The resolution is part of a larger initiative (#DivestTurkey) spearheaded by the Armenian Youth Federation Western United States (AYF)– a grassroots community organization dedicated to justice– calling on institutions to divest from the Republic of Turkey.
AYF Central Executive Board member Gev Iskajyan stated, “the #DivestTurkey initiative began in order to connect and provide resources for university students and activists on campuses across America to divest all holdings in the Republic of Turkey’s government until reparations for the Armenian genocide are met and until genocide is no longer a profitable venture. The Armenian Students’ Association at UCLA was the first organization to accept this call for divestment from the community and successfully presented this resolution.”
The resolution passed with overwhelming support from the UCLA’s general student body and official UCLA student organizations.
“Tonight demonstrates the Armenian community is not alone in its fight for justice and reparations for genocide,” explained Razmig Sarkissian, an AYF member and UCLA alumnus.
Student organization co-sponsors included Armenian Dance Group, Alpha Epsilon Omega, Alpha Gamma Alpha, Armenians for Health Advancement, Hidden Road Initiative, and Samahang Pilipino. Student organization endorsers included Bengali Students Association, Indus, Jewish Voice for Peace, Native Roots, Samahang Pilipino, Sikh Student Association, and Students for Justice in Palestine.
“[#DivestTurkey] is about reaffirming student agency because students were not consulted in the decision to invest in the Turkish government,” said Mikael Matossian president of the Armenian Students’ Association at UCLA. “This is a proactive step in the ethical direction, of an Armenian student-led coalition calling on our student government to take a stand against funding genocidal regimes,” continued Matossian.
“The AYF plans to expand the #DivestTurkey initiative, working with several colleges and universities in order to introduce similar resolutions in the coming weeks and months,” confirmed Iskajyan.
Armenian National Committee of America - Western Region (ANCA-WR) Chairman Nora Hovsepian praised the UCLA student body for their bold decision against Turkey's genocide denial. "The tide is turning," stated Hovsepian. Turkey’s denial of the Armenian Genocide is collapsing. This vote at UCLA is just the latest example of the free fall of Turkey’s genocide denial campaign. Like the demise of the tobacco lobby’s effort to deny the tie between cigarettes and cancer, Turkey’s denial of the Armenian Genocide is falling apart in front of our own eyes."
Campus organizations and interested individuals can contact Divestment@AYFwest.org.