BOSTON, Mass.—The Massachusetts House, by a vote of 157-2, has adopted a bill that mandates that the topic of genocide be part of the curriculum for all public school systems in the Commonwealth. The bill, championed by Senator Michael Rodrigues and Representative Jeffrey Roy, also establishes a Genocide Education Trust Fund to assist school departments in implementing the mandate.
S. 2557 passed the Massachusetts Senate on October 21 by a vote of 39-0. When the Senate passes the amended version and it is signed into law, Massachusetts will join the growing list of states that require all public-school students learn about historical cases of genocide to help prevent future cases.
“This success is the culmination of intense work by a coalition of Armenian, Jewish, Ukrainian, and Cambodian organizations and individuals, building on the earlier efforts over the last decade,” said Dikran Kaligian of the Armenian National Committee (ANC) of Eastern Massachusetts. “Despite the fact that the Turkish government organized dozens of Turkish-Americans to object to the inclusion of the Armenian Genocide in the committee hearing, both houses of the legislature overwhelmingly stood up for human rights and historical truth.”
“We know that genocide is not merely a historical problem, as we’ve seen in Darfur, against the Rohingya in Burma, and the Uyghurs in China,” stated Eric Cohen, chair of the Massachusetts Coalition to Save Darfur. “That’s why it is both necessary and urgent to learn lessons from previous genocides. Further, many of the conflicts in the world today are not only haunted by earlier genocides, but still animated by the hate that fueled those atrocities. Recent cases of ignorance of the Holocaust and of the Armenian Genocide highlight the importance of teaching this history.”