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Pasadena Mayor Officially Recognizes Armenian Genocide

Mayor Gordo Proclaims April 24 as a Day of Remembrance

Published on Tuesday, April 16, 2024 | 4:18 pm

Pasadena Mayor Victor M. Gordo issued a proclamation on Monday recognizing the Armenian Genocide, a historic act of acknowledgment for a city with deep ties to the Armenian American community and its history of perseverance in the face of tragedy.

“As a community, it is appropriate for us to stand together and join our Armenian brothers and sisters in an effort to memorialize their fallen ancestors and to ensure that this horrible act is not repeated,” Mayor Gordo said during the City Council meeting on April 15. “And whereas, as we remember the past, let us also dedicate ourselves to building a greater future, as a testament to mankind’s indomitable spirit.”

He proclaimed April 24, 2024, as a “Day of Remembrance of the Armenian Genocide” in Pasadena, stating, “Now, Therefore I, Victor M. Gordo, Mayor of the City of Pasadena, on behalf of the City Council, do hereby proclaim April 24, 2024 in Pasadena as a Day of Remembrance of the Armenian Genocide.”

The Genocide, also known as the Great Crime, began on April 24, 1915, under the Ottoman Empire and resulted in the systematic extermination of 1.5 million Armenians through various means.

The Turkish government has long denied that the Genocide occurred, and for decades, both Democratic and Republican administrations in the United States declined to officially recognize it, including President Barack Obama, who, despite promising to do so as a presidential candidate in 2008, passed up the chance to recognize the Genocide during his tenure, even on its centennial in 2015.

Pasadena’s Armenian community, which began forming in the early 20th century, has been shaped by the legacy of the Genocide. Pashgian Brothers Rug company was established here in 1889. By 1923, an estimated 2,500 to 3,000 Armenians were living in the city, some of whom were survivors of the atrocities.

The community has since grown and made significant contributions to Pasadena’s cultural and social fabric, with notable figures including a former Mayor, William Paparian, and a former Chief of Police, Bernard Melekian.

The community maintains its cultural and religious practices through institutions such as the Armenian Cilicia Evangelical Church, St. Sarkis Armenian Apostolic Church and St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Apostolic Church.

The Armenian Genocide Memorial in Pasadena’s Memorial Park, unveiled in 2015 on the centennial of the genocide, serves as a focal point for remembrance and education. Designed by Catherine Menard, the memorial features a stone basin with water dripping every 21 seconds, each drop symbolizing 10,000 lives lost in the genocide.

The Armenian community in Pasadena and the greater Los Angeles area has been actively engaged in preserving its history and culture, advocating for recognition of the Genocide, and contributing to the city’s diversity through various means.

Mayor Gordo’s proclamation follows a broader trend of recognition across the United States, including President Biden’s acknowledgment of the Armenian genocide in 2021.

In Pasadena, the Day of Remembrance serves as a testament to the enduring spirit of the Armenian people and their determination to ensure that this tragic history is never forgotten.

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