At the April 18 City Council Meeting, the City of Clovis recognized the Armenian Genocide with a day of remembrance set for April 24.
Each year there will be a city-wide remembering of the Armenian Genocide, an event that saw the killing of upwards of 1.5 million Armenian lives during World War I.
In an introduction to the proclamation, Mayor Jose Flores seceded the floor to Councilman Vong Mouanoutoua.
Mouanoutoua in reading the proclamation exclaimed, “Whereas each year on this day, we remember the lives of all those who died in the Ottoman era Armenian Genocide, and we commit ourselves to preventing such an atrocity from ever again occurring.”
He went on with the city’s proclamation, “Whereas by honoring the survivors and consistently remembering and forcibly condemning the atrocities committed against the Armenian people, as well as the persecution of the Assyrian and Greek populations of the Ottoman/Turkish Empire, we guard against repetition of the crime of genocide.”
He finished, “Now, therefore, be it proclaimed that the City of Clovis does hereby declare April 24th, 2022 as Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day.”
Mayor Flores spoke about remembering the Armenian Genocide immediately after Councilman Mouanoutoua finished the proclamation where instead of asking for an applause, members in the chambers were asked to stand and join in a moment of silence for all of those who were persecuted and murdered.
“You know, thirty short years later, we forgot, and now I think we’re forgetting again because it’s happening again,” Flores said. “There’s conflict and, evil people will do evil things and unfortunately the innocent are victims of that evil.”
Shortly after the moment of silence, Sevag Tateosian, a representative from the Armenian Community stood at the podium and introduced the Very Reverend Father Ashod Khachadourian from the Holy Trinity Armenian Church and Reverend Gregory Haroutunian from the First Presbyterian and Armenian Church to speak to the council.
The Very Reverend Father Khachadourian came to the podium first.
“This means a lot to us as Armenians and as humans,” Khachadourian said.
Khachadourian in his own proclamation to the council stated that the council’s act of recognizing the Armenian Genocide gives the Armenian community “hope in humanity and injustice once again.”
“This act of yours makes me sure of the peace that is coming towards us. We all pray for peace in the world, and nowadays especially peace for Ukraine because we are brothers and sisters in humanity,” Khachadourian said.
Reverend Gregory Haroutunian spoke to the council next and claimed that while his church was in Fresno, as a Clovis resident, this act means so much to him but more to the Armenian community.
“My grandparents survived this genocide that we have to make a proclamation about because the Turks continue to deny it,” Haroutunian said. “For those who, out of compassion and identification of Armenians recognize it, there’s a deep sense of validation within our community that we are not alone.”
Haroutunian thanked the council for their recognition and revealed that while some may see it as only being symbolic the Reverend believes it to be a “deep symbol, and symbols make a difference.”