DENVER, Colo.—On Friday April 20, 2012, the Colorado General Assembly unanimously voiced their approval for the 11th annual Armenian Genocide Resolution, designating April 24 as Colorado Day of Remembrance of The Armenian Genocide. The resolution was spearheaded by Armenians of Colorado (AOC) Genocide Commemoration Committee chairperson, Kim Christianian in 2002, with the help of committee members Ken Allikian and Simon Maghakyan. “Each year we update the language of the resolution to bring awareness to the continuous injustices that are placed on the Christian minorities in Turkey,” says Christianian. Last year, Colorado led the states with language in their resolution calling for the return of Christian properties confiscated during the genocide. “This year, we added language about the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, which named Turkey as one of the 16 most egregious and systematic violators of religious freedom in the world,” says Christianian.
State Senator Lois Tochtrop has been the primary sponsor of the resolution since 2002, back when she was a State Representative in the House. “We have had several House sponsors over the years, but for last two years we have had Representative Su Ryden as our advocate in the House chamber,” says, Ken Allikian.
In addition to the annual resolution, AOC has for thirty years obtained annual Mayoral and Gubernatorial Armenian Genocide commemorative proclamations (needs to be a link to 2012-Armenian-Genocide-Remembrance.pdf PDF is in folder). This year, the proclamations were submitted by AOC board member, Rafael Saakyan.
The resolution was followed by the annual commemoration ceremony on Sunday April 22, organized by AOC and the Genocide Commemoration Committee. Simon Maghakyan acted as MC and the guest speakers included Senator Lois Tochtrop and Representive Su Ryden. Reverend Father Zaven Markosyan delivered the invocation in the Senate and at the commemoration ceremony. A crowd of over 150 attended the ceremony held in The Armenian Garden located on the State Capitol grounds where there is a dedicated commemorative headstone and evergreen tree. The garden was established with the support of the Armenian community and AOC in April 1982. “We are very fortunate to have our own piece of land on the Capitol grounds,” says Sona Hedeshian, president of AOC. “We’ll be working to make enhancements to the site in time for the centennial in 2015”.
Click here for the 2012 Colorado Armenian Genocide Resolution.
Balakian Workshop with Educators Held in Denver
On Sat., March 10, more than 70 educators and students participated in a workshop titled “Why Studying the Armenian Genocide Matters Today,” to learn about how to incorporate the Armenian Genocide into school curricula across Colorado. The workshop was a collaboration between Facing History and Ourselves (FHAO) and Armenians of Colorado, Inc. (AOC).
“This has been in the works for over a year,” said Kim Christianian, chair of the Armenian Genocide Commemoration Committee for AOC. “We didn’t know what to expect and we were thrilled to see how enthusiastic the teachers were about teaching the subject in their history classes,” she said.
“Professor [Peter] Balakian really fed our teachers well,” said FHAO regional director Dave Fulton. “We’re anxious to have him back.”
The workshop concluded with the showing of a 10-minute documentary entitled “The Armenian Genocide and the Treaty of Sevre,” made by student Alik Christianian for 2011 History Day. She was awarded first place for the film in the state of Colorado last year and competed in Washington, D.C., in the middle school category.
The Saturday workshop was part of a series of educational events in Colorado. Balakian started the weekend at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, where he read from his latest book of poems Ziggurat for the Creative Writing Program Reading Series.
On Sun., March 11, AOC hosted a talk and book signing with Balakian titled “Literary Memory and Catastrophe: from the Armenian Genocide to 9/11.” The event was held at the Tattered Cover and drew a large crowd from both the Denver and Boulder area.
The weekend lectures were organized by the Armenian Genocide Commemoration Committee for AOC. April events include an annual resolution designating April 24 as the Colorado Day of Remembrance of the Armenian Genocide. “This is will be the 11th year that we have had this resolution in place,” said Kim Christianian, who spearheaded the initiative with the help of committee members Ken Allikian and Simon Maghakyan. “We have seen the effect of these grass-root efforts on our Congressional delegation and believe that it is only a matter of time that the Armenian Genocide gets its proper recognition at the national level,” she said.
Pictured left to right: Walter Logue, Anahid Katchian-Logue, Shoghig Vayedjian, Kim Christianian, Peter Balakian, Hasmik Nikoghosyan, and Simon Maghakyan