105th Anniversary Armenian Genocide Commemoration Cancelled due to Coronavirus, AGC Donates to Armenia
BOCA RATON, FL – The South Florida Armenian Genocide Commemoration, Inc. (AGC) has canceled this year’s annual April 24th Armenian Genocide commemorative program, AGC announced in an email.
“This year, in lieu of having a commemorative event, we have decided to assist Armenia in their fight against COVID-19,” AGC Chair Arsine Kaloustian said via email. “We will send a donation on behalf of AGC to the Armenia Fund. What better way to help Armenia but when she is in dire need,” she said.
AGC will donate $1,000 to Armenia Fund’s COVID-19 relief operations in Armenia, according to AGC. The coronavirus continues to spread in Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh. The Armenian government imposed a 30-day ‘State of Emergency’ on March 16, and announced a 10-day extension last week.
MIAMI BEACH, FL – On Wednesday, December 11, 2019, the City of Miami Beach, Florida passed a resolution officially recognizing the Armenian Genocide, reported FLArmenians.com.
The resolution was introduced by Miami Beach City Commissioner Mark Samuelian and passed unanimously.
“I am extremely proud of my Armenian heritage, and happy to have visited Armenia this summer and seen the wonderful countryside and its people. I commend the U.S. House of Representatives for condemning and recognizing the Armenian Genocide and proud of the City of Miami Beach for adopting this resolution,” Mark Samuelian said in a statement to FLArmenians.com. “In addition, I congratulate the Armenian Genocide Committee, Inc. (AGC) for its efforts in commemorating the Armenian Genocide here in South Florida. This is a significant step in honoring the history of the Armenian people and their contributions,” Samuelian said.
In 2017, Samuelian became the first Armenian American elected official in Miami-Dade County history.
“The City of Miami Beach is the first city in Miami-Dade County to officially recognize the Armenian Genocide, and I know I speak for the thousands of Armenian Americans in Miami-Dade when I say ‘Thank You’ to Commissioner Samuelian, Mayor Gelber, and the entire City Commission on this historic occasion,” stated AGC Chairwoman Arsine Kaloustian. “As the Armenian American community in South Florida continues to grow, AGC will continue to build on our accomplishments and expand Armenian Genocide awareness, education, and affirmation in the Sunshine State,” Kaloustian said.
A copy of the resolution is available here.
Florida Armenians Participate in International Holocaust Remembrance Day Commemoration at Palm Beach Central High School
WELLINGTON, FL – On Friday, January 25, 2019 the Palm Beach County School District held an International Holocaust Remembrance Day Commemoration at Palm Beach Central High School (PBCHS). The event featured a collaborative program of student speakers from the school’s Holocaust Studies Department that highlighted the mass genocides of the 20th century, and called attention to the increase of violent crimes due to bigotry and hatred.
Over 100 students, faculty, and administrators gathered in the auditorium to hear the presentations, including remarks from PBCHS Holocaust Studies Department Chair Ms. Maureen Holtzer, and Zelda Fuksman, a Holocaust survivor who speaks to students across Florida about the Holocaust as part of the state’s inSIGHT Through Education initiative.
Following the presentations, participants traveled outside to the unveiling of a Genocide Memorial Garden, which will be a permanent fixture for students, parents, and teachers to learn about all genocides, man’s inhumanity towards man, and the lessons of intolerance and prejudice.
Norman Frajman, a local Holocaust survivor spoke about his experience, the importance of remembrance, and how we can all learn from the past lest we be doomed to repeat it.
Florida Armenians Editor Taniel Koushakjian offered remarks about the local Armenian American community’s efforts to expand genocide education through the work of the Armenian Genocide Committee (AGC). The AGC has successfully led a unified Armenian American community effort since 2014, working hand-in-hand with government officials, school administrators, educators, and parents in Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade Counties.
Ms. Holtzer and her students spent weeks preparing the beautiful grounds of the garden. They also worked passionately to deliver a moving presentation and program. The Genocide Memorial Garden features hand-made butterflies that list the names of genocide victims for each instance of genocide, including the Armenian Genocide.
“The garden was created by students from my research class as their legacy to the school,” Ms. Holtzer said. “They felt it was of utmost importance to create something that would be a reminder of the devastating consequences of hatred. They selected the butterfly as their symbol as it represents both beauty and freedom,” said Ms. Holtzer.
To conclude the program participants were all given butterflies which were then set free together to mark the opening of the garden.
“I think it’s wonderful,” stated Richard Baronian of Boynton Beach, FL. The names of Baronian’s family members who perished in the genocide are displayed in the garden. “The genocide remembrance garden at Palm Beach Central High School will teach the students and parents of non-Armenians about our history. Hopefully they will want to find out more so the world never forgets,” Baronian said.