Armenian Genocide Billboards Welcome Delegates to Republican National Convention

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As the 2016 Republican
Convention convenes in Cleveland, Ohio next week, the Armenian Assembly of
America (Assembly) embarked on an Armenian Genocide billboard campaign
prominently displaying the statement of President Ronald Reagan affirming the
Armenian Genocide.

With
nearly 50,000 people expected at the Convention in Cleveland, the billboards
are part of the Assembly’s ongoing public awareness initiative. They serve as a
reminder about the need to affirm the truth and learn from the past so as to
prevent future genocides.

During
his first term in office, President Reagan issued a proclamation which read in
part: “Like the genocide of the Armenians before it, and the genocide of
the Cambodians which followed it – and like too many other such persecutions of
too many other peoples – the lessons of the Holocaust must never be
forgotten.”

The
first two billboards, located on I-77 northbound near Grant Avenue (close to
where the Convention will be held) and Carnegie Avenue westbound, features an
excerpt from President Ronald Reagan’s proclamation on April 22, 1981.

“The
Cleveland Armenian community, and, particularly, our parishioners, are
overjoyed with respect to the presence of both billboards,” Rev. Fr.
Hratch Sargsyan, pastor of St. Gregory of Narek Armenian Apostolic Church,
said. “The billboards are the talk of the Armenian community. Folks are
simply ecstatic.”

The
billboards’ media campaign was overseen by the Assembly’s Ohio State Chair Ara
Bagdasarian, who is also a member of the Cleveland Armenian Genocide Centennial
Committee.

“Ronald
Reagan, one of the most revered Republican leaders, is the only sitting president
to recognize the Armenian Genocide and use the term genocide. With these
billboards, we will reiterate Reagan’s statement and help ensure that the next
president – whether it be Republican or Democrat – reaffirms the Armenian
Genocide,” Bagdasarian said. “We wanted to take advantage of the
opportunity to share our message about the Armenian Genocide with the visitors
coming to Cleveland during the Republican Convention. The world’s spotlight and
media will converge here, and we have the chance to be heard.”

Donated
by Debbie Abdalian-Thompson, owner of Cleveland Outdoor Advertising, the
Assembly put up two of the billboards to commemorate the 101st anniversary of
the Armenian Genocide and to promote public awareness during the Convention. A
third billboard was added following Germany’s affirmation of the Armenian
Genocide on June 2. The most recent billboard reads: “Truth vs National
Interest” and “Thank You Germany for Recognizing the Armenian
Genocide,” designed by Peace of Art and located on I-77 southbound near
mile marker 157.

“I
would also like to give special thanks Debbie Abdalian-Thompson and Cleveland
Outdoor Advertising for her generous support,” Bagdasarian added. 

For
more information, Armenian Assembly of America’s Ohio State Chair Ara
Bagdasarian can be reached at
arabag1956@gmail.com or (440) 725-3836.

Established
in 1972, the Armenian Assembly of America is the largest Washington-based
nationwide organization promoting public understanding and awareness of Armenian
issues. The Assembly is a 501©(3) tax-exempt membership organization.

Photo
Caption 1: The Armenian Assembly of America’s billboard in Cleveland, Ohio
located on Carnegie Avenue.

Photo Caption 2: The Armenian Assembly of America’s billboard in Cleveland, Ohio on
I-77 southbound near mile marker 157.

About Armenian Assembly of America

Established in 1972, the Armenian Assembly of America is the largest Washington-based nationwide organization promoting public understanding and awareness of Armenian issues. The Assembly is a non-partisan, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt membership organization.

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