Rep. Klint Kesto: ‘We Must Make Every Effort to Ensure our Youth Are Taught the History of Genocide’
FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich.—On June 27, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed into law HB4493 mandating the teaching of the Armenian Genocide, the Holocaust, as well as other genocides in Michigan public schools. This new law recommends a total of 6 hours devoted to the teaching of genocides at some point within Grades 8-12.
Both the Armenian and Jewish community of southeastern Michigan combined grassroots efforts to advance the bill.
The official signing of this law took place at the Holocaust Memorial Center in Farmington Hills. Several members were present from the Armenian National Committee (ANC) of Michigan that were instrumental, including Lara Nercessian (chair), Raffi Ourlian, Ara Topouzian, Hayg Oshagan, Helena Bardakjian, Shant Jamgotchian, Toros Chopjian, Ani Attar, and Hovig Kouyoumdjian.
The ANC of Michigan worked alongside the Armenian Genocide Education Committee, led by Edward Haroutunian. Other committee members included Gregory Dildilian, 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, such as 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 Nercessian.
HB4493 is co-sponsored by Rep. Klint Kesto (Mich.-39), a long-time friend of the ANC of Michigan. In April 2015, he co-sponsored the House resolution (HR-61) commemorating the Centennial 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, and have the skills to prevent future genocides,” said Kesto.
Governor Snyder will appoint a 15-member genocide education panel, which is also required by this new law.
Source: Armenian Weekly Mid-West