On March 11 Rep. Jim Costa made a statement commemorating the Sumgait Pogroms, reports the Armenian National Committee of America.
“Today I rise as I do every year in recognition of the anniversary of the pogroms against the people of Armenian descent in Sumgait , Azerbaijan. On February 27, 1988, anti-Armenian forces began killing Armenians and driving them from their homes. Scores of Armenians were killed, hundreds were wounded, and thousands were left as refugees without their homes or livelihoods. The violence went on for three days as Armenian women and girls were viciously raped.
Days before this massacre, the Armenians of Nagorno Karabakh began peacefully protesting against the Soviet Azerbaijani oppression and discrimination. From this peaceful protest and the fires of the pogroms arose the spark that started the democracy movement that ultimately brought down the Soviet Empire.
Sadly, anti-Armenian rhetoric and cross-border attacks continue at the hands of the Azerbaijani government. Azerbaijan has consistently obstructed the peace process, walked away from its own agreements, and continued to threaten war. This is unacceptable, and the violence and harmful words must come to an end.
Today, I ask my colleagues to stand with me in remembrance of the Sumgait pogroms, in support of a true and lasting peace in the region, and in recognition of the contributions of Armenian Americans to the San JoaquinValley I call home and the entire Nation.”