We are heartbroken to inform you that the Colorado State Capitol Khachkar memorial to the Armenian Genocide and to the victims of all crimes against humanity has been vandalized with spray paint graffiti during the ongoing protests in downtown Denver.
Since the Khachkar commemorates the victims of all crimes against humanity, including slavery and state-sponsored racism, it is ironic that individuals who claim to seek justice have vandalized the very monument that honors the victims of injustice.
Protest leaders have repeatedly denounced violence and vandalism. We do not hold the peaceful protesters responsible for the behavior of violent individuals. As Armenian Americans, a community that has survived genocide and centuries of oppression, we recognize and condemn the ongoing injustices against our African American community and we join them in calling for justice for George Floyd.
Earlier today, our community leadership discussed scenarios for protecting the Khachkar monument before we found out that it had been vandalized. One idea to protect the monument was boarding it up, which could have made the khachkar more vulnerable by making it inflammable. Any vandalism against the Capitol khachkar is particularly painful given that it is a replica of one of the 3,000 medieval cross-stones of the legendary Djulfa cemetery destroyed by Azerbaijan’s government in 2005 as part of their plan of erasing the Armenian history in Nakhichevan.
We will continue to monitor the ongoing protests and consider short-term and long-term solutions for the protection of the Colorado State Capitol memorial to the victims of all crimes against humanity. If necessary, we will rebuild our sacred monument again and again, while defending human rights and equality for all.
May 30, 2020