Posted on November 18, 2016 by Scot Allen
As part of our deep dive into a unit on genocide, MPX 9 students had the opportunity to hear from Ani Martirosian, a member of Hawaii's Armenian community and political activist.
Martirosian shared her family photos, history, and personal stories with students, who have been studying genocide this quarter with a focus on the Armenian genocide through their novel, "Forgotten Fire," by Adam Bagdasarian. Reading the novel has been, at times, difficult. Although the atrocities suffered by the character has fueled much empathy and discussion in class, hearing Martirosian's family's true accounts bridged the distance between fiction and reality.
"I think because I got to personally know her today and hear her stories first hand, it felt like I somehow had a personal connection with Armenia and the Armenian Genocide," said Kai Corrie, 9th grade MPX student.
Martirosian inspired us especially when she shared her efforts to fight two Azerbaijan-initiated anti-Armenian measures here in Hawaii. She challenged students to read the resolutions and her testimony in small groups and to puzzle out the situation. To read about it, click here. Students were shocked to learn that Hawaii legislation had a direct impact on the current issues that affect Armenians. Her message to students was heard loud and clear.
Brennan Kimura shared his thoughts: "Our speaker spoke the truth and eventually won over the government. She was faced with numerous odds that she then overcame. This shows a lot of character in our speaker. It shows how dedicated she is and how she is working to give Armenia the justice it deserves. My take away is that to be passionate about something and voice your opinion is a great quality to have. It helps to show who you are and where your values stand."
"She was successful with the help of her peers and was able to convince the house to reject the resolution. I think that that was a very inspiring thing. It says that we have a voice and are able to convince people that are in a higher power. There isn't that much of a gap between us and the government," said Jonah Marutani, 9th grade MPX student.
Ani will be visiting us again when the legislative session opens at the end of January. Through her guidance, students will identify issues that matter to them and hopefully gain experience in civic engagement. -- Billie Napoleon