BOSTON – Boston Mayor Marty J. Walsh announced in a letter addressed to the Greater Boston Armenian community dated March 3 that he was rescinding the proclamation issued by his office for Khojaly Commemoration Day at the end of February, and apologized for its promulgation.
Walsh explained why such a proclamation was issued, writing: “Unfortunately on our part, this was done without our typical review process, which includes conferring with all those potentially impacted.” Conversations with leaders of the Armenian-American community made it clear that the proclamation was particularly hurtful, he said, thanking them for respectfully bringing this issue to his attention.
In his letter, he expressed his gratitude for the relationship the City of Boston enjoyed with the Armenian people, mentioning the creation of Armenian Heritage Park and the 2015 commemoration of the centennial of the Armenian Genocide. He stated, “I continue to be proud to stand in support of Armenian-Americans in Boston and the surrounding area,” and thanked Armenians for their contribution to civic life.
Many Armenians contacted the mayor’s office after they became aware of the Khojaly proclamation, and very quickly the mayor’s chief communications officer issued an apology via the Mirror-Spectator on March 2.
Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian played a key role due to his longstanding friendship with the mayor. Koutoujian declared, “When I first saw the mayor’s proclamation, I reached out to him immediately, because I knew it did not sound like Marty. Why I say this is because I have known Marty since 1996 when we ran for office. We both started in the House of Representatives in the same year. Your class in a legislative body is something that really binds you and bonds you together, so much so that you maintain a very close and abiding friendship over these very many years. And the nice thing is that we both serve in public office so we see each other and share in that too.”
Not only has the mayor attended various Armenian Genocide commemoration events over the years, and signed onto Genocide recognition resolutions, but has spoken at Armenian Heritage Park engagements in Boston and even visited the Armenian Quarter in Jerusalem.