GHC deserves April 24 off to remember Armenian Genocide

Photo courtesy of Edgar Torabyan, via Unsplash

By Reeva Askar

The Armenian Genocide, one of the darkest chapters in history, occurred on April 24, 1915, when the Ottoman empire (modern-day Turkey) systematically campaigned to exterminate the Armenain population. The genocide began with the arrest of Armenian intellectuals and community leaders in Istanbul. The Ottoman authorities first worked to eliminate Armenian leadership. However, their plan escalated when in a matter of months, they deported or massacred an estimated 1.5 million Armenians from within Ottoman borders. Many Armenians were sent on death marches through the Syrian desert.

The remembrance of this horrific event continues to be an extremely painful time for Armenians worldwide. They are faced with the daunting task of honoring their ancestors’ suffering while also seeking justice and recognition of the Armenian Genocide. 

More than a century later, Armenia has displayed immense resilience in the face of its struggles and historical conflicts. It has emerged as an independent and strong nation. Many, including the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and Glendale Unified School District (GUSD) receive April 24 off as a day to recognize both the tragedy and resilience of the Armenian people. LAUSD adopted a policy in 2020 to give the day off, while GUSD has given the day off since 2014.

Granada Hills Charter (GHC) has a significant Armenian population of students. Similar to LAUSD, GHC students and staff should have the opportunity to observe the day of remembrance for the Amerenian Genocide by taking the day off. It is only fitting that GHCfollow suit, like LAUSD, and acknowledge the significance of this historical event that is important to so many of its students.

“I think we should have a day off on April 24 because it is a very important day to remember and protest for the people we have lost,” sophomore Diana Davtyan said.

Many Armenians protest in order to express their grievances and advocate for historical truth, as well as promoting justice for the victims of the Armenian Genocide.

Although it is essential for GHC to fulfill the required number of in-school hours and days to complete an academic year, it is equally important to honor the significance of this event. Although adjustments may be necessary, it is important to provide students time to commemorate the people lost during the Armenian Genocide. With a day off, students could participate in remembrance activities or a day of silence without having to be absent or struggle in school.

Our community must recognize the Armenian Genocide and educate our students about these atrocities to prevent more inhumane events like this from occurring. It is our duty, whether Armenian or not, to stand with our Armenian population and understand the importance of this historical tragedy. By granting GHC students and staff a day off, the school would send a powerful message of empathy and respect.