San Francisco

Armenian Americans Gather in SF to Remember Victims of Mass Killing

Hundreds of Armenian Americans gathered in San Francisco's Union Square Tuesday night to remember victims of a mass killing that took place 100 years ago.

The Bay Area Armenian community is calling on President Barack Obama to stand up to the Turkish government and call the massacre genocide.

Musician Sebu Simonian of Capital Cities said the killing of more than a million people shaped his family.

"My grandfather was alive during the genocide," Simonian said. "He was orphaned."

Armenians are also calling on leaders in Turkey to end the denial of the mass killing and apologize.

Elaine Kapjaian-Pitt, an Armenian American, said once Turkey apologizes healing can begin.

"They say the denial of genocides is like genocide reoccurring, so it's hurtful and painful to us," Kapjaian-Pitt said.

Obama is expected to make remarks Friday marking the 100-year remembrance. But the white house said the president will not call the massacre genocide.

Stephan Astourian, a UC Berkeley professor of Armenian studies, said while the president wants to maintain relations with Turkey, he is sending a dangerous message.

"You say 'Oh people got away with it. We are going to exterminate these people over here and no one will care," Astourian said.

The disappointed Armenian community said it will continue to demand justice.

Bay Area Congresswoman Jackie Speier will travel to Armenia with a presidential delegation on Wednesday where she will recognize the 100-year remembrance of the genocide.

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