OAKLAND, Calif. — Opening the Mountain dialogue group condemns the racist graffiti and hate-based vandalism at the Krouzian-Zekarian-Vasbouragan (KZV) Armenian School on July 24, 2020. “We are heartbroken and stand with the school and the community center against any form of violence and discrimination. In the face of dual pandemics — racial prejudice and COVID-19 — we value coming together in recognizing our common humanity,” said founder Ojig Yeretsian, MPH.
Though we don’t know the people who committed this crime, we offer dialogue in response. This path can serve as a way forward to overcome hatred and stop the recurrence of violence. For too long, conflict has scarred the history and relations of Turks, Azerbaijanis and Armenians.
We stand in solidarity with KZV Armenian school and the larger Armenian community of the San Francisco Bay Area. Opening the Mountain encourages Armenian, Azeri and Turkish Bay Area residents to engage in non-violent communication and dialogue. Email OTMdialogue2020@gmail.com for more information.
Opening the Mountain is a living room dialogue group for Armenians and Turks in the San Francisco Bay Area. The group came together as a grassroots effort and not as part of any Turkish or Armenian organization, nor is it affiliated with any government. It was formed in 2007 and members have been meeting monthly in each other’s living rooms and now on virtual platforms. More than ninety people have participated since inception and there are nearly two dozen current members. Sustained dialogue is an alternative model to the message of hate that tends to inundate mainstream media and nationalist narratives. Members are committed to listening to each other’s stories with open minds and hearts, in an intimate, confidential setting. This process promotes understanding and acknowledges wounds of intergenerational conflict and genocide. We believe that the inter-ethnic cycle of violence which has existed for generations can be disrupted with non-violent communication and dialogue.