WASHINGTON – On April 24, Cammi Rood from Chevy Chase, MD, was among the protestors at Sheridan Circle, Washington, D.C., demanding that the Turkish government recognizes the Armenian Genocide. Though with no Armenian roots, she wore an Armenian T-shirt depicting the forget-me-not flower as a symbol of remembrance.
“It’s just something we never learn about in school,” said Cammi when we talked at the event organized by the Armenian Youth Federation. Cammi thinks the Armenian Genocide should be part of the curriculum.
California, Virginia, Michigan, Rhode Island, and some other states have already introduced the Armenian Genocide into their curriculum systems. South Carolina, New Hampshire, and Missouri might follow. Resolution H5245 at South Carolina’s House of Representatives suggests amending the code of the state’s laws to make sure the schoolchildren study how Martin Luther King was struggling against the notorious Jim Crow laws, and also learn about other acts of discriminatory injustice, including “the Armenian Genocide, the Holocaust, Rohingya in Myanmar and others.”
This is a bipartisan bill with Republican Garry Smith as a primary sponsor. The document has been referred to the state legislature’s Committee on Education and Public Works.
South Carolina recognized the Armenian Genocide in 1999. Five years ago, coastal Myrtle Beach’s mayor John Rhodes signed a proclamation commemorating the 102nd anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, citing the massacres against the Armenian, Greek, and Assyrian Christians.
In New Hampshire, the Armenian Genocide Resolution was adopted in 1967, when an Armenian-American Rep. Sarkis Maloomian drafted a resolution paying tribute to the slaughter of “one and half million Armenian men, women and children in Turkish Armenia.” During the following decades, both the Senate (1990) and the governor (2005) of the Granite state favored other formal acknowledgments.
House Bill 1632 which Republican Jordan Ulery proposed in March of this year was supported by five other Republicans, including a wonderful couple, Alicia and Tony Lekas, husband and wife, representing the Hudson and Pelham areas of NH.
The resolution was similar to the one pending in South Carolina and calls for studying the acts of discriminatory injustice, “such as genocide, elsewhere around the globe.” “This unit shall include, but not be limited to, the Armenian genocide, the Holocaust, Chinese coolie labor in Cuba, the Uighurs in China, the Rohingya of Burma, and others,” is recorded in the Bill. The document was adopted by voice vote in late March.
Chair of Missouri’s Legislative Assembly’s Education Committee Charles Basye doesn’t anticipate that the resolution he drafted will be adopted before the state legislature adjourns in the first half of May. With many pending bills, the elected officials might simply not be able to squeeze the House Bill 1933 into their voting agenda. The Congressman cannot run again, as Missouri’s legislation has term limits, however, he hopes the following state parliament will pick up his draft.
“My grandfather fought in World War I. If he was still around, I would love to get his insight,” noted Congressman Basye.