Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed into law HB4493 mandating the teaching of the Armenian Genocide and Holocaust (as well as other genocides) in Michigan public schools. This new law recommends a total of six hours devoted to the teaching of genocides at some point within grades 8-12.
Both the Armenian and Jewish communities of southeastern Michigan combined grassroots efforts to advance this bill.
The official signing of this law took place at the Holocaust Memorial Center located in Farmington Hills, Michigan. Several members were present from the Armenian National Committee of Michigan that were instrumental included Lara Nercessian (ANC of MI, Chair), Raffi Ourlian, Ara Topouzian, Hayg Oshagan, Helena Bardakjian, Shant Jamgotchian, Toros Chopjian, Ani Attar and Hovig Kouyoumdjian.
The ANC of Michigan worked alongside with the Armenian Genocide Education Committee, led by Edward Haroutunian. Other committee members included Gregory Dildilian, and Father Hrant Kevorkian and Father Shant Barsoumian.
“This is an extremely important day for our ancestors. After over a hundred years, the children in Michigan will learn about all forms of Genocide, especially the Armenian Genocide and Jewish Holocaust. They say history can repeat itself if we do not learn from it, hopefully the children of the future will learn and understand so as never to see such violent crimes against humankind again,” said Lara Nercessian, Chairperson of the Armenian National Committee of Michigan.
HB4493 is co-sponsored the legislation sponsored by Rep. Klint Kesto (Mich.-39). Kesto is a long-time friend of the Armenian National Committee of Michigan (ANC of MI), where in April 2015, he cosponsored the House Resolution (HR-61) commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.
“It has been an honor to work with the Jewish and Armenian communities as we advanced this legislation. in a time when Genocide is occurring now in the Middle East, we must make every effort to ensure our youth are taught the history of genocide so they may understand the world around them now, and have the skills to prevent future genocides,” said Rep. Klint Kesto.
Gov. Snyder will appoint a 15-member genocide education panel, which is also required by this new law.