Los Angeles, CA — The Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region (ANCA-WR) participated in over a dozen events throughout Arizona, California, and Nevada, organized by the Armenian American community to commemorate the 92nd anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. The ANCA-WR also joined the community at several more events to raise awareness about the “Click for Justice” campaign to urge US House leadership to schedule a vote on H. Res. 106, the Armenian Genocide resolution introduced earlier this year by Representatives Adam Schiff and George Radanovich. ANCA-WR Board Members, staff, and advocates were invited to, and delivered remarks at various events ranging from vigils and protests to educational and community events and school assemblies. In addition to these events, several ANC Chapters throughout California, Oregon, and Texas organized and participated in local genocide commemoration activities. For example the Glendale ANC organized a blood drive in cooperation with the American Red Cross on April 24 and the Orange County ANC organized an 8-mile walkathon, with over 400 participants, to raise funds for genocide awareness programs. “At this crucial time of the year we reflect, remember and rededicate ourselves to the victims of the Armenian Genocide,” remarked Andrew Kzirian, ANCA-WR Executive Director. “The ANCA-WR is honored to be a part of so many communities throughout the region. Our organization’s ability to raise awareness about this crime against humanity is essential in building the political will to truly achieve justice and to prevent future genocides,” Kzirian added. ANCA-WR at local ANC commemorations: ANCA-WR Board Member Zanku Armenian joined the Arizona ANC for two days of commemoration events in Phoenix. The events culminated with a rally in front of the state’s Armenian Genocide memorial which featured the attendance of several state and local elected officials. Additionally, Governor Janet Napolitano’s recent proclamation commemorating the Armenian Genocide was presented to those gathered at the memorial. Youth from across Arizona and organized by the ANC of Arizona met with state legislators to discuss the Armenian Genocide and its importance and delivered informational packages to their offices about the Arizona Armenian American community and the genocide.
ANCA-WR Steven Dadaian delivered remarks at a genocide commemoration organized by the San Fernando Valley’s Rosdom Gomideh and the local San Fernando Valley ANC. After delivering an address to the Los Angeles City Council, Council President Garcetti and Mayor Villaraigosa on April 20th, ANCA-WR Executive Director Andrew Kzirian traveled to Nevada on April 22nd to address the Nevada community commemoration as the keynote speaker. In joining the local community in honoring the 92nd anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, Kzirian urged all attendees to remember that their activism and effort is critically necessary to the success of grassroots. Kzirian also noted the recent cosponsorship support of Senators Reid and Clinton, and that in the current political climate, Turkey finds itself losing ground as media and politicians are beginning to acknowledge the past more truthfully.
ANCA-WR Chairman Raffi Hamparian traveled across California over a three day period to deliver remarks at the Orange County ANC’s “Walk for Remembrance” on April 22nd, the San Gabriel Valley ANC’s annual vigil at the Montebello Armenian Genocide monument on April 23rd, and the City of San Francisco’s commemoration on April 24th which he attended along with representatives from the local San Francisco Bay Area ANC. ANCA-WR reaches out to community organizations: ANCA-WR Board Member Souzi Zerounian-Khanzadian addressed students at the Chamilian Armenian School in Glendale during their April 23rd assembly. In her remarks, she urged students to learn more about the Armenian Genocide and to use their education and future success to promote the Armenian Cause. On April 24th, ANCA-WR Board Member Peter Musurlian addressed the Pasadena Unified School District’s Board of Education during which he stressed the importance of genocide education in public schools. ANCA-WR Community Relations Director Haig Hovsepian participated in a panel discussion reexamining the environment in Turkey following the assassination of newspaper editor Hrant Dink. The event was hosted by the Gay and Lesbian Armenian Society of Los Angeles on April 21st at the West Hollywood Community Center. During the question and answer session, the audience discussed their concerns regarding Armenian Genocide recognition and the voices from Turkey who risk their lives to speak truthfully about the Armenian Genocide. ANCA-WR works with student groups to promote justice: Earlier this month, Hovsepian delivered remarks at California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA) during an event hosted by the CSULA chapter of the Armenian fraternity, Alpha Epsilon Omega. The CSULA event also featured Ms. Susan Douzmanian from the Genocide Education Project and both speakers emphasized the importance of learning the lessons of history and the cycle of genocide that has continued from the Armenian Genocide to this day in the Darfur region of Sudan. Hovsepian also addressed the UCLA community at the event “The Armenian Genocide: Denial and Recognition” which was hosted by the UCLA Armenian Student Association on the evening of April 23rd. In opening the evening’s event Hovsepian touched on the evening’s theme of mobilizing the youth to action in pursuing Armenian Genocide recognition and justice. That same day, former ANCA-WR Executive Director, Vicken Sonnentz-Papazian delivered a presentation to graduate students from Alliant International University. As part of a course designed to raise awareness about multicultural issues and communities, he discussed Armenian American culture and the impact of the Armenian Genocide on the community. On April 20th, Kzirian served as the emcee for the annual ARF-Shant Student Association and Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) “Youth Rally” commemorating the Armenian Genocide. The evening’s event featured several musical performances commemorating the victims of the genocide and a rousing call to action by members of the community and AYF leadership. Kzirian addressed attendees and strongly encouraged them to join the “Click for Justice” campaign, a massive internet advocacy initiative designed to mobilize and reenergize Armenian Americans to support passage of H. Res. 106 and S. Res. 106. Kzirian and Hovsepian joined the AYF for their annual protest at the Turkish Consulate on April 24th. The event drew nearly 10,000 members of the community and media coverage from almost all major news networks, radio stations, and newspapers. In addition to speaking engagements on campus, Hovsepian and ANCA-Western Region interns attended several other events throughout Los Angeles to distribute the ANCA’s “Click for Justice” campaign postcards and t-shirts. These included ANCA-WR booths at both the All-ASA commemoration concert, “Silenced Cries”, which was hosted at USC on April 15th and the “4-24” community concert commemoration hosted at the Knitting Factory in Hollywood on April 24th. The ANCA-WR also worked to raise awareness about the “Click for Justice” campaign on Los Angeles area campuses including UCLA, USC, Glendale Community College as well as at the Homenetmen-Western Region Scout’s commemoration event at Wilson Middle School in Glendale and working with community activist Talish Aghababayan, distributed educational material about the Armenian Genocide and ANC youth programs at the Junior State of America debate conference in Los Angeles on April 21st. “We welcome the thousands of people at these events who have taken our ‘Click for Justice’ message to heart and we were honored to have worked with so many community organizations this month to help commemorate the genocide,” said Hovsepian. “This grassroots outreach and collaboration highlights the importance our community places on the proper recognition of the genocide and that justice must be delivered.” 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.