The Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region hosted its first Nevada Advocacy Day on April 14, 2015 in the State Capitol, Carson City, Nevada. Community leaders, members, and activists from Las Vegas and Reno participated in this one day event meeting with their elected officials to bring the united voice of the Armenian-American community to the Nevada Capitol.
“The Nevada Advocacy Day is of particular importance as we commemorate the Genocide Centennial and begin to plan activities beyond April 24 in the state, ensuring that freshmen and senior legislators alike are educated on issues of importance to the Armenian-American community,” stated ANCA WR Executive Director Elen Asatryan. “We are grateful to the Nevada State Senators and Assemblymembers for their staunch support and leadership as it relates to the proper recognition and teaching of the Armenian Genocide and our community leaders and activists who made the day such a success,” added Asatryan.
The day’s activities started with Genocide Centennial Proclamations presented at both State Assembly and Senate floors recognizing the Armenian Genocide and declaring April 24, 2015 as Nevada’s “Day of Commemoration of the Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1923”, which were recorded in Nevada Legislative archives.
“There are many times in history when an act occurs that is so deplorable that it moves another country to become involved. In response U.S. President Woodrow Wilson ordered the creation of the Near East Relief organization to provide humanitarian aid and rescue the Armenian people from annihilation,” stated Assemblymember Oscars in his remarks on the floor.
The proclamation was received by ANCA WR Executive Director Elen Asatryan, Deputy Consul General of the Republic of Armenia in Los Angeles Mr. Valery Mkrtoumian, Honorary Consul of Armenia in Las Vegas Adroushan Andy Armenian, and community activists Hera Armenian Esq. and Vartan Barsoumian.
Deputy Consul General Valery Mkrtumian addressed the Nevada Assembly and on behalf of the Republic of Armenia and the Armenian American community of Nevada thanked the Assembly for bringing truth and justice to the halls of the Nevada State Capitol.
Following the Assembly session, community leaders and activists joined the Nevada Senate session for a similar commemorative ceremony during which time Senator Settelmeyer introduced Elen Asatryan and Valery Mkrtumian on the floor of the Senate and in his remarks noted. ““Nevada is home to a large Armenian population that has made contributions to our society in the areas of business, agriculture and academia. These individuals are the descendants of the survivors of the dreadful events that occurred a century ago…To commemorate the strength of the Armenian people in overcoming adversity we recognize the Centennial Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide”.
Following the reading of the proclamation, the Senate floor filled with applause as community members seated in the VIP guest boxes were asked by President of the Nevada Senate, Lieutenant Governor Mark Hutchison to stand and be recognized as the descendants of survivors of the Armenian Genocide.
The ceremony concluded by President of the Senate, Nevada Lieutenant Governor Mark Hutchison stating,”..We remember and recognize.”
After the commemorative ceremonies, participants met with Assembly members, Senators and/or their staff throughout the day during which legislators received folders containing information on each of the issues to be discussed. Particular focus was placed on proper recognition of the Armenian Genocide by the United Stated, Armenian Genocide education in Nevada’s public schools, and the outright recognition of the independence of the Republic of Artsakh and the right of its people to self-determination.
Later that evening, a commemorative reception was held with over 60 elected officials and community members at Duke’s in Carson City Nevada. During the program Asatryan thanked the Nevada State Legislators for bringing justice to the State’s capitol earlier in the day and the local community members who made the days’ events possible and noted “In its efforts to deny the Armenian Genocide, Turkey also denies perhaps the most proud chapter in American history, during which time from 1915-1930, the U.S. government and the American people in every single state, through the Near East Relief, raised over $117 million dollars, established over 400 orphanages, and saved over 132,000 orphans and the Armenian nation from annihilation”.
The program concluded with ANCA Nevada Chair Jack Kassamanian thanking the Senators and Assembly members for their unwavering support on issues of importance to the Armenian-American community and Mr. Vartan Barsoumian for hosting the reception.
Nevada State Proclamation comes just days before the unveiling of the Armenian Genocide Memorial plaque at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas campus on Saturday, April 18th and the official groundbreaking ceremony for the Las Vegas Armenian Genocide Memorial Monument at Sunset Park, the largest park in Las Vegas scheduled on April 24, 2015 organized by the Armenian American Cultural Society of Las Vegas (AACS) in cooperation with local and national organizations.
The Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region is the largest and most influential 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.