California Legislature Commemorates the 104th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide

Monday, April 22, 2019

California Legislature Commemorates the 104th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide

Armenian Caucus Announces 5th Annual Essay & Visual Arts Winners

Sacramento, CA – Members of the California Legislature today commemorated the 104th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.

"Today Californians pause and remember the 1.5 million lives lost during the Armenian Genocide. We also acknowledge the many contributions the Armenian community has made to our nation," said Senator Scott Wilk. "The strength of the survivors and their descendants is evidenced by the leaders, innovators and thinkers of Armenian descent who have enriched our communities and thrived both here in America and throughout the world."

“Today, we remember and honor the 1.5 million souls lost during the Armenian Genocide and celebrate the strength and perseverance of our community,” stated Assembly member Adrin Nazarian. “Our community is flourishing in California yet we must remain vigilant against injustice, home and abroad.” 

“April 24th is such a dark moment in world history that set in motion unspeakable horrors. Descendants and survivors of the Genocide need their family’s stories told and the tragedies to be remembered. I am honored to be in the position to add my voice to California’s appropriate commemoration and share my prayers to appreciate the Armenians in the diaspora and in Armenia” Senator Portantino (D- La Cañada Flintridge).

Annual Essay Contest:

Earlier this year the Armenian Caucus invited California high school students to participate in its 5th Annual Essay Contest. Students were asked to write a memo nominating a notable Armenian-American Armenian American National Museum.

The winners of the 5th Annual Essay Scholarship are:

  • First-prize, $1,000: Jonathan Eppert attending Hilltop High School in Chula Vista.

Jonathan recommended his great grandmother, Esther Mugerditchian. Esther escaped the horrors of the Armenian Genocide through a daring escape to Russia and was able to document her story in her book entitled, “From Turkish Toils.”

  • Second-prize, $500: Patrick Khoury attending Elise Buckingham Charter Magnet High School in Vacaville.

Patrick recommended James Bagian, a NASA astronaut and professor, for his contributions to the fields of math and science.

  • Third-prize, $300: Manuel Andrei Tan attending Elise Buckingham Charter Magnet High School in Vacaville.

Manuel recommended Dr. Edward Keonjian, a NASA scientist and inventor who published over 100 papers, 27 patents and served as Apollo 11’s Chief of Failure Analysis.

Visual Arts Scholarship:

This year’s theme is “Human to Human Interaction.” Only two-dimensional, visual art submissions will be accepted. Submission types are limited to drawings, paintings, photographs, digital illustrations, and graphic design.

The winners of the Visual Arts Scholarship are:

  • First-prize, $1,000: Joanne Wu attending Piedmont Hills High School in San Jose.

Joanne’s piece is titled “Helping Hands,” shows a young girl carrying her little brother away from fires that were common during the Armenian Genocide.

  • Second-prize, $500: Tenny Malekian attending Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks.

Tenny’s piece is titled “Open your eyes” and is an oil painting that depicts people who have seen the Armenian genocide and people who sugarcoat the genocide to protect themselves from the painful truth.

  • Third-prize, $300: Anaida Haroutiunian attending Clark Magnet High School in Glendale.

Anaida’s piece is titled Family Power and is a photo of her family looking at old photo albums and retelling stories of the Armenian Genocide passed down from their grandparents.

The Armenian Caucus was formed in 2015. It is a platform for Armenian-American voices at a statewide level and is open to all legislators, Armenian or not, who are interested in learning more about the community’s issues.