February 16, 2007
For Immediate Release
Contact: Haig Hovsepian
tel: (818) 500-1918

ANCA-WR JOINS LOS ANGELES MAYOR ANTONIO VILLARAIGOSA IN CALLING ON U.S. CONGRESS TO PASS ARMENIAN GENOCIDE RESOLUTION

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa addresses the press conference on the city’s new Darfur Divestment initiative as members of the Los Angeles City Council look on.Los Angeles, CA – Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, joined by over three dozen students from Alex Pilibos High School in Hollywood, hosted a press conference on February 14th where he energetically called on the U.S. House of Representatives to pass the Armenian Genocide resolution. The Armenian Genocide resolution (H.Res. 106) is currently pending before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, which is Chaired by California Congressman Tom Lantos (D-CA). The Mayor’s press conference with the ANCA-WR was covered by The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, National Public Radio, the Associated Press and local network television stations.

Mayor Villaraigosa opened his press conference by announcing that the City of Los Angeles will withdraw more than $27 million in retirement fund investments from companies that do business with Sudan to protest the ongoing genocide in the Darfur region. “By acting affirmatively to bring about change in Darfur, we demonstrate our commitment to making a difference and working to stop genocide,” remarked Villaraigosa. The Mayor added, “As we can see today, the genocide in Darfur rages on – it is our duty to also properly recognize genocides that have occurred in the past so that we may work to prevent them from happening again. We know that those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it – and we look forward to continuing to work with the Armenian National Committee in this regard.”

ANCA-WR Executive Director Andrew Kzirian addresses the press conference with Mayor Villaraigosa.“We are proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with Mayor Villaraigosa in ending the cycle of genocide in our world,” commented ANCA-WR Executive Director Andrew Kzirian. “Today, the Mayor spoke clearly about the positive role American cities can play in ending the genocide in Darfur by beginning a divestment campaign. We were also pleased that the Mayor forcefully called on the U.S. Congress to adopt the Armenian Genocide resolution without delay,” Kzirian added.

In correspondence that Mayor Villaraigosa recently sent to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), he personally urged her to schedule a vote on the Armenian Genocide resolution (H. Res. 106). The Mayor’s letter states, in part, “As the Mayor of Los Angeles… it is an honor and pleasure to add my name to the growing list of supporters of H. Res. 106, which would officially place the U.S. House of Representatives on record as recognizing the Armenian Genocide of 1915.”

Following the Mayor’s press conference, Los Angeles City Council President Eric Garcetti introduced a resolution on behalf of the Los Angeles City Council that urges the United States Government to recognize the Armenian Genocide and calls upon Turkey to end its decades long policy of denial. “This resolution, by the City Council of the City of Los Angeles, shows our support in standing side by side with Mayor Villaraigosa and all of humanity in paying homage to those that perished in the Armenian Genocide”, stated Garcetti.

The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) 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.

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Photo Caption #1: Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa addresses the press conference on the city’s new Darfur Divestment initiative as members of the Los Angeles City Council look on.

Photo Caption #2: ANCA-WR Executive Director Andrew Kzirian addresses the press conference with Mayor Villaraigosa.