The Ararat Cemetery of Fresno, California, established in 1885 and the final resting place of William Saroyan, was the scene of a shocking arson attack and the blaze extended to eight old growth trees. This is the sixth such attack since January 2024 which burned down 19 trees at the cemetery. ACA demands that the Fresno Police Department and local authorities immediately conduct an investigation into this attack which may uncover a race-related motive.

Anti-Armenian sentiment has been on the rise in the last few years since Azerbaijan and Turkey ethnically cleansed the indigenous Armenian population from their ancestral homeland in Artsakh. Online social media platforms have been used to disseminate the desecration of Armenian civilians, places of worship, and cemeteries. To date, Azerbaijan holds more than 150 Armenians hostage in contravention to prevailing international law.

In 2020, Azeri government channels disseminated video footage online of its soldiers vandalizing and desecrating numerous cemeteries and gravesites. The latest video footage of the destruction of sacred Armenian property was released earlier this year.

Armenian-Americans have also been the targets of anti-Armenian sentiment. An Armenian School and Community Center in San Francisco was vandalized with racist graffiti in 2020. One year later, an Armenian Church was vandalized in Los Angeles. In 2023, anti-Armenian flyers were posted across Glendale, California denying the Armenian Genocide.

These incidents do not occur in a vacuum. The City of Fresno must investigate and apprehend those responsible for the intentional arson of the Armenian cemetery.

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