City and County of San Francisco

April 24, 2021

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City and County of San Francisco

WHEREAS, The Armenian people, living in their historic homeland of 4,000 years, were subjected to severe persecution by the Turkish government of the Ottoman Empire before and after the turn of the twentieth century, including widespread massacres, usurpation of land and property, and destruction of cultural institutions and monuments during the period from 1894 to 1896 and again in 1909; and

WHEREAS, The unspeakable horrors experienced by the Armenian people at the hands of the Ottoman Turkish government culminated in 1915 in what is known by historians as the first modern-era genocide of the twentieth century, and

WHEREAS, The Ottoman Turkish authorities planned and implemented the atrocities committed against the Armenian people from 1915 through 1923, resulting in the deaths of 1.5 million Armenian women, men and children, and the destruction or appropriation of all their personal and community properties; and

WHEREAS, In response to the genocide, the Near East Relief Organization was established, one of the earliest U. S. government-sanctioned international aid projects, to support the genocide survivors, including Armenians, Assyrians, und Greeks, raising approximately two billion dollars in today's currency and saving approximately one million refugees, including 132,000 orphans of the genocide; and

WHEREAS, The Republic of Turkey denies the occurrence of these well-documented and widely recognized crimes against humanity and refuses to provide reparations, while actively continuing to remove traces of Armenians' existence in their historic homeland, including the destruction of landmarks of Armenian cultural heritage, and

WHEREAS, Beginning on September 27, 2020, the devastating 44-day attack on the ethnically-Armenian region of Artsakh (also known as Nagorno-Karabagh) by Azerbaijan with the military and political support of Turkey, was largely the result of the unfettered denial of the Armenian Genocide by both Turkey and Azerbaijan; and

WHEREAS, San Francisco experienced a series of dangerous and damaging hate crimes against its Armenian institutions between July and September 2020, including an arson fire that engulfed the Armenian Cultural Center, gutting two out of its four floors, and the vandalization of the Armenian School Krouzian-Zekarian-Vasbouragan and its adjacent Armenian Community Center with racist and hateful anti-Armenian graffiti; and

WHEREAS, Acts of hate have no place in San Francisco and must be condemned and punished to the fullest extent of the law, while the Armenian American community deserve all support necessary in order to heal and recover from hate crimes; and

WHEREAS, By honoring the survivors of the Armenian Genocide, teaching the facts of Armenian Genocide in our schools and consistently condemning the repeated atrocities committed against the Armenian people, as well as the persecution of the Assyrian and Greek populations of the Ottoman Empire, we guard against the repetition of genocide in the future; and

WHEREAS, California has become home to the largest and most active population of Armenians in the United States, who have enriched our state through leadership in the fields of academia, medicine, business, agriculture, government, and the arts and are proud and patriotic practitioners of American citizenship; and

WHEREAS, As most San Francisco Armenian-Americans are descendants of the few remaining survivors of the Genocide, San Francisco is proud to join the Armenian American community in its commemoration of the anniversary of the Armenian Genocide in an effort to educate others about the tragic loss of life, land, and human rights of the Armenian people and the crime of genocide committed against them; and

WHEREAS, The California Department of Education includes the Armenian Genocide in its History-Social Science Contents Standards and framework, including resources for teachers to facilitate thoughtful classroom discussions; and

WHEREAS, The United States House of Representatives adopted House Resolution No. 296 (Schiff) on October 29, 2019, which states it is U.S. policy to commemorate the Armenian Genocide, reject efforts to associate the U. S. government with efforts to deny the existence of the Armenian Genocide, and encourage education and public understanding about the Armenian Genocide; and

WHEREAS, The United States Senate passed Senate Resolution No. 150 (Menendez) on December 12, 2019, which formally recognizes and affirms the historical facts of the Armenian Genocide on behalf of the U.S. government and calls for broader education on this heinous crime and its impact on generations of Armenians; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the Board of Supervisors of the City and County of San Francisco hereby designates April 24, 2021 as "Armenian Genocide Commemoration Day" in the City and County of San Francisco; and, be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, That the Board of Supervisors urges the San Francisco Board of Education to reaffirm its commitment to teaching the historical facts of the Armenian Genocide in San Francisco Unified School District schools, as outlined in the California Department of Education's History-Social Science Content Standards; and, be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, That the Board of Supervisors urges President Joseph Biden to abide by his campaign pledge to formally recognize the Armenian Genocide.