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Pasadena City Council approves Armenian genocide monument

Hate CrimesUnrest, Conflicts and WarGenocideHuman InterestTurkey

The Pasadena City Council has given unanimous approval for a public memorial commemorating the Armenian genocide of 1915 in Memorial Park.

The central feature of the design -- a carved-stone basin of water straddled by a tripod arrangement of three columns leaning into one another -- is a single drop of water that falls from the highest point every three seconds, each "teardrop" representing one life lost.

Over the course of one year, 1.5 million “tears” will fall into the pool, representing the estimated number of people who died during the Armenian genocide of 1915 to 1918, which occurred under the Ottoman Empire, what is now the modern republic of Turkey.

The Turkish government disputes that a genocide occurred, claiming the victims were killed in the chaos of World War I.

Organizers of the nonprofit Pasadena Armenian Genocide Memorial Committee are raising funds to erect the monument at Memorial Park in central Pasadena before the centennial observance of the genocide on April 24, 2015, the Glendale News-Press reported.

Garo Ghazarian, chair of the Armenian Bar Assn. and a member of the Glendale Civil Service Commission, said Pasadena is a fitting home for the tribute because the city was the first in Southern California to embrace Armenian American immigrants before and after the genocide.

That a city council without Armenian American members united behind the proposal is “all the more reason to be encouraged that there is hope for greater understanding and acceptance of what history has documented so well,” said Ghazarian, who was among more than 150 supporters who attended the meeting Monday night at Pasadena City Hall.

More than 1,000 people signed a petition in favor of the Pasadena monument, which was designed by Catherine Menard, a student at the Art Center College of Design.

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joe.piasecki@latimes.com

Twitter: @JoePiasecki

Joe Piasecki is a Times Community News staff writer.

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