Westwood, Calif. — The University of California, Los Angeles student body government on Tuesday night unanimously voted to divest $72.6 million dollars worth of University of California bonds and investments in the Republic of Turkey for their crimes in and the continued denial of the Armenian genocide.
The resolution, titled “A Resolution to Divest from the Republic of Turkey to End the Perpetuation of the Armenian Genocide”, passed with a vote of 12-0-0 around 10:00 p.m. at Kerckhoff Hall in UCLA.
The resolution is part of a larger initiative (#DivestTurkey) spearheaded by the Armenian Youth Federation — Western United States — a grassroots community organization dedicated to justice– calling on institutions to divest from the Republic of Turkey.
“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,” said Gev Iskajyan, a member of the AYF Central Executive board. “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 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.”
“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,” said Iskajyan. Campus organizations and interested individuals can contact Divestment@AYFwest.org.
Founded in 1933, the Armenian Youth Federation is the largest and most influential Armenian American youth organization in the world, working to advance the social, political, educational and cultural awareness of Armenian youth.