The Assyrian Policy Institute welcomes the introduction of House Resolution 126 in the California State Assembly by Assembly Members Heath Flora (District 12) and Adrin Nazarian (District 46) on August 8, 2022. HR 126 recognizes the Assyrian Genocide and the Simele Massacre.
As noted in the bill, "California has been home to one of the largest Assyrian American populations in the United States for well over a century." Beginning in the late nineteenth century, Assyrians seeking refuge from genocide and persecution resettled in California. The districts represented by Flora and Nazarian are indeed home to significant communities of Assyrian-Americans, and include Stanislaus County and San Fernando Valley, respectively.
In a statement commemorating Assyrian Remembrance Day, observed annually by Assyrians on August 7th, Nazarian wrote: "As I work in the legislature to ensure we remember the devastation, loss and ongoing impacts to all communities impacted by genocide, my heart is with the members of the Assyrian community. Together, we will continue to honor those who have been lost by working to educate and eliminate genocide for future generations."
A previous legislative measure recognizing these crimes which was also led by Flora, HR 62 (2019-2020 Regular Session), passed in 2019.
"Recognition of genocide and other mass atrocities committed against the Assyrian people has been a high priority for our team at the Assyrian Policy Institute at both the federal and state levels," said Jamie Bahoura, API Director of Advocacy. "Sadly, genocide and persecution are in large part the reason that there are such sizable populations of Assyrian-Americans in the State of California—from San Jose and Turlock to Los Angeles and San Diego. Recognition of these crimes is deeply meaningful to members of our community, because it serves as an acknowledgement of these collective experiences and their lasting consequences."
"We are grateful for the principled leadership of Assembly Members Flora and Nazarian on this issue, as their efforts have furthered awareness and understanding to the events that in many ways shape what it means to be Assyrian," she said."
HR 126 amplifies the voices of Assyrian-American advocates and organizers nationwide who have long called for formal U.S. recognition of the Assyrian Genocide and other atrocities committed against the Assyrian people. The API is committed to coordinating with other community organizations and stakeholders to advocate for the passage of HR 126. Click here to see the bill text.