SACRAMENTO, CA – The California Legislature continued its demand to the Federal Government for official recognition of the horrific crimes perpetrated against humanity during the Armenian Genocide on the eve of its centennial anniversary. As part of a worldwide effort to call the world’s attention to the gruesome events that began a century ago, Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Glendale) and the lower house of the California Legislature today passed AJR 2, a measure designating 2015 as the State of California Year of Commemoration of the Centennial Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide and April 24, 2015 as the State of California Day of Commemoration of the Centennial Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.

Assemblyman Gatto was joined by a number of prominent Armenian-American leaders from around the state, including His Eminence, Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church, who delivered prayers and remarks to lawmakers and guests assembled for the somber occasion. The commemoration was a continuation of efforts by Gatto to bring greater awareness to the public about the horrors committed against nearly 1.5 million people during the Armenian Genocide, starting in 1915, an event considered by historians to be the first modern-day genocide.

Gatto underscored the significance of the event by saying, “We all stand here together one-hundred years after the Armenian Genocide began, unified in our demand that the world do what we do every year without question: To officially recognize this horrible crime and to remember every victim that suffered the unthinkable.”

AJR 2 was a bipartisan resolution, joint authored by Assemblymen Mike Gatto, Katcho Achadjian (R- San Luis Obispo) and Adrin Nazarian (D-Sherman Oaks), which in addition to designating April 24, 2015 as a day of remembrance, urges the President of the United States and the United States Congress to formally and consistently reaffirm the historical truth that the atrocities committed against the Armenian people constituted genocide. The resolution is another in a long line of measures passed by Gatto supporting Armenian-American causes, including last year’s AJR 32, which called on Congress to support the aspirations of the people of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic to achieve independence, making California the largest state to make such a call.

“Today the Legislature of the largest state in the union commemorates the Genocide,” said Gatto, “and we express our society’s contempt and sense of loss at the tragedy. We urge Congress and the President in the strongest possible terms to follow our lead.”

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