A proposal to memorialize victims of the Armenian Genocide with a monument in Pasadena received unanimous approval from Pasadena City Council members on Monday, a decision cheered by Armenian American leaders in Glendale who have joined the effort to see it built.
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.
Garo Ghazarian, chair of the Armenian Bar Assoc. 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 at Pasadena City Hall.
The monument's design will include a three-column tripod from which drops of water will fall into a carved stone basin. Some 1.5 million of these symbolic teardrops will fall each year, representing the estimated number of lives lost during the genocide.
The campaign in Pasadena has also rekindled talks of erecting a genocide monument in Glendale, a conversation that began more than a decade ago.
"Building a genocide memorial in Pasadena is setting an example for what should be done in Glendale," said David Gevorkyan, a member of the Pasadena memorial committee's board who also serves on Glendale's city Audit Committee.
Dan Bell, Glendale's liaison to a community group that plans the annual city-sponsored genocide memorial ceremony in the city, said members are seeking to revive a dormant nonprofit board previously in charge of plans for a Glendale monument.
More than 1,000 people signed a petition in favor of the Pasadena monument and Glendale City Councilman Zareh Sinanyan attended Monday's Pasadena council meeting to voice his support.
Ghazarian, who co-chairs a committee planning Armenian Genocide commemoration events throughout the western United States, said Glendale should consider a museum or permanent library exhibit focused on the tragedy.
"Something significant needs to be done in Glendale," he said.
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