DERBY, England — Thanks to the efforts of Russell Pollard a photojournalist and a campaigner for the recognition of genocides, the city of Derby has become the first English city to recognize the Armenian Genocide. The City Council formally and unanimously recognized the Armenian Genocide on November 21.
Pollard is an active member of Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) organizing group that focuses on genocide awareness. He has shown great interest in Armenian issues since the 100th anniversary commemoration of the Armenian Genocide.
The first UK city to recognize the Armenian Genocide was Edinburgh City Council in Scotland.
Derby, a small city of 250,000 people in the center of England with a diverse population. There is no Armenian community there.
Pollard writes, “In 2015 I joined a small committee of volunteers that commemorates which, nationally, traditionally focuses on Genocides from the Holocaust during the Second World War and after. I asked if I could speak about the Armenian Genocide ; I was warmly welcomed and I was given the opportunity to make a speech to an audience of over 200 Derby citizens as part of the main event. The Turkish Government had picked up our intentions and wrote to the Mayor of Derby, the day before, ‘encouraging’ us to remove any references to ‘Genocide.’ We politely informed them that we would not be changing anything.”
The Derby City Council has 51 elected Councillors. They have the power to make formal resolutions on behalf of the people of the City.