The Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region (ANCA-WR) is deeply concerned with the disenfranchisement of the Armenian-American community in the most recent Los Angeles City redistricting proposal.
The consequences of the current proposal are overwhelmingly negative for the Armenian-American community. By arbitrarily carving up the Armenian community, the proposal risks disenfranchising and undermining the voice of such a sizable and integral segment of the city.
The City of Los Angeles is home to the largest population of Armenians outside of Armenia itself. For over a century, Armenian-Americans have made significant social, economic, and cultural contributions to Los Angeles.
Under the proposal, sections of Van Nuys, North Hollywood, and Valley Village currently within District 2 – the most densely populated Armenian community in Los Angeles, currently represented by the city’s first Armenian-American councilmember, Paul Krekorian – would be split between three districts, reducing the representation of Armenians in each. The division of communities in Sunland-Tujunga, as well as Reseda and Encino, also raise similar concerns.
Diluting and dividing our community risks impacting vital services to address the specific needs of the Armenian-American community; whether it be the support for community service organizations, Armenian-language assistance for social services, immigration, and healthcare, the representation of cultural heritage, and ensuring matters of concern to our community are prioritized and given the attention they deserve.
The ANCA-WR has been actively involved for months in the Los Angeles City Council Redistricting Commission (LACCRC) public hearing process to advocate on behalf of Armenian-Americans to preserve the integrity of our local communities.
Unfortunately, despite the Armenian-American community being recognized as a “community of interest” by the LACCRC, our community’s input has not been reflected in the current proposal. In fact, data provided by the commission highlighting the concentration of Armenian voters throughout the city clearly demonstrates that the current proposal would separate and disenfranchise substantial Armenian population centers.
This proposal represents a contravention of the redistricting commission’s own purported commitment to ensuring the voices of LA’s many diverse communities are empowered. Additionally, it is unacceptable that the latest proposal has been pushed forward before community data from the 2020 Census has been made publicly available to key community stakeholders. The ANCA-WR had spearheaded the HyeCount initiative in an effort to gain a more accurate count of the Armenian-American population. Instead of waiting for this data from the 2020 Census, the LACCRC has instead relied on outdated and unreliable data from the 2010 Census, completely ignoring the substantial growth of our community in the last decade.
With the County, State, and Federal redistricting process approaching, the LACCRC will serve as an important litmus test for community engagement, inclusivity, and the empowerment of diverse cultural and ethnic groups in a process that has long been fraught by its inaccessibility and lack of transparency.
As we continue to advocate for funding local community services, to elevate the response to the disturbing rise in anti-Armenian hate crimes, to promote Armenian Genocide education in schools across the Golden State, and to ensure the United States holds Azerbaijan and Turkey for their genocidal aggression against the Armenian people – ensuring our community remains strong, united and civically engaged is of the utmost importance.
Much is at stake for the Armenian-American community of Southern California, and the ANCA-WR will continue to remain engaged in the redistricting process – at the local, county, state, and federal level – so as to preserve the integrity of our community’s voice at every level of government. We urge all segments of our community to actively participate in this process, as the potential negative impact of redistricting will be felt for at least the next decade and beyond.
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.