Looking back, moving forward
Group reviews designs for Armenian Genocide memorial at Pasadena park
Over the objections of Turkish dignitaries, the Pasadena Armenian Genocide Memorial Committee (PASAGMC) is moving forward with plans to place a monument honoring the victims of the Armenian Genocide in Memorial Park.
On Dec. 1, committee members received 17 design proposals for the memorial, including six from students at Pasadena’s Art Center College of Design, according to member Chris Chahinian. The memorial would be financed with private funds, he said.
“We are excited. The process is not done yet, but in a few months we will have a final selection,” Chahinian said.
Between 1915 and 1923, nearly 1.5 million Armenians were slain in what was then part of the former Ottoman Empire. Turkish officials have long denied the event occurred. Despite the denials, 40 states — including California — have formally recognized the Armenian Genocide.
Last August, a contingent from the Turkish consul in Los Angeles visited Pasadena and called the proposed memorial offensive, a remark that drew the ire of Pasadena’s Armenian community.
The PASAGMC has put together a three-person judging panel to review the designs. After that, judges will forward their recommendations to committee members, who will then make the final decision.
If the monument were to be placed in Memorial Park, located at the corner of Raymond Avenue and Walnut Street in Old Pasadena, it would be the first non-war-related memorial on the grounds, currently home to other memorials dedicated to Americans who lost their lives in the country’s major wars.
According to City Manager Michael Beck, the group originally wanted to place the memorial in Victory Park, located in East Pasadena, an area of the city that has a large enclave of Armenian-American residents. However, city staff members believe Memorial Park would be more appropriate, Beck said.
“A number of community groups have been proposing Genocide memorials,” said Beck. “Originally, there was talk about placing it in Victory Park, but the talks have ended up focusing on Memorial Park.”