Florida Media Outlets Report on Local Armenian American Community’s Response to Biden’s Genocide Declaration
BOCA RATON, FL – As all eyes were on the White House last month, the Armenian American community was hyper mobilized in pressing the White House to fulfill President Biden’s pledge to recognize the Armenian Genocide as President on April 24.
With all signs pointing in the right direction and anticipation of the President’s genocide declaration building by the day, two Florida media outlets covered the local Armenian American community’s response.
“Florida Armenians here and across the state welcomed President Joe BIden’s recognition of Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day April 24” The Boca Voice posted on their Facebook page.
Later in the day, a headline from the Tampa Bay Times read “Biden’s recognition of genocide brings Florida’s Armenians relief.” Tampa Bay Times‘ breaking news reporter Josh Fiallo’s heartfelt reporting was the first major Florida newspaper to cover the President’s historic statement.
On Sunday, April 25, the Times devoted another story to the local Armenian American community on the west coast of Florida. Reporting “Genocide victims remembered on Red Sunday at Pinellas Armenian Church,” Times reporter Anastasia Dawson went to St. Hagop Armenian Church in Pinellas Park and spoke with Rev. Fr. Hovnan Demerjian and several parishioners.
“Demerjian, pastor at St. Hagop’s, called Biden’s statement ‘the healing of a wound’ that was a ‘long time in the making,'” he told the Tampa Bay Times. =
While no other newspaper or media outlet in Florida covered President Biden’s acknowledgement of the Armenian Genocide (reprinting the AP doesn’t count), Armenian Americans in Florida should be pleased to know that the Tampa Bay Times, that state’s largest newspaper, gave them ample coverage and connected with St. Hagop’s parishioners, and that our local reporters and outlets like the The Boca Voice truly listen to their community members and amplify their stories.
By Taniel Koushakjian
On April 24, 2020 President Donald J. Trump issued the official White House statement on Armenian Genocide remembrance day “memorializing the lives lost during the Meds Yeghern, one of the worst mass atrocities of the 20th century. Beginning in 1915, 1 and a half million Armenians were deported, massacred, or marched to their deaths in the final years of the Ottoman Empire. On this day of remembrance, we pay respect to those who suffered and lost their lives, while also renewing our commitment to fostering a more humane and peaceful world,” the White House statement read.
Hours after President Trump’s statement, former Vice President Joe Biden issued his April 24 statement. Like Trump, and Obama before him, Biden invoked the phrase Meds Yeghern which what Armenians call the Armenian Genocide. However, Biden’s statement went all the way, using the Armenian and English versions.
“Today we remember the atrocities faced by the Armenian people in the Metz Yeghern — the Armenian Genocide,” Biden said. “From 1915 to 1923, almost 2 million Armenians were deported en mass, and 1.5 million men, women, and children were killed. Greeks, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Syriacs, Arameans, Maronites, and other Christians were also targeted. We must never forget or remain silent about this horrific and systematic campaign of extermination. And we will forever respect the perseverance of the Armenian people in the wake of such tragedy,” the former Vice President said.
Biden served as Vice President to President Barack Obama from 2008-2016. Biden and Obama pledged to recognize the Armenian Genocide as President once they reached the White House in 2008. However, the Obama-Biden Administration broke it’s promise to the Armenian American community and stopped short of using the “g” word.
Biden’s statement today seems to be the only step left for the Democratic Party to win over Armenian American voters, in terms of a campaign pledge and an actual policy correction in the Executive Brach of the U.S. government.
Campaigning for President in 2016, Donald Trump did not issue a campaign statement to the Armenian American community. Since taking office, the Trump White House has continued to refer to the Ottoman Turkish murder of 1.5 million Armenians in 1915 as “mass atrocities” but has stoped short of applying the proper legal name for what historians overwhelming acknowledge as the first genocide of the 20th century.
Deadline Extended to April 16th!
The Armenian Genocide Commemoration, Inc. (AGC) is proud to announce a contest for Armenian American school children (grades 6-10) to showcase their feelings and knowledge about the Armenian Genocide. All competitors will have their exhibition displayed in St. Mary’s Hall on April 24th.
Students are instructed to create the exhibition on a tri-fold display board (36” X 48”). Judging will be based on the following categories: aesthetics; clarity; originality; and accuracy.
To enter, fill out this form and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org by 5:00pm on Wednesday, April 16, 2018. The exhibit must be delivered to St. Mary Armenian Church, 4050 NW 100th Ave., Hollywood, FL 33024 by 5:00pm on Friday, April 20, 2018.
The winners will be announced during the commemoration program on April 24th. Plagiarism is strictly prohibited. Exhibits with plagiarized content will be disqualified.