Denver to Commemorate All Genocides at Capitol Armenian Garden

Flowers placed at the foot of the khachkar (Photo: Kevo Hedeshian)
Flowers placed at the foot of the khachkar (Photo: Kevo Hedeshian)

DENVER, Colo.—Colorado communities and dignitaries plan to wrap up the Centennial commemorations of the Armenian Genocide and all other crimes against humanity with “Shine a Light on All Genocides” on Dec. 6. The event will start at the Colorado State Capitol Armenian Genocide Memorial Garden, where Governor John Hickenlooper unveiled a memorial on April 24, and will continue inside the nearby First Baptist Church of Denver.

Organized by Armenians of Colorado (AOC) in partnership with the Colorado chapter of the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), Colorado Coalition for Genocide Awareness & Action (CCGAA), Consulate General of the Republic of Armenia in Los Angeles, and the Djulfa Virtual Memorial and Museum, the program will be led by 33rd Speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives Andrew Romanoff. Special guests will include 38th Governor of Colorado Richard Lamm, the Office of Congressman Mike Coffman, Colorado Senate Minority Leader and former Senate President Morgan Carroll, Consul General of Armenia in Los Angeles Sergey Sarkisov, and ANCA-Western Region Executive Director Elen Asatryan.

“Shine a Light on All Genocides” concludes the Centennial year of the Armenian Genocide by observing the global day of genocide victims (the International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide and of the Prevention of this Crime) and by commemorating the 10th anniversary of the destruction of Djulfa (Jugha)—the world’s largest collection of medieval khatchkars (Armenian cross-stones). The event will include a special presentation by CCGAA’s founder, Roz Duman, and other Jewish-American leaders, who will read an official resolution passed nationally in recognition of the Armenian Genocide. “Shine a Light on All Genocides” will also bring the first Armenian diplomatic delegation to Colorado since the April 24 unveiling of America’s first statehouse khatchkar.

“The Colorado State Capitol Khachkar in memory of the innocent victims of the 1915 Armenian Genocide is a vivid testament to the Armenian and American peoples’ commitment to restoring historical justice,” remarked Consul General of Armenia in Los Angeles Sergey Sarkisov.”

This year, Colorado held a series of groundbreaking events in commemoration of the Armenian Genocide. Educational events included internationally known speakers Dr. David Fulton, the regional director of Facing History & Ourselves; David Barsamian, founder of Alternative Radio; Hratch Kozibeyokian, expert of Armenian Orphan Rugs; and Dr. Susan Pattie, expert of genocide-era artifacts.

Centennial highlights included the April 21 premiere of Emmy-winning composer Denise Gentilini’s “I AM ALIVE” musical at the Newman Center for Performing Arts and the April 24 Armenian Genocide Khatchkar Memorial Unveiling by Governor Hickenlooper. To thank Colorado for its unmatched support for Armenian Genocide victims since 1915, AOC and ANCA-Colorado hosted a “Colorado We Thank You” gala in September.

April 24, 2015 marked the 100th anniversary of the start of the Armenian Genocide, a crime that killed 1.5 million indigenous Armenians in Ottoman Turkey and resulted in the loss of the greater part of the Armenian homeland and its ancient Christian heritage. December 2015 also marks the 10th anniversary of Azerbaijan’s destruction of Djulfa. Colorado is home to a vibrant Armenian-American community, many of whom are descendants of the Armenian Genocide while others trace their ancestry to Djulfa. AOC organized Centennial anniversary events of the Armenian Genocide under the leadership of Board president Sona Hedeshian, Armenian Genocide Centennial Committee chair Anahid Katchian Logue, and Capitol Khachkar Committee chair Simon Maghakyan.

AOC was established in June 1980 as a 501(c)3 non-profit cultural organization. Its purpose is to create a cohesive Armenian community and to further the understanding of Armenian history, culture, language, customs, and heritage. AOC actively supports issues and concerns of the Armenian-American community in Colorado as well as those identified within the Armenian Diaspora throughout the world. For more information, visit

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Guest contributions to the Armenian Weekly are informative articles or press releases written and submitted by members of the community.

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