Los Angeles, CA – The Armenian Genocide and its continued denial are crimes against humanity. With this simple message, ANC officials and chapters launched a new round of activism this April 24th at dozens of events that were held across the Western United States.
From Colorado, Nevada, Texas, Arizona, to the cities of San Francisco, Sacramento, San Diego, Pasadena and Los Angeles, ANC officials either organized or spoke at events marking the 88th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. The ANC also took on the role of securing media coverage for many of these events.
“I am proud of the ANC activists and community members who worked so hard this year to ensure that the murder of 1.5 million Armenian Christians in 1915 is never forgotten,” explained ANCA-WR Chairman Raffi Hamparian. “The Turkish Lobby and its allies should know that the ANC and our dedicated supporters are determined to fight their immoral campaign to deny the Armenian Genocide,” he added.
“The ANC will not allow the death of 1.5 million Armenians to be white-washed by the Turkish Government’s high priced lobbyists operating in and around the U.S. Congress,” Chairman Hamparian emphasized. “I urge every Armenian-American to fight back against Turkey’s denial campaign by visiting our organization’s website at – www.anca.org, and urge everyone to participate in our action alert in support of H.Res.193, the Genocide Resolution now pending in Congress,” he added.
During his remarks at a major April 24th commemoration, Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn stated, “Today, I join you in remembering the 1.5 million people who lost their lives in this terrible tragedy and I am pleased that the Armenian National Committee selected Los Angeles to hold this national event.”
“Over 135 memorials are taking place in 25 countries to commemorate this event. In Los Angeles, people have come together on this day to send a message loud and clear — that we shall never forget this dark chapter in world history,” added the Mayor. He went on to thank the ANC for actively advancing issues of concern to the Armenian American community.
ANC officials were pleased with the show of support from elected officials all over Southern California at the April 24th ceremony attended by Mayor Hahn. The Annual Commemorative Event in Hollywood attracted a list of notable guests including California State Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi, who pledged support for Armenian heirs with Ottoman-era life insurance policies and Congressman Adam Schiff, California State Senate Majority Leader Richard Alarcon, and California State Senator Chuck Poochigian.
Among the numerous events held and attended by the ANCA-WR and its local chapters were:
Burbank ANC Commemorative Event: Members of the Burbank Armenian Community gathered in front of City Hall to commemorate the 88th Anniversary of the Genocide by conducting a candle light vigil. The City of Burbank issued a proclamation commemorating the Genocide. Guest speakers included Ardashes Kassakhian of the ANCA-WR office and Stepan Boyajian, Chairman of the Burbank ANC. For more information on the events in Burbank, visit www.burbankanc.org.
San Fernando Valley ANC Commemorative Event: Armenian-Americans held commemorative events that included lectures on Genocide Denial and current legislative efforts to draw attention and recognition to the Armenian Genocide.
San Gabriel Valley ANC Commemorative Event: At the annual April 23rd commemoration at the Armenian Genocide Monument in Montebello, ANCA-WR Chairman Raffi Hamparian addressed the audience which was holding a candle light vigil in the memory of the 1.5 million martyrs of the Armenian Genocide.
Pasadena ANC Commemorative Event and Pasadena Board of Education meeting: ANCA-WR Director of Government Relations, Ardashes Kassakhian, Susan Berberian of the Pasadena ANC and nearly a dozen Armenian students from Pasadena public schools made a special presentation to members of the Pasadena Board of Education concerning the Armenian Genocide. The presentation was followed by a special commemorative event held at Pasadena’s Armenian Center that drew several hundred attendees.
Glendale Community College: ANCA-WR Chairman Raffi Hamparian was the keynote speaker at the annual Genocide Commemorative event at Glendale College. Glendale Community College has the largest population of Armenian students of any college in the United States.
City of Glendale Armenian Genocide Commemoration: Members of the Glendale ANC and AYF participated in the City of Glendale’s official Commemorative Event held at the Civic Auditorium. The Glendale ANC cosponsored the event and guest speakers included California Governor Gray Davis, U.S. Representative Adam Schiff, Assemblymember Dario Frommer, State Senator Jack Scott, and Professor Vahakn Dadrian. For more information on this and other Glendale ANC events, visit www.glendaleanc.org.
Hoover High School – Glendale, California: ANCA-WR Government Relations Director Ardashes Kassakhian was the keynote speaker at the “Man’s Inhumanity to Man” Hoover High School assembly. Kassakhian addressed the root causes and key signs of Genocide.
Montebello High School: At the annual Montebello High School Armenian Genocide Assembly, ANCA-WR Director of Government Relations Ardashes Kassakhian spoke to a filled to capacity auditorium about the history of the Armenian Genocide and the importance of remembering the first modern genocide of the 20th century.
UCLA Armenian Student Association: ANCA-WR Government Relations Director and former UCLA Armenian Students Association President Ardashes Kassakhian spoke at the UCLA ASA Armenian Genocide Rally and March. Kassakhian spoke about the failed efforts of the Turkish Government to establish a chair of Turkish History at UCLA in 1997 and reminded students and supporters to remain vigilant in the face of denialist efforts.
All-ASA Candle light vigil at the University of Southern California: Kassakhian addressed students from all over Southern California campuses about the importance of pursuing justice and ensuring that the United States’ government properly acknowledges the genocide of the Armenians in Turkey. Genocide survivor Sam Kadorian, who was born in Kharpert province in the Ottoman Empire in 1907, also spoke about his experiences during the Genocide.
Colorado Armenian Genocide Commemorative Event: The ANCA-WR participated in the annual Colorado Armenian Genocide Commemoration Event which took place at the State Capitol in Denver, Colorado. The event was organized by the “Armenians of Colorado” and included statements by Ken Allikian, and a members of the Colorado State Legislature who were instrumental in passing a State Resolution commemorating April 24th as a Day of Remembrance for the Armenian Genocide. Following the event, Ardashes Kassakhian, spoke to the congregation on the importance of remembrance and combating denial by the Turkish Government. For more information on this event, visit www.armeniansofcolorado.org.
Arizona ANC Commemorative Event: ANCA-WR Board Member Garo Ispenjian spoke to the Arizona ANC and community members about the activities of the Armenian National Committee in pursuit of international recognition and reaffirmation of the Armenian Genocide. During his remarks, Ispenjian pointed to the popularity of writers such as Pulitzer Prize winning author Samantha Power and her seminal work “A Problem From Hell: American in the Age of Genocide” as evidence of the overwhelming academic support for the historical facts related to the Armenian Genocide.
Las Vegas ANC Commemorative Event: Former ANCA-WR Chairman and current Western Region Board Member Steven Dadaian was the keynote speaker at the Las Vegas ANC Commemorative Event which was attended by representatives from Nevada’s Congressional Delegation and Senator Harry Reid’s office. Also attending the gathering was Las Vegas Mayor Oscar B. Goodman.
Central California ANC Commemorative Event: Members of the Central California ANC, the oldest ANC chapter in California, gathered at the Genocide Monument in Fresno, California to pay their respects to the martyrs of 1915 and rededicate themselves to the cause of international recognition. Many survivors of the Genocide eventually settled in Fresno where the first Armenian community in California took root. Congressman George Radanovich, principal co-author of H. Res. 193, a resolution marking the 15th anniversary of the Proxmire act and which specifically sights the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1923, spoke at an Armenian Genocide Commemoration event in Fresno. For more information on the events in Fresno, visit www.ancfresno.org.
San Francisco Bay Area ANC Commemorative Events: The SF-Bay Area ANC successfully pushed for the adoption of two key resolutions by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors commemorating the Armenian Genocide and calling upon President Bush and California Congressman and Genocide Denier Tom Lantos to recognize the Armenian Genocide. Similar resolutions were adopted by the City of Berkeley through the collaborative efforts of the Berkeley Armenian Students Association and the local ANC. In addition to these important resolutions, the local ANC also sponsored a special viewing of the BBC documentary movie “Armenia: The Betrayed” at San Francisco’s main Public Library. For more information on the events in the Bay Area, visit www.ancsf.org.
Sacramento ANC: The Chairman of the Sacramento ANC, Hovhanes Boghosian, provided an update on local, state and national efforts to a crowd of over 200 Armenian Americans who gathered at St. James Armenian Church to commemorate the Armenian Genocide. He urged those in attendance to support passage of H.Res.193, the Armenian Genocide Resolution currently pending in the U.S. Congress.
The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots political organization. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the United States and affiliated organizations around the world, the ANCA actively advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.