GLENDALE – The Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region (ANCA-WR) undertook a 5-city, 4-state community road trip through the American northwest to organize meet and greets and ANCA360 presentations for the community as well as hold meetings with community organizations and Congressional offices during the August Recess month. ANCA-WR Executive Director Armen Sahakyan and Government Affairs Coordinator Serob Abrahamian, joined by community activist and author Liyah Babayan, visited Armenian American communities in Seattle, WA; Portland, OR; Boise, ID; Twin Falls, ID; and Salt Lake City, UT.
“Grassroots activation and development is a strategic priority of the ANCA Western Region,” remarked ANCA-WR Chair Nora Hovsepian. “Our organization’s regional coverage transcends 19 states and close to 30 chapters. In the coming months, we will pay particular attention to our communities outside of southern California, visiting them regularly and equipping them with the necessary knowledge and tools to undertake effective advocacy on the local, state, and federal levels to advance the Armenian Cause.”
The road trip commenced on Sunday, August 18 with a visit and presentation at the Holy Resurrection Armenian Apostolic Church in Seattle. ANCA-WR representatives provided an ANCA360 presentation, discussing the wide-ranging activities and initiatives of the organization as well as answered questions from the audience. Liyah Babayan discussed her new book, “Liminal: A Refugee Memoir,” which documents her family’s survival story of the anti-Armenian pogroms in Soviet Azerbaijan and their journey and adaptation to life in the United States as refugees in the early 1990s. A short video about the local church and Washington community is available on the ANCA-WR Facebook page.
“Seattle, Portland, Boise, Twin Falls, and Salt Lake personify the mosaic of Armenians from all over the world, speaking multiple languages, scattered from the motherland by persecution, planting seeds of unity through faith, culture, and identity,” said Liyah Babayan. “My love for my people deepened as I witnessed how they rebuilt communities out of absolutely nothing, even with the geographical disadvantage and disconnection from the greater diaspora in California.”
The following day – joined by local community leaders – delegation members met with the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA-9) as well as the office of Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA-7). Some of the legislative items in focus included the co-sponsorship of the Armenian Genocide Truth and Justice resolution H.Res.296, Artsakh Travel and Communication resolution H.Res.190, National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) supporting the security of Armenia and Artsakh, etc.
The next destination was Portland, OR, where local community members congregated at the St. Kevork Armenian Church for a meet and greet and an ANCA360 presentation. Some traveled for over 3 hours to be present at the gathering and the subsequent presentation. Earlier that same day, delegation members and local priest Rev. Fr. Mashdots Keshishian met with Rep. Blumenauer’s office (D-OR-3) as well as with the Catholic Archdiocese of Oregon to discuss the priorities of the local Armenian American community. A short video about the local church and our Oregon community is available on the ANCA-WR Facebook page.
Idaho stops included Boise and Twin Falls, where community members and leaders convened to discuss the local priorities as well as plans for political advocacy in the Gem State. Both communities have erected Armenian Genocide memorial monuments, commemorating the innocent martyrs of this international crime against humanity. A video about the Armenian Genocide memorial monument in downtown Boise is available on the ANCA-WR Facebook page.
ANCA-WR staff and Liyah Babayan met with the leadership of the Frank Church Institute at Boise State University to discuss matters pertaining to foreign policy. Joined by local community leader Mark Abajian, the delegation then met with Christian Welp, the Director of Diocesan Services at the Catholic Diocese of Boise as well as with the office of Rep. Russ Fulcher (R-ID-1).
The road trip concluded in Salt Lake City, Utah with an informal community get together at a local coffee shop. Delegation members, joined by local community leaders, met with Jean Hill, the Director of Office of Life, Justice and Peace at the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City as well as with the offices of Rep. Ben McAdams (D-UT-4) and Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT).
ANCA-WR Road Trips will continue in the coming months to other areas of the vast Western Region. Stay tuned for details.
The Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region is the largest and most influential nonpartisan Armenian American grassroots advocacy organization in the Western United States. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the Western United States and affiliated organizations around the country, the ANCA-WR advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues in pursuit of the Armenian Cause.