LOS ANGELES, California – At a meeting of the Los Angeles Redistricting Commission on Saturday October 16, a presentation was made on behalf of the Armenian community by the Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region (ANCA-WR) as the current chair of the Pan Armenian Council of the Western United States (PAC-WUS), a community-wide coalition of over 20 Armenian-American organizations.
ANCA-WR Government Affairs Coordinator Edward Barsoumian urged the commission to reconsider its most recent redistricting proposal that would have disenfranchised and undermined the voice of the Armenian-American community of Los Angeles City Council District 2. This followed the ANCA-WR activating thousands of community members to call and write to LACCRC commissioners urging they amend this disastrous proposal and keep the Armenian community intact.
As a result of the ANCA-WR’s advocacy and grassroots mobilization, revisions to the proposed redistricting map restored a significant proportion of the Armenian community to Council District 2 – the most densely populated Armenian community in Los Angeles, currently represented by the city’s first Armenian-American councilmember Paul Krekorian – that had been excluded in earlier drafts.
However, the proposed map still excludes at least a third of the Armenian community currently residing in Council District 2 – diluting and undermining the voice of the Armenian community. The map revision also excludes major community assets, including schools, churches and community centers that were previously within the borders of CD2.
“The recent proposal still arbitrarily divides the Armenian community of Van Nuys, North Hollywood, Valley Glen and Valley Village, placing at risk vital services required to meet the specific needs of the Armenian community; from access to Armenian-language resources, immigration services, cultural representation, to support for local community organizations. It also undermines our community’s ability to ensure issues of concern – such as the disturbing rise in Armenophobia – are prioritized.” ANCA-WR Executive Director Armen Sahakyan commented.
The Armenian community has been an integral part of the city of Los Angeles for over a century, making significant contributions to the cultural, political, economic and social life of the city. Today, Los Angeles is the most Armenian-populated city in the world after the capital of Armenia, Yerevan – with the largest segment of the community residing in Council District 2.
“As we continue to advocate for funding local community services, to elevate the response to the rise in anti-Armenian hate crimes, to promote Armenian Genocide education in schools across the Golden State, and ensure Azerbaijan and Turkey are held accountable for their genocidal aggression against the Armenian people – the Los Angeles City redistricting process serves as an important litmus test for future redistricting efforts at the county, state, and federal level when it comes to ensuring that our community remains strong, united, and civically engaged,” Sahakyan stated.
“By continuing to sideline our community’s concerns over the partition of the most densely-populated Armenian community in Los Angeles, this proposal represents a contravention of the LACCRC’s own stated mission to empower voices and ensure cohesion across LA’s many diverse communities – particularly given the fact that the Armenian community had been identified as a ‘community of interest’,” Sahakyan continued.
“This redistricting process will define our community for the next decade, which is why it is of the utmost importance that our community remains engaged in this process to ensure the final proposal does not undermine our community’s voice and threaten vital community services,” Sahakyan concluded.
Following ANCA-WR’s HyeCount campaign in 2020 to increase identification of the Armenian-American population in the U.S. Census, the organization has been closely involved for months in the redistricting processes at the local, county, state, and federal level – and will continue to remain engaged so as to preserve the integrity of the Armenian community’s voice at every level of government, and ensure the needs of our community are met.
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.