Honoring the Armenian Genocide through Poetry

Posted by Mary Hendra on April 24, 2020

April 24th is annually honored as a day of recognition for the Armenian genocide - the date on which Armenian leaders, writers, and intellectuals were taken from their homes in a meticulously organized beginning to what would become the genocide itself.

In our resource book, Crimes Against Humanity and Civilization: the Genocide of the Armenians, we include several poems written by Diana Der-Hovanessian, which explore the diasporan identity that resulted - the pull of belonging to both Armenia and the United States and the legacy of the genocide on her own identity.  "Two Voices" is one of those poems and includes this series of questions:

...do I think of my grandmother
at Ellis Island,

or as an orphan in an Armenian village?

Or at a black stove in Worcester...

This year, we honor the commemoration by sharing student poetry written in response to Diana's poem which highlights the connections students made to that pull of multiple identities.  These come to us from Sasha Guzman at Social Justice Humanitas Academy. In respect for student identities, we present both without the author names.

We hope this reminder to find common experiences in the human condition can both build compassion and curiosity in honoring and learning about the histories of others.

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Topics: Armenian Genocide, Student Work

Recognizing a Commitment to Genocide Education

Posted by Armen Menechyan on June 17, 2015

June is undoubtedly a bittersweet month in the teaching world. Days are filled with grading, goodbyes, potential planning for the year ahead, but mainly putting those final touches on what was a rewarding and meaningful teaching year. However, it can also be a time for awards and recognition as it was this June for one group of teachers.

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Topics: Armenian Genocide, Teaching, Los Angeles, workshop

Courage

Posted by Mary Hendra on January 19, 2015

I've been thinking about courage recently.

There is so much going on in the world that is challenging, disheartening, and complex. Sometimes we think of courage in big acts:

  • Gandhi or Martin Luther King, Jr. leading enormous, history-changing non-violent movements
  • the heroism of a firefighter entering a burning building
  • the choice to go in to the heart of a conflict, bringing the stories of others to the world through reporting or physically saving others' lives

I think that courage also comes on a daily and individual level just in making the commitment to stay engaged with the world, to learn about difficult moments and to be willing to question what we have grown up believing, assuming, or simply not knowing.

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Topics: Choosing to Participate, Armenian Genocide, Critical Thinking, workshop, Judgement and Legacy

Why remember the Armenian genocide?

Posted by Mary Hendra on June 27, 2014

We were honored to have Dr. Richard Hovannisian join us at our seminar on Armenian Genocide and International Justice this week.

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Topics: Armenian Genocide

It's Seminar Season!

Posted by Mary Hendra on June 4, 2014

I love teaching.

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Topics: Armenian Genocide, Holocaust and Human Behavior, Critical Thinking, workshop, Race and Membership in American History: Eugenics

What Do We Do With a Difficult Past?

Posted by Mary Hendra on April 23, 2014

History shapes our identity. Our own history - of course. But, "our own history" is also the history of our family, our ethnic heritage, our country, and perhaps also our world. One of the histories I came to know as a Facing History teacher, and have come to love teaching as a staff member for Facing History, is that of the Armenian genocide. This incredibly difficult history has so many lessons for us today, and lingering legacies with which we must continue to grapple.

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Topics: Armenian Genocide

8 People who Perplex Me

Posted by Mary Hendra on March 26, 2014

What is "perplexity"? and what is its role in education?

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Topics: Civil Rights Movement, Armenian Genocide, Holocaust and Human Behavior, Critical Thinking, Race and Membership in American History: Eugenics, Religion

Memorial to All Victims of Crimes Against Humanity

Posted by Mary Hendra on April 3, 2013

Fifty years after the genocide of the Armenians, a memorial was established in our very own Southern California. I'd seen the sign off the 60 freeway many a time, and talked about it with fellow teachers in the context of our work on memory and memorials. But, many of us even in the LA Facing History office had not actually been to see it before. We decided to have an office field trip earlier this year!

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Topics: Armenian Genocide, Los Angeles

Understanding the Armenian Genocide from Primary Sources

Posted by Mary Hendra on December 18, 2012

In 2011, Elana Goldbaum (World History teacher at Gertz Ressler High School) opened her classroom to us by sharing how she uses Facing History to teach the Armenian Genocide. If I had to summarize it into key themes and practices, there were two:

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Topics: Armenian Genocide, Common Core, Critical Thinking, A View from the Classroom

Lakers fans pushing for genocide recognition?

Posted by Mary Hendra on December 3, 2012

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Topics: Choosing to Participate, Armenian Genocide, Los Angeles

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This blog helps Southern California teachers connect directly with each other, share ideas, and learn about new resources and opportunities for those interested in or already implementing Facing History.

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