Sacramento, CA – A resolution commemorating the 93rd anniversary of the Armenian Genocide (SJR 24) was unanimously adopted by both the California State Senate and Assembly on Monday, April 21, 2008. Led by the Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region (ANCA-WR), representatives from local ANCs throughout the Greater Los Angeles Area, Santa Barbara, California’s Central Valley and Northern California attended the legislature’s commemoration ceremonies and spent the day visiting with several State Senators and Assembly Members.
“As a former congressional staffer, I assure you that you cannot underestimate the importance of these types of visits,” stated ANCA-WR Board Member Peter Musurlian. “If the ANCA-WR did not regularly organize advocacy days, California legislators would be getting watered down information from others or worse, no information at all,” he added.
Following visits with Senate Minority Leader Dave Cogdill and Assembly Member Greg Aghazarian, ANC activists were welcomed to the state capital with a reception hosted by Assembly Member Anthony Portantino.
At noon, Assembly Member Paul Krekorian led several colleagues, including Sam Blakeslee, Mike Feuer and Mike Villines, in urging the legislature to remember the genocide and the consequences of its denial. Subsequently, Assembly Majority leader and Speaker Elect Karen Bass as well as Little Armenia representative Assembly Member Kevin de Leon introduced a motion allowing Krekorian to bring SJR 24 to the assembly floor for consideration where it was passed with unanimous support.
The Assembly commemoration ceremony was followed by one in the Senate chambers during which Santa Clara “Ani” chapter Homenetmen Scouts led the flag procession and pledge of allegiance. Senator Joe Simitian was joined by his senate colleagues in solemnly remembering the genocide. A joint closing reception was also hosted by Krekorian and Simitian.
“What we see today is really very much the result of the hard grassroots work that the ANCA-WR has done year after year to try to energize people, educate people, to engage public officials in dialogue so that they understand why this issue matters to us but also why it should matter to them,” stated Krekorian.
Also attending the day’s ceremonies were Prelate Moushegh Mardirossian of the Western Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America and Primate Hovnan Derderian of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church who delivered the opening prayers during the Assembly and Senate commemorations respectively. Leading the advocacy day were ANCA-WR Board Members Souzi Zerounian-Khanzadian, Peter Musurlian, Pattyl Aposhian-Kasparian and Aida Dimejian. They were joined by ANCA-WR Community Relations Director Haig Hovsepian and Father Vahan Gostanian.
The Armenian National Committee of America is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots political organization. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the United States and affiliated organizations around the world, the ANCA actively advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.
Photo caption #1: Assembly Member Kevin de Leon (center) joined by (from left to right) ANCA-WR Board Member Pattyl Aposhian, Father Vahan Gostanian, Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Vice Consul of Armenia in Los Angeles Sahak Sargsyan and ANC Hollywood Activist Garo Ispendjian.
Photo Caption #2: California Senate Minority Leader Dave Cogdill (center) joined by (from left to right) ANC Hollywood Activist Garo Ispendjian, ANCA-WR Board Member Souzi Zerounian-Khanzadian, ANC Central Valley Chairwoman Hilda Santikian and Father Vahan Gostanian.
Photo caption #3: Assembly Member Paul Krekorian (left) joined by ANCA-WR Board Member Souzi Zerounian-Khanzadian (right).