Councilman Andrews Hopes to Recognize April as Genocide Awareness Month

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2012 Martin Luther King, Jr. Peace Maker Awardees

Councilman Dee Andrews

Sixth District Councilman Dee Andrews is bringing forth an agenda item for the Long Beach City Council to Recognize April as Genocide Awareness Month, at the April 17th City Council meeting, located at City Hall, 333 West Ocean Blvd, Lobby Level, Long Beach.

The month of April reflects the power of awareness of the number of genocides that has historically occurred during this month, which includes the Cambodian Genocide, known as the Killing Fields, which affected thousands of Long Beach Cambodian community residents. “Many lives and family members have been lost due to these atrocities. As we raise awareness to these horrific crimes let us give hope that something can be done to prevent genocide from occurring again”, said Councilman Dee Andrews.

Killing Fields Memorial Center Inc. has been instrumental in assisting Councilman Andrews with this item. The organization represents many of the Killing Fields survivors and has been organizing to bring the commemoration of April 17th Killing Fields Memorial Day to Long Beach since 2005. “We are honored that the City of Long Beach and Councilman Andrews are considering this recognition. As a community, we are forever scarred by the senseless killings of the Khmer Rouge Communist regime, yet we are deeply thankful for the warm welcome and home we have found in the City of Long Beach has afforded us”, said Paline Soth, president of the Killing Fields Memorial Center Inc.

Out of the million survivors, local advocate, Nancy Lee is thankful that she overcame the time she spent in the Cambodian Genocide. “It was an unconceivable time for me. When I share my story of near starvation and lives taken in front of me, people go in shock from the lack of honor to the human race. I am so grateful that I made it out of the fields but I will always remember where I came from”, commented Mrs. Lee.

The past genocide events from the month of April include:

  • The Armenian Genocide, April 24, 1915, known as the Armenian Holocaust was the systematic killing of the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire during and just after World War I. The total number of resulting Armenian deaths is believed to have been between 1 million and 1.5 million.
  • The Holocaust in April 1933, the Nazis issued a decree paving the way for the “final solution,” the annihilation of 6 million Jews of Europe and millions of others that were deemed non-Arian such as Russians, homosexuals, and Catholics.
  • The Cambodian Genocide, April 17, 1975, the Cambodian Communists or Khmer Rouge started its four year reign of terror and indiscriminate executions that ended at the Killing Fields. The total loss reaching over two million people.
  • Bosnian Genocide started in April 5, 1992, Serbia set out to “ethnically cleanse” Bosnian territory by systematically removing all Bosnian Muslims. The ethnic cleansing campaign killed more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslims as well as the mass expulsion of another 25,000–30,000 Bosnian.
  • The Rwandan Genocide, April 6, 1994 was the mass murder of an estimated 800,000 people in the small East African nation of Rwanda. Over the course of approximately 100 days over 500,000 people were killed, according to a Human Rights Watch. Estimates of the death toll have ranged between 500,000 and 1,000,000, or as much as 20% of the country’s total population.
  • Genocide in Sudan, April 2003, innocent civilians in Sudan’s Darfur region were attacked, thus started a killing spree of over 400,000 people and 2.5 million have been displaced in a genocide that continues today.

For more information, please call the office of Councilman Dee Andrews, at (562) 570-6816.

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