Virginia legislators have recognized the Armenian Genocide on the state and local level. Gubernatorial proclamations as well as state and local legislation are provided below since 1990.  If you know of other documents to be added to this list – old or new – please send a note to elizabeth@anca.org. We look forward to showcasing them.

Virginia citizens also played an active role in assisting Armenian Genocide survivors through the Congressionally mandated Near East Foundation, during the years 1915 – 1930.  Learn more about their efforts below, through research prepared by the ANCA Western Region’s “America We Thank You” program.

And finally, review our snapshot of news coverage of the Armenian Genocide in Virginia press, as we spotlight three articles, prepared as part of the ANCA’s “Genocide Diary” project.  Check back to the Genocide Diary’s Virginia page for new articles added on a monthly basis.

Virginia Gubernatorial Proclamations

CERTIFICATE OF RECOGNITION
COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
April 24, 1990

By virtue of the authority vested by the Constitution in the Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, there is hereby officially recognized:

ARMENIAN MARTYRS DAY

WHEREAS, at least 1,500,000 people of Armenian ancestry were victims of Genocide perpetrated by the governments of the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1923; and

WHEREAS, at the outbreak of World War I, the Young Turks Regime decided to deport the entire Armenian population of over 2,000,000 to Syria and Mesopotamia; and

WHEREAS, these thousands of Armenians of the Christian Faith held to their beliefs and remained true to the faith of their fathers; and

WHEREAS, the Commonwealth of Virginia has long been at the forefront of efforts to insure that the victims and survivors of such Genocide are not forgotten;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Lawrence Douglas Wilder, Governor, do hereby recognize April 24, 1990 as ARMENIAN MARTYRS DAY and call its significance to the attention of all our citizens.

(SIGNED)
Lawrence Douglas Wilder Governor

April 24, 1996
CERTIFICATE of RECOGNITION

By virtue of the authority vested by the Constitution in the Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, there is hereby officially recognized:

ARMENIAN MARTYRS DAY

WHEREAS, the viscous killing of more than one and 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Turks and the forced deportation of countless others has been remembered every year since 1959 on April 24 as Armenian Martyrs Day; and

WHEREAS, in horror, 81 years ago Armenians were forced to witness the slaughter of their relatives and the loss of their ancestral homeland; and

WHEREAS, the Armenian people have not received reparation for their losses;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, George Allen, Governor, hereby recognize April 24, 1996, the 81st Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, as ARMENIAN MARTYRS DAY, in the COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.

[SIGNED]
George Allen Governor

[SIGNED]
Betsy Davis Beamer
Secretary of the Commonwealth

CERTIFICATE of RECOGNITION

By virtue of the authority vested by the Constitution in the Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, there is hereby officially recognized:

ARMENIAN MARTYRS DAY

WHEREAS, it is important for us to commemorate the over two million Armenians who perished at the hands of the Ottoman Turks in 1915 and those who survived the senseless tragedy; and

WHEREAS, many Armenians were forced to watch as their families were slaughtered and their ancestral homeland was taken from them; and

WHEREAS, many citizens of our great Commonwealth are Armenians who found refuge in a country and a Commonwealth based on freedom;

WHEREAS, Armenian-Americans are active participants in the growth of Virginia through their contributions in research, education, medicine, law, business, arts, sports and community service;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, James S. Gilmore, III, do hereby recognize the April 24, 1998 as ARMENIAN MARTYRS DAY in the COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.

[Signed]
James S. Gilmore, III
Governor of the Commonwealth
Anne Petera
Secretary of the Commonwealth

CERTIFICATE of  RECOGNITION

By virtue of the authority vested by the Constitution in the Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, there is hereby officially recognized:

ARMENIAN  MARTYRS DAY

WHEREAS, more than one and one-half million Armenians were exterminated by the Ottoman Turks and others were deported from their homeland between  1915 and 1923; and

WHEREAS, eighty-four years ago, Armenians were forced to witness the slaughter of their relatives and the destruction of their homes;   and

WHEREAS, many citizens of our great Commonwealth and nation are Armenians who found refuge in the liberty extolled in American documents and on the lips of her citizens;  and

WHEREAS, more than 1,500 Armenian families live and work in our great Commonwealth; and

WHEREAS, citizens of Armenian decent actively contribute to the culture and vitality of Virginia through research, education, medicine, law, business, arts, sports and community service;  and

NOW, THEREFORE, I, James S. Gilmore, III, do hereby  recognize  April 24,  1999 as ARMENIAN  MARTYRS  DAY  in the  COMMONWEALTH  OF

VIRGINIA,  and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens .

Certificate of Recognition
April 24, 2002

By virtue of the authority vested by the Constitution in the Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, there is hereby officially recognized:

Armenian Martyrs Day

WHEREAS, at least 1,500,000 people of Armenian ancestry were victims of Genocide perpetrated by the governments of the Ottoman Empire from 1915-1923; and

WHEREAS, at the outbreak of World War I, the Young Turks Regime decided to deport the entire Armenian population of over 2,000,000 to Syria and Mesopotamia; and

WHEREAS, these thousands of Armenians of the Christian Faith held to their beliefs and remained true to the faith of their fathers; and

WHEREAS, the Commonwealth of Virginia has long been at the forefront of efforts to insure that the victims and survivors of such Genocide are not forgotten;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Lawrence Douglas Wilder, Governor, do hereby recognize April 24, 1990 as ARMENIAN MARTYRS DAY and call its significance to the attention of all our citizens

(signed)
Lawrence Douglas Wilder Governor

Virginia House

1995 SESSION
ENROLLED
HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 477

Commemorating the First Genocide of the 20th   Century.

Agreed to by the House of Delegates, January 20, 1995 Agreed to by the Senate, January 26, 1995

WHEREAS, 1995 marks the 80th anniversary of the First Genocide of the 20th Century, the extermination of nearly two million Armenians by the Ottoman Turks in 1915; and

WHEREAS, the continued refusal of the Turkish government  to  acknowledge  the  Armenian  Genocide deprives the Armenian people of the right to their own history, access to their ancestral lands,    and preservation of their cultural and religious monuments and churches; and

WHEREAS, many citizens of Virginia remember parents, grandparents, and other relatives  who  suffered and died during the 1915 Armenian Genocide;    and

WHEREAS, commemorating this terrible event serves the dual purpose of  honoring  those  who  suffered and died 80 years ago and reaffirming for Armenians their culture, their history,  and  their  religious beliefs; now, therefore, be   it

RESOLVED by the House of Delegates, the Senate concurring, That the General Assembly hereby commemorate on April 24, 1995, the 80th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide of 1915; and, be it

RESOLVED FURTHER, That the General Assembly urge the citizens of Virginia to join with the Armenian-American community in commemorating this solemn occasion with appropriate activities and observances.

COMMONWEALTH  OF VIRGINIA GENERAL  ASSEMBLY
HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO . 298

Designating April 24, 2000, as Virginia  Day of  Remembrance of  the  Armenian  Genocide  of 1915-1923.

Agreed to by the House of Delegates, February 9, 2000 Agreed to by the Senate,  March 8, 2000

WHEREAS, one and one-half million men, women, and children of Armenian descent were victims of the brutal genocide perpetrated by the Turkish Ottoman Empire from  1915 to  1923; and

WHEREAS, the Armenian genocide and massacres of the Armenian people have been recognized a  an attempt to eliminate all traces of a thriving and noble civilization more than 3,000 years old; and

WHEREAS, to this day, revisionists still inexplicably deny the existence of these horrific events; and

WHEREAS, modern Turkey continues to deny and distort the facts of the genocide and honors the perpetrators of that crime against humanity as national heroes;   and

WHEREAS, before the implementation of the Jewish holocaust, in order to encourage his followers, Adolf Hitler asked, “Who remembers the Armenians?”; and

WHEREAS, by consistently remembering and openly condemning the atrocities committed against the Armenians, Virginians are highly sensitive to the need for constant vigilance to prevent similar atrocities in the future;  and

WHEREAS, the Armenian people have not received reparations for their losses; and

WHEREAS, recognition of the 85th anniversary of this genocide is crucial to ensuring against future genocide by educating people about past horrors;  and

WHEREAS, Armenia is now a free and independent republic, having embraced democracy following nearly 70 years of oppressive Soviet domination; and

WHEREAS, Armenian Americans living in Virginia have greatly enriched the Commonwealth through their leadership  in business, agriculture, academia, government, and the arts; now, therefore, be  it

RESOLVED by the House of Delegates, the Senate concurring, That the General Assembly designate April 24, 2000, as Virginia Day of Remembrance of the Armenian Genocide of  1915-1923; and, be it

RESOLVED  FURTHER, That the Clerk of the House of Delegates transmit copies of this resolution  to the Governor  of Virginia, the members of the Virginia Congressional Delegation, and the Armenian National Committee of Virginia for appropriate   distribution .

House Patrons: Cantor and  Katzen
Clerk of the House of  Delegates

Virginia Municipal

Richmond Armenian Remembrance Day
In Commemoration of the l00th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide
April 24, 1915 – April 24, 2015

Whereas, The Honorable Members of Richmond City Council, the governing body of Richmond, Virginia, in the United States of America, do hereby unite in solidarity and common purpose to officially recognize, honor and celebrate all Richmond Residents of Armenian  heritage; and

Whereas, Located in the beautifully picturesque and mountainous South Caucuses region of Eurasia in the north of Western Asia, the Republic of Armenia is a country with a long important history and a proud resilient people; and

Whereas, April 24, 1915 is recognized as the date that marked the beginning of the Armenian Genocide, which included the mass slaughter of more than one and one-half million Armenians by the Ottoman Empire government and the forced deportation of countless others; and

Whereas, April 24, 2015 is the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide and serves as a tragic  reminder  of this  horrific  event; and

Whereas, Richmond is proud to include many residents of Armenian descent who are an important part of our business, faith and cultural communities;

Now Therefore, The Honorable Members of Richmond City Council, do hereby unite in solidarity and common purpose to officially pronounce and proclaim the day of April 24 as Richmond Armenian Remembrance Day in commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide and bring this to the attention of all Richmond Residents.

In Witness Whereof, we have hereunto given under our hands and presented this thirteenth day of April, two thousand fifteen. of the Common Ero, in the two hundred thirty-first year of the City of Richmond, in the two hundred thirty-ninth year of the Commonwealth of Virginia and United States of America.

Pennsylvania’s Support for Survivors of the Armenian Genocide

Pennsylvania was a staunch supporter of Near East Relief (NER), the American-led campaign that quickly sparked an international response with its unprecedented humanitarian endeavor, mobilizing all segments of American citizenry including elected officials, celebrities and laypersons alike, to help rescue victims of the Armenian Genocide in Ottoman Turkey from 1915-1930.

Pennsylvania’s NER activities were facilitated through its NER state headquarters located at N. E. Cor. Broad & Locust Streets in Philadelphia. An additional local office for Pittsburgh’s efforts was designated in the city’s Renshaw Building.

29,176 Armenian orphans were rescued and rehabilitated through the generous sponsorship of Pennsylvania’s citizens. The state’s churches, Sunday schools, women’s leagues, fraternal organizations as well as pupils of its public and private schools all contributed to this magnanimous effort of supporting Armenian children orphaned as a result of the Armenian Genocide.

Read the complete fact sheet prepared by America We Thank You.

The Armenian Genocide in Virginia Press