RI Senate unanimously passes Armenian Genocide resolution

Armenian flag flying over the RI State House on April 24, 2023

PROVIDENCE, R.I.—The Armenian tricolor proudly flew over the Rhode Island State House on April 24 and 25, as well as in the RI Senate on Tuesday, as the Armenian Genocide resolution (No. 937) was introduced by a grandchild of survivors.

Senator David P. Tikoian (Smithfield, North Providence and Lincoln) began his remarks on the Senate floor by expressing sincere gratitude to Senate President Pro Tempore Hanna Gallo of Cranston. Senate President Gallo, a longtime supporter of the Armenian community and cause, encouraged Tikoian to sponsor and introduce the resolution this year, taking over a role she has had for many years. The late Senator Maryellen Goodwin, a Smith Hill native who passed away last week, played a major role for many years, along with Senator Gallo.

Reading of the Armenian Genocide resolution with Senate Pres. Pro Tempore Hanna Gallo looking on

Senator Tikoian spoke to his fellow senators after the reading of the resolution about its importance to him as a descendant of orphans of the Genocide, Garabed Topalian and Tarviz Mesrobian. “It is because of their survival that I stand before you today,” Tikoian said. He explained the importance of recognizing the Armenian Genocide each year, making the connection between the events of World War I and the Holocaust during World War II.

“It is only through learning and remembering past atrocities, as we are doing here today, that we work towards their prevention and become a more humane society,” Tikoian stressed, recalling the Senate’s passage on March 30 of a resolution designating April as Holocaust and Genocide Awareness Month, which he cosponsored with Senator Josh Miller.

Senator David Tikoian speaking about the importance of the Armenian Genocide resolution

“Passed by the entire Senate,” stated Senate President Gallo as every senator on the floor stood for passage of the resolution.

Sen. Thomas Paolino (l.) with Sen. Tikoian

Senator Leonidas Raptakis (Coventry) of Greek descent and Senator Thomas Paolino, who represents parts of Lincoln, North Providence and North Smithfield, spoke in support of the resolution. Senator Paolino noted that he was proud to support this legislation in honor of his late grandmother, who was Armenian.

Senator Leonidas Raptakis speaking in support of the resolution

The Rhode Island Armenian community is grateful for the Senate’s passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution, following last week’s passage of the resolution introduced in the RI House by Rep. Katherine Kazarian (East Providence). Rep. Kazarian follows in the footsteps of longtime supporter Deputy Majority Leader Rep. Arthur Corvese (North Providence).

Community members with Sen. Tikoian (back center), including (l. to r. In front) his aunts Margaret Moorachian and Carol Mesrobian and his mother Ann Tikoian.
Stephen Elmasian

Stephen Elmasian

Stephen Elmasian is the co-chair of ANC-RI. He recently retired as the fiscal manager for the RI Secretary of State.

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