LANSING, Mich. —Michigan’s House of Representatives has passed legislation that declares April 24 as a Day of Remembrance for the Armenian Genocide from 1915 to 1923. During that time, Armenians, as well as Greeks, Assyrian-Chaldeans, Syriacs, Arameans, Maronites and other Christians were subject to torture, starvation, mass murder and exile from their homeland at the hands of the Ottoman Empire. More than 1.5 million people lost their lives.
“Today is a day of mourning and remembrance, but also of celebration. We remember the lives lost in the Genocide, including members of my own family; but we also celebrate the resilience of Armenians throughout the world, especially those who settled in Michigan more than 100 years ago,” said sponsor State Rep. Mari Manoogian (D-Birmingham). “Armenian-Americans have contributed to our communities through the arts, business, education, law and public service. I am grateful to my colleagues in the legislature for supporting the resolution to honor the lives lost in the Genocide.”
As a result of the Genocide, many Armenian refugees fled to the United States; today, Michigan is home to an Armenian-American population of more than 16,000. Michigan Armenian churches and community organizations have organized numerous charity and community drives across the state, providing scholarships for students and serving refugee communities in a variety of ways.
Prior to the legislative session, a luncheon was held by the Armenian National Committee of Michigan at Central United Methodist Church in Lansing. The House invocation was given by Father Hrant Kevorkian of St. Sarkis Armenian Apostolic Church in Dearborn. In solidarity, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer joined Rep. Manoogian for a service at St. Sarkis that evening.