Superintendent backs inclusion of Armenian Genocide in CA curriculum

Superintendent backs inclusion of Armenian Genocide in CA curriculum

PanARMENIAN.Net - California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond has expressed his support for the inclusion of the Armenian Genocide in the Instructional Quality Commission’s ethnic studies model curriculum, reports the Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region.

“We welcome comments made by Superintendent Thurmond at Wednesday’s press conference in regard to the inclusion of the Armenian experience in the ethnic studies model curriculum and thank him for being responsive to the specific concerns we have voiced,” remarked ANCA-WR Chair Nora Hovsepian, Esq. “The California history and social studies framework makes specific reference to the importance of teaching students specifically about the Jewish Holocaust and the Armenian Genocide. It is our hope and expectation that the new Ethnic Studies curriculum will build upon this framework, and we have offered all resources at our disposal to ensure that the topic is appropriately covered.”

During a press conference on Wednesday, addressing the concerns of the California Legislative Jewish Caucus, Superintendent Thurmond noted, “We’re being contacted by many other groups that feel that their story also needs to be told. I’ll just say, as it relates to the Armenian Genocide, for example, we’ve heard from the leaders in the Armenian community and many other communities.” He went on to say, “While ethnic studies has a historical framework, the task for us will be to establish California’s version of what ethnic studies looks like… we have to make sure we create a place for all who have experienced oppression to share that.”

In March of this year, ANCA-WR representatives had met with Superintendent Thurmond to discuss the importance of genocide education in public schools and its significance in combating denialist efforts that continue today. At this meeting, Superintendent Thurmond expressed his deep understanding of the need for genocide education and his support for the Armenian community of California, promising to be a strong advocate for the needs of Armenian Americans in the sphere of education.

The Armenian Genocide

The Armenian Genocide (1915-23) was the deliberate and systematic destruction of the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire during and just after World War I. It was characterized by massacres and deportations, involving forced marches under conditions designed to lead to the death of the deportees, with the total number of deaths reaching 1.5 million.

The majority of Armenian Diaspora communities were formed by the Genocide survivors.

Present-day Turkey denies the fact of the Armenian Genocide, justifying the atrocities as “deportation to secure Armenians”. Only a few Turkish intellectuals, including Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk and scholar Taner Akcam, speak openly about the necessity to recognize this crime against humanity.

The Armenian Genocide was recognized by Uruguay, Russia, France, Lithuania, Italy, 45 U.S. states, Greece, Cyprus, Lebanon, Argentina, Belgium, Austria, Wales, Switzerland, Canada, Poland, Venezuela, Chile, Bolivia, the Vatican, Luxembourg, Brazil, Germany, the Netherlands, Paraguay, Sweden, Venezuela, Slovakia, Syria, Vatican, as well as the European Parliament and the World Council of Churches.

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