Los Angeles, CA – Since the introduction of House Resolution 193, the Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region (ANCA-WR) has launched a massive community wide effort to secure support for the legislation marking the fifteenth anniversary of the U.S. adoption of the Proxmire Act. H. Res. 193 was introduced in Congress by Representatives George Radanovich (R-CA), Adam Schiff (D-CA), Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), and Joe Knollenberg (R- MI) on April 10, 2003. To date over a dozen ANC Chapters and dozens of community organizations from across the Western United States have mobilized and united in support of H. Res. 193. Taking advantage of the ANCA-WR’s extensive into the grassroots during the week of April 24, local chapters have collected thousands of signatures from dedicated Armenian Americans and human rights supporters throughout the Western United States. ANC Action Petitions were circulated at Churches during the Easter Holiday weekend and at University and College campuses by ANC members and supporters.
“We have to remember that April 24 is a day of remembrance,” said ANCA-WR Government Relations Director Ardashes Kassakhian “But the other 364 days are days of activism. Our activism today will ensure justice tomorrow.”
The resolution marks the anniversary of the U.S. implementation of the Genocide Convention as a step “toward ensuring that the lessons of the Holocaust, the Armenian Genocide, the genocides in Cambodia and Rwanda, among others, will be used to help prevent future genocides.” The resolution also notes that, despite the international community’s consensus against genocide, “denial of past instances of genocide continues and many thousands of innocent people continue to be victims of genocide.”
The resolution currently has 85 members signed on as co-sponsors with more adding their support to it every day. As the bill continues to draw bi-partisan support in the House, representatives of the local chapters of the ANCA-WR continue their community wide petition drives and letter writing campaigns to members of Congress.
On Friday, May 9, 2003, Ardashes Kassakhian spoke to the Houston Armenian Youth Federation “Dro Chapter” and other members of the Texas Armenian community about the importance of the grassroots in ensuring the success and passage of H.Res. 193. Kassakhian urged audience members to build on the momentum of the commemorative events of April 24th.
“We must work hard every day to ensure that next April, Turkey acknowledges its crimes and the United States Government reaffirms that what happened to the Armenians between 1915-1923 is accurately described as Genocide,” stated Kassakhian during his lecture. As of yesterday, sources in the ANCA Washington DC headquarters confirmed that thousands of Armenian-Americans have used the ANCA’s website to send webfaxes and letters to members of Congress via the internet urging their representatives to co-sponsor H. Res. 193. Individuals who want to write letters to their members are urged to go to www.anca.org.