Sister city of Vanadzor, Armenia.
Armenian Community, City to Commemorate Armenian Genocide
PASADENA, Calif., April 12, 2012 -- The city of Pasadena issued the following news:
On the 97th anniversary of the beginning of what became known as the ArmenianGenocide, the localArmeniancommunity will join with Pasadena officials to mark the occasion with ceremonies at city hall.
Tuesday, April 24, from 10 to 11:30 a.m., residents from area Armenian organizations, churches and schools will gather to remember the systematic killing of as many as 1.5 millionArmeniansfrom 1915 through 1923 in what was then the Ottoman Empire. The United States Marine Corps will perform the official salute and about 40 elected public leaders and representatives are expected to attend. The city hall commemoration is an annual event.
"It's a time of remembrance of all the lives lost," saidArmenian Community Coalition Chairman Khatchik Chris Chahinian, "and it's a call for the official recognition of this terrible suffering."
While 43 American states, including California, and more than 20 countries officially recognize the deaths as an act of genocide, the United States has not officially done so. The Republic of Turkey, the successor government to the Ottoman Empire, does not accept the term "genocide" in reference to theArmeniandeaths.
Pasadena City Hall is located at 100 N. Garfield. For more information about this year's event call 626-399-1799 or visit theArmenian Community Coalition of Pasadena atwww.acc-us.org.
Pasadena's Armenians split on rival genocide remembrances, Memorial Park monument
By Brenda Gazzar, Staff Writer twitter.com/bgazzar Posted: 04/01/2013 05:58:55 PM PDT
PASADENA -- Divided Armenian community members are promoting two rival Armenian genocide anniversary ceremonies in the city on April 24 and two competing ideas for a genocide monument to be erected in Memorial Park.
The Pasadena chapter of the Armenian National Committee is organizing a genocide anniversary ceremony at City Hall at 10 a.m. on April 24. At the exact same time the Pasadena-based Armenian Community Coalition, which in past years has held its remembrance ceremony at City Hall, will commemorate the genocide with another ceremony at Memorial Park.
City officials said it's the first time that there have been two conflicting Armenian genocide anniversary events.
"It's unfortunate that there appears to be competing events and, as an outsider that is sensitive to what the event commemorates, I would hope the groups can consolidate and join forces to commemorate it," Councilman Terry Tornek said. "If there's a dispute over the monument, that's even worse. I would hope the community could pull together on these important issues."
Mayor Bill Bogaard said it would be preferable to have one ceremony since two simultaneous events could reduce attendance.
Neither he nor Tornek will be in town that day.
From 1915 through 1923 as many as 1.5 million Armenians were slain by the Ottoman Turks in what was then the Ottoman Empire. For more than 30 years, the City Council has issued an annual proclamation commemorating the Armenian genocide on April 24,
Shoghig Yepremian, chairwoman of the Armenian National Committee's Pasadena chapter, said her organization used to go in front of the City Council every year to commemorate the anniversary but decided this year to host a ceremony in front of City Hall.
"We have a larger community," she said.
Chatchik "Chris" Chahinian, chairman of the Armenian Community Coalition, said his group started the City Hall commemoration and has done it there for the past three years.
"It's very disappointing; this is not something that should happen," he said. "I believe the group that intends to do this copied our tradition. It's going to hurt our cause and our community."
Now there are also two competing plans for a genocide monument to be erected in Memorial Park in time for the 100th anniversary of the tragedy in 2015.
Chahinian's Armenian Community Coalition could be going head-to-head with former Pasadena mayor Bill Paparian's Pasadena Armenian Genocide Memorial Committee (PAGMC).
Both groups have been in contact with the city about their ideas for a privately funded monument, and both say they are finalizing their designs, Art Center College of Design student Catherine Menard was selected by the PAGMC for its project; Vahram Hovagimyan has been chosen to design the planned ACC monument.
Chahinian, a former Pasadena City Council candidate, first announced the idea for a genocide monument in 2011; Paparian, who did not respond to multiple requests for comment, announced the registration of his PAGMC committee last year.
"We started this project; we felt we should finish this project," said Chahinian, who says his coalition is made up of at least 10 different Armenian groups. "(PAGMC) are trying to hijack this project. I don't know what their interest is."
Yepremian, who is a PAGMC board member, said she believes that group is on the right track.
"I'm confident with the process, with the committee, with the board members involved," she said. "It truly represents a grass-roots effort and our project is an excellent project for Memorial Park."
Among PAGMC's listed board members are former Assemblyman Anthony Portantino and former police Chief Bernard Melekian.
Councilman Gene Masuda tried unsuccessfully last year to get the groups to resolve any differences, according to all sides.
Bogaard said he favors a proposal "formulated by a broad representative group in the community."
"Mr. Chahinian is active in the community and if he were opposed to a proposal emanating from the other group, it would be impractical for staff to reach a conclusion about what to recommend and it would be difficult to go forward," Bogaard said.
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