SACRAMENTO, CA – On October 3, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law AB 1320, the Divestment from Turkish Bonds Act, reported the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly).
“California stands on the side of justice and remembers the 1.5 million souls lost during the Armenian Genocide,” stated Governor Newsom. “Today and every day, let us recommit ourselves to making certain that we never forget and that we always speak out against hatred and atrocities anywhere they occur. I am proud to stand with friends and sign AB 1320 into law.”
California State Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian (D-46) authored the bill and spearheaded it to near unanimous passage in both chambers of the California State Legislature despite heavy opposition from California’s public employee retirement systems – CalPERS and CalSTRS – which have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in Turkish government-controlled and issued debt securities and bonds.
“California, the 5th largest economy in the world, just told Turkey to end its deceitful campaign of genocide denial,” stated Assemblymember Nazarian. “I want to thank my colleagues, Governor Newsom, and all those who have fought with me on this long path to recognizing the 1.5 million Armenian souls lost to genocide.”
“I especially wish to thank the Armenian Assembly of America, the Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region, the Armenian Youth Federation, and Armenian Student Associations throughout the University of California and California State University systems, and all of the other college campuses for helping advocate for AB 1320,” added Assemblymember Nazarian.
Mihran Toumajan, Armenian Assembly Western Region Director, and Helen Haig, Armenian Assembly Southern California Regional Council (SCRC) member and senior policy advisor to the late California Governor George Deukmejian, joined Assemblymember Nazarian on several occasions over the past two years in Sacramento to testify before California State Assembly and State Senate standing committees on the moral and economic merits of AB 1320. Helen Haig proudly witnessed the Governor’s signing ceremony in Sacramento.
“Today is a memorable day for Armenian Americans in California. I am pleased to join thousands of Armenian Americans and supporters of human rights, and to extend the Armenian Assembly of America’s gratitude to State Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian for authoring and shepherding AB 1320, to California Governor Gavin Newsom for having the courage and moral fortitude in signing the bill into law, to the bill’s co-authors and bipartisan supporters in the California State Legislature, and to the activists and organizations who fought hard to educate lawmakers and ensure the passage of this bill despite heavy opposition from the Consulate General of Turkey in Los Angeles, as well as from special interests groups,” stated Assembly SCRC member Helen Haig.
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.