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Commentary: We must always remember

Over the last few years, we have become all too familiar with the alarming uptick in hate-based acts that have devastated communities throughout the world, including our own. In the following mornings, days and weeks after another attack, vandalism or other destructive expression of hatred, we are left to find our place in it. We struggle to understand and are often at a loss of what to tell our children. In light of these acts, communities have no choice but to decide how to respond. Fortunately for us, we do not have to look much further for a model example than our own community of Burbank.

Whether it is with the annual Days of Remembrance, the Interfaith Forum, or the vigils held for the recent acts of terrorism by white nationalists, Burbank has built a legacy of bringing the community together as one united force to understand and rebuke hate. Burbank has become a regional leader in educating the community, especially children, about the importance of understanding hatred and prejudice in order to promote universality and togetherness.

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I value this mission and legacy, which is why I am proud to join my friends at the Armenian National Committee Burbank Chapter in supporting Resolution 23, put forth by Burbank Unified School District Vice President Dr. Armond Aghakanian, proclaiming April 24, 2019, as the official Day of Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1923.

As it has been said, we are doomed to repeat history if we fail to learn it. Knowledge and understanding of the Armenian Genocide is important, not just for the members of our community that it continues to affect but for all people who call our community home. A crime against one is a crime against all. It is in that same spirit that Burbank schools include the Holocaust in their curriculum. Ensuring that our children are aware and educated of the atrocities committed against the ancestors of their peers is an inseparable part of teaching true compassion, strength and hope while warning about the grave dangers of bigotry and hatred.

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Hate spreads like a plague. Even just one act, however small, can inflame a vicious cycle that continues to divide people by creating artificial barriers, sowing mistrust and intolerance. The only solution, as Burbank has exemplified, is to take every opportunity that presents itself to spread the truth and foster understanding. The antidote to intolerance is empathy, to ignorance is understanding, and to hate is love. I hope the board of education members will agree with me that Resolution 23 is the rightful next step in expanding upon the stellar work of our community by supporting this measure.

Assemblywoman Laura Friedman (D-Glendale) represents Burbank, Glendale, La Cañada Flintridge, La Crescenta, Montrose and neighboring communities in the the 43rd Assembly District.

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