WEST PALM BEACH, FL – Earlier today, President Joe Biden became the first U.S. President to properly recognize the World War I era mass killings of Armenians and other Christians by the Ottoman Turkish Empire as genocide.
“Today is #ArmenianGenocide Remembrance Day, commemorating the 1.5 million Armenians who were massacred in 1915 by the Ottomans, & today @POTUS has made history by becoming the first President to recognize it. This is a major step toward Armenians getting the justice they deserve,” Congresswoman Lois Frankel (D-FL) said on Twitter. Earlier this week, Frankel was one of three Florida Representatives to sign a letter to President Biden urging him to recognize the Armenian Genocide on April 24th.
“It has been more than 100 years since the atrocities committed against innocent Armenians and other ethnic and religious minorities at the hands of the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman Empire’s genocidal campaign from 1915-1923 killed 1.5 million Armenian men, women, and children, as well as Greeks, Assyrians, Chaldeans, and Syriacs, through a series of executions and death marches,” said Congressman Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), who serves as Co-Chairman of the Congressional Armenian Caucus. “I whole-heartedly welcome today’s historic announcement from President Biden formally recognizing the Armenian Genocide. I have been a major supporter of recognizing the Ottoman Empire’s atrocious acts as genocide, co-authoring the Armenian Genocide recognition resolution passed by the House of Representatives two years ago. We must acknowledge the atrocities of the past so that we might hopefully prevent them in the future. Our darkest moments as a human race have come during times when those who knew better stood silently, making excuses for passivity and allowing injustice and persecution to reign. Today at 2:30 p.m. I spoke with Deputy Assistant Secretary for Europe and Eurasia George Kent who confirmed the Administration’s announcement today acknowledging the pain of history to ensure future atrocities do not happen,” Bilirakis said on Saturday.
Congressman Ted Deutch (D-FL), an active member of the Congressional Armenian Caucus, issued a statement on Twitter, saying “I commend @POTUS Biden for officially recognizing the Armenian Genocide. Yet over a century later some still minimize the Ottoman Empire’s systematic execution of Armenians. We must honor the victims & survivors, & we must keep its memory alive to prevent history from repeating.”
“President Joe Biden’s deceptively simple action goes beyond what any previous American president has ever been willing to do. The evidence, however, is clear the Turks engaged in a years-long ethnic cleansing campaign that included forced death marches and mass starvation. Recognizing this fact will, hopefully, bring an element of closure to this chapter of history for families impacted by these atrocities,” Palm Beach County Commissioner Robert Weinroth (D-FL) told FLArmenians.com.
Boca Raton Mayor Scott Singer told FLArmenians.com, “The White House’s recognition today of the Armenian Genocide is an important step to honor the memory of the many who were killed. To prevent future tragedies, we must never forget those that occurred,” Mayor Singer said. Boca Raton, FL is the second largest city in Palm Beach County and is home to St. David Armenian Church, the first Armenian Church built in Florida and consecrated in 1989.
Responding to the news, Mark Samuelian, Miami Beach City Commissioner told FLArmenians.com, “Having recently visited the Armenian Genocide Memorial in Yerevan, President Biden’s historic announcement today delivers profound meaning.” Elected in 2017, Samuelian is the first Armenian American elected official in Miami-Dade County, FL.
*This post was updated on Thursday, April 29, 2021 to reflect the new statements. FLArmenians.com will continue to update this post with new statements from Florida elected officials.
Disclaimer: This event is not sponsored by any South Florida Armenian American community organizations. All donations made to help the people of Armenia and Artsakh, by order of the Diaspora Commissioner, should be directed to ArmeniaFund.org or himnadram.org.
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.