I am proud to stand today in solidarity with the Armenian-American community of Los Angeles and beyond, in commemorating the 99th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. Los Angeles is home to the largest Armenian community in the United States and my District, Council District 13, includes the only officially designated Little Armenia in the country.
Starting on April 24, 1915, the world stood idle while the Young Turk government of the Ottoman Empire uprooted its native Armenian population from their ancestral homeland of three millennia. This was the beginning of an eight-year systematic annihilation of 1.5 million innocent men, women, and children, not to mention the inconceivable cultural destruction and dispossession of the world's first Christian nation.
Until all governments, including the United States and Turkey, acknowledge and condemn this great crime against humanity, we can’t heal completely and move beyond our violent past. As a descendant of a Native American tribe that suffered forced relocation in this country long ago - also resulting in disease, death, and the destruction of families - I share a sense of the profound injustice that Armenians grapple with every day.
I strongly condemn denials of the Armenian Genocide and urge world governments to break their silence not just about this historical tragedy, but about all such acts of brutality against minorities. Only then can we move forward to a better future.