armenian Genocide, a great majority of students are absent on that day, anyway.
In fact, by recognizing April 24 as Armenian Genocide Day, the district promotes cultural awareness among the diverse cultural groups in our schools. After all, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa dubbed April 15 “Mariah Carey Day” after the release of her album, E=MC², so why not dub April 24 as “Armenian Genocide Day?” It will no doubt bring more awareness to the issue and be another stepping stone in bringing the perpetrators of the genocide to justice.