DENVER, Colo.—Celebrated Los Angeles attorney Mark Geragos spoke about the Armenian Genocide in his “Reparations: Beyond Recognition” speech, as part of the Armenian Genocide remembrance events organized by Armenians of Colorado (AOC), Inc. Geragos spoke to an engaged gathering at the Waring Theatre of Arapahoe Community College. He was one of the lead lawyers in a pair of groundbreaking federal class action lawsuits against New York Life Insurance and AXA for insurance policies issued in the early 20th century during the time of the Armenian Genocide. These two cases settled for over $37.5 million in 2004 and 2005.
“The statistical data about the case that Mr. Geragos shared was amazingly powerful confirmation of the genocidal process of the Armenian people and the crowd really appreciated his lecture in Denver” said Kim Christianian, president of AOC. The lecture was sponsored by Armenians of Colorado Inc. with support from Sigma Phi chapter of Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society, Colorado Coalition for Genocide Awareness and Action, and Facing History and Ourselves.
On Fri., April 23, the Colorado General Assembly unanimously passed the 9th annual Armenian Genocide Resolution designating April 24 as Colorado Day of Remembrance of the Armenian Genocide. The resolution was sponsored by long-time supporter State Senator Lois Tochtrop and State Representative Su Ryden. “Unlike previous years, there were no reservations given by the legislators in passing the resolution,” said Ken Allikian, the chair of the Armenian Genocide Commemoration Committee (GCC) that coordinates the resolution every year, and secures gubernatorial and mayoral proclamations.
Armenians of Colorado (AOC) organized the annual commemoration ceremony the following day at the Armenian Garden, located on the State Capitol grounds, where there is a memorial headstone dedicated to the 1.5 million Armenians killed during the first genocide of the 20th century. Over 100 people gathered for the ceremony. The speakers included State Senator Lois Tochtrop; Kim Christianian; Ken Allikian; and Simon Maghakyan, secretary of AOC and former co-chair of the GCC. Rosemary Rodriguez, the state director for Senator Michael Bennet, read a letter from the Senator.
Below is the text of the 2010 Colorado state resolution “concerning remembrance of the Armenian Genocide on April 24, 2010, and, in connection therewith, designating every April 24 hereafter as ‘Colorado Day of Remembrance of the Armenian Genocide.’”
Sixty-Seventh General Assembly
State of Colorado, Senate Joint Resolution
WHEREAS, This year marks the 95th anniversary of the first genocide of the 20th century, the Armenian Genocide, when 1.5 million men, women, and children of Armenian descent were victims of a brutal genocide perpetrated by the Turkish Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1923 and, as a result, there are fewer than 75,000 indigenous Armenians living within the borders of modern Turkey; and
WHEREAS, The former United States Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, Henry Morgenthau, Sr., stated, “Whatever crimes the most perverted instincts of the human mind can devise, and whatever refinements of persecutions and injustice the most debased imagination can conceive, became the daily misfortunes of this devoted people.”; and
WHEREAS, The killing of the Armenian people was followed by the systematic destruction of churches, schools, libraries, treasures of art, and cultural monuments that continues to this day in an attempt to eliminate all traces of a noble civilization with a history of more than 3,000 years; and
WHEREAS, The New York Times recently reported a newly exposed official Ottoman document revealing that 972,000 Armenians disappeared from population records within one year; and
WHEREAS, Despite overwhelming evidence, modern Turkey continues to deny and distort the facts of the genocide, honor the perpetrators of that crime against humanity as national heroes, and persecute its citizens who acknowledge or even allude to the Armenian Genocide; and
WHEREAS, Each April, Armenians throughout the world honor their martyrs, and all the world’s people should commemorate the Armenian Genocide and condemn any attempt to deny its historical truth or mischaracterize it as anything less than genocide, a term coined by Raphael Lemkin in 1944 referencing the Armenian extermination as a seminal example of genocide; and
WHEREAS, We must all fight against current injustices, such as the ongoing first genocide of the 21st century in Darfur that is being denied by the Turkish government, an ally of the Sudanese regime, which demonstrates how the cycle of genocide continues; and
WHEREAS, We commend Armenians of Colorado, Inc., for organizing the April 2010 genocide commemoration events, which include a keynote speech by attorney Mark Geragos entitled “Reparations: Beyond Recognition”, held April 17th at Arapahoe Community College; and
WHEREAS, We commend the growing number of Turkish citizens, including academics, writers, and journalists, who challenge their government’s official account of history amid threats of prosecution and imprisonment under article 301 of the Turkish penal code, which forbids denigration of the Turkish nation and the Turkish government; now, therefore, Be It Resolved by the Senate of the Sixty-seventh General Assembly of the State of Colorado, the House of Representatives concurring herein:
(1) That this legislative body pause in its deliberations to commemorate the 95th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, to be recognized at a memorial service at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 24, 2010, at the Armenian Genocide memorial plaque in the Armenian Garden, located in the northeast quadrant on the State Capitol grounds; and
(2) That we, the members of the General Assembly, hereby acknowledge April 24, 2010, and April 24 of each year hereafter, as “Colorado Day of Remembrance of the Armenian Genocide”.
Be It Further Resolved, That copies of this Joint Resolution be sent to the Honorable Barack Obama, President of the United States; the members of the Colorado Congressional Delegation; the members of the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues; the Honorable Bill Ritter, Jr., Governor of Colorado; the Armenian Assembly of America in Washington, D.C.; the Armenian National Committee in Washington, D.C.; and the Armenian and Turkish Embassies in Washington, D.C.
Armenians of Colorado, Inc. was established in June 1982. It is a 501© (3) non-profit, cultural organization charged with a purpose to create a cohesive Armenian community and to further the understanding of Armenian history, culture, and heritage. AOC actively supports issues and concerns of the Armenian American community here in Colorado as well as those identified within the Armenian Diaspora throughout the world. For more information about Armenians of Colorado, visit www.armeniansofcolorado.org.