Board approves Resolution to Stand with the Mothers and Children of Artsakh

Los Angeles, CA (March 7, 2023) – Today, the Los Angeles Unified Board of Education approved a resolution sponsored by Board Vice President Scott M. Schmerelson, and co-sponsored by most of the Board Members in attendance. The Board condemns the blockade of the Lachin Corridor as a violation of human rights, especially those of mothers, children and infants.

“As a lifetime educator, it is hard to stay silent when hearing of the humanitarian crisis in Artsakh,” Board Vice President Scott M. Schmerelson said. “It is time to stand together and call for an end to this tremendous tragedy.”

“Since December 2022, more than 120,000 citizens of Artsakh have been trapped in the Lachin Corridor causing a preventable, but unfolding humanitarian crisis,” Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho said. “We call on those with the power to end the consequential implications of depriving human beings of their right to freedom of movement, nutrition, shelter and education for nearly 87 days to do so urgently. Los Angeles Unified stands with the International Court of Justice in its effort to help Armenia and Azerbaijan make progress towards a comprehensive peace agreement.”

“One of the most tragic consequences of war is the violence and disruption that innocent women and children face, and today here in Los Angeles we took a stand in support of the mothers and children of Artsakh who continue to face unimaginable hardship,” Board President Jackie Goldberg said. “It’s also an opportunity to raise awareness here in the Los Angeles region about the aftermath and continued fallout from the 2020 war that is almost certainly not on the radar of so many people.” 

“It is not enough to be heartbroken by the continued blockade of the indigenous Armenian homeland, Artsakh, by Azerbaijan,” Board Member Dr. Rocío Rivas said. “We must stand with our Armenian American community here in Los Angeles – our students and families – and speak out against what has been called the ‘second Genocide of Armenians.’ Let our diverse Los Angeles Unified community come together in a call for justice.”

“I’m proud to join the chorus of voices calling for a comprehensive peace agreement in the Lachin Corridor,” Board Member Nick Melvoin said. “The families affected by these human rights violations happening halfway across the world still deserve our attention and our support–and we will continue to be the kind of institution that advocates for what is right in any capacity possible.” 

“I stand in solidarity with the Armenian community and the Board in condemning the blockade of the Lachin Corridor,” Board Member Kelly Gonez said. “Azerbaijan’s continued violence and aggression has led to a humanitarian crisis for the people of Artsakh, and we must come together to call for swift action to end the blockade.”

“Los Angeles Unified commits to advocating for human rights globally while also having crucial conversations within our school community to promote civic engagement locally, nationally and globally,” Board Member Tanya Ortiz Franklin said. “Families should enjoy the warmth and love of their children and community and not worry about access to educational, health and other critical resources.”

“We know that silence perpetuates injustice,” Student Board Member Nathaniel Shin said. “The blockade of Artsakh, under the pretense of an environmental protest, endangers vital food, medicine and fuel, putting lives at risk. We continue to stand with the Armenian community at home and abroad. I hope that our entire Los Angeles Unified community will learn more about this humanitarian crisis and join us in this call to action.”