Today marks the 97th commemoration of the beginning of the Armenian Genocide. I am the granddaughter of survivors of the genocide and the daughter of refugees from Turkey. My family history has been a source of strength and inspiration. For me, it’s important that the past is never forgotten.
I remember standing in my high school auditorium as I watched the rows of my fellow classmates filter in one by one. The year was 1998, the topic was on genocide, and the presenter was me. I was 15, and my background on this topic was known to me from my family’s stories, books, and through this really cool thing called the Internet that I spent hours on. I was grateful and quite shocked that the teachers at my high school in Northbrook, Illinois allowed me to present a lecture on the Armenian Genocide. I recall telling everyone to remember the lessons of the past in order to prevent these crimes from repeating in the future.
Fast forward 14 years this month. Once again I stand this time in a gymnasium as students from a middle school in Northvale, New Jersey gather to hear me present about this topic. Unfortunately, 14 years later, another genocide, and more mass killings have been added our history books. Sadly, nowadays remembering these lessons of the past are not enough to prevent it from happening, but organizations have been established for the purpose of putting an end to genocide.
Educating others on the topic of genocide is a passion for me. The importance of genocide education in schools is so vital because we are investing in educating future policy makers, teachers, and leaders of our country. You can take action and be a voice for the voiceless.
Organizations like the Genocide Education Project & United to End Genocide were created to give you the tools to educate others. This month is designated for Genocide Prevention month; however, it does not need to end this month. I encourage each one of you to take action and do something.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO TAKE ACTION
1. Call your Congressman and urge co-sponsorships on various anti genocide legislation
Click on the links below to see if your member is a co-sponsor. Don’t know who your Congressman is? Go to www.anca.org, and type in your zip code in the Take Action link.
- H.Res.304, affirmation of the United States Record on the Armenian Genocide
- H.R. 4169, Sudan Peace, Security, and Accountability Act of 2012
2. Ask your teacher if you can give a presentation on genocide: If you’re interested in giving a presentation, but you need a hand, check out: http://www.teachgenocide.com/
3. Attend or organize an event: Click on the Upcoming Events page to learn about events going on in your area.
You taking action may help decide the fate of a victim suffering from these heinous crimes. Don’t add genocide to our history books. Get involved today and take action.
Karine Shnorhokian is the former director of the Armenian National Committee of America, Eastern Region, and 2009 Carl Wilkens Fellow. She has presented on the topic of Genocide to thousands of people all over the country. She has organized conferences, spoken at national events, and lobbied on Capitol Hill for genocide and human rights issues. As the granddaughter of survivors of the Armenian Genocide and as the daughter of refugees from Turkey, Karine draws strength and inspiration from her family history, and she is dedicated to ensuring that their past is never forgotten.
Currently, Shnorhokian works at a nurse at Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, New Jersey. She is married and has a beautiful 9 month old.