California Legislature Passes Budget with $3 Million for Armenian Museum

Friday, June 16, 2017

SACRAMENTO -  California State Assemblymember Laura Friedman, D-Glendale, announces that the 2017-2018 California State Budget, which was passed by both the State Assembly and Senate on Thursday, June 15, includes $3 million in funding for the Armenian American Museum planned for Glendale.

Funding for the museum will be granted over a 3-year period.  In addition, a $5 million fund has been created to update current public school curricula and train teachers on the history of the Armenian Genocide.

“For months I’ve fought for funding in the budget for the museum,” said Friedman. “And I’m thrilled that the funding has come through for the museum, which will serve as a beacon of hope and understanding for the local Armenian community, and countless visitors from around the world.” 

Plans for the Armenian American Museum in Glendale have been under discussion for several years. Assemblymember Friedman has been a strong supporter of the proposed museum since her tenure as a member of the Glendale City Council. She is also a co-author of the Divestment from Turkey bill, AB 1597, which recently passed the Assembly Floor and is now in the Senate. 

“Glendale is the perfect place for the museum, which will embrace the rich diversity of the Armenian community, and educate and empower all who step through its doors,” said Friedman.

The 2016-2017 State Budget had originally allocated $1 million for the Armenian American Museum. When Governor Brown released his initial 2017-18 budget proposal in January of this year, the promised $1 million was removed. Assemblymember Friedman successfully pushed legislative leaders to include the funding for the museum in the final budget package. 

Armenians started to emigrate to California in the early 1870’s. Southern California, especially the city of Glendale, is home to the largest Armenian community outside of Armenia.  Building the museum in Glendale and the implementation new curricula about the Armenian Genocide for public schools will be vital steps towards deepening understanding of Armenian culture and history.

“The Armenian Genocide is a topic that has not been properly taught in our classrooms.” said Armenian Youth Federation Western United States Chairperson, Rafi Orphali. “For students to become educated on the Genocide from instructors that have undergone specialized training will ensure that our students know our history and learn the truth.”

The State of California, along with 45 other states, has recognized the Armenian Genocide.

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Laura Friedman is the Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and represents the 43rd Assembly District which encompasses the cities of Burbank, Glendale, and La Cañada Flintridge, as well as the communities of La Crescenta and Montrose, and the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Atwater Village, Beachwood Canyon, Los Feliz, East Hollywood, Franklin Hills, and Silver Lake.