San Diego, CA – As part of the Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region’s (ANCA-WR) ongoing efforts of reaching out to political party leadership and membership to ensure that Armenian American issues are appropriately addressed by local, state, and federal representatives, the ANCA-WR participated in the recently held California Democratic Party Annual Convention.
Representatives from the board of directors, ANCA-WR staff, and interns joined the California Democratic Party for its 2007 annual convention in San Diego last week. The convention was the first of the year for the party and featured the welcoming and orientation of new party delegates including ANCA-WR Board Member, Aida Dimejian, an appointee of CA State Assemblymember Anthony Portantino. The ANCA-WR also hosted an exhibitor booth at the event where ANCA-WR Community Relations Director Haig Hovsepian worked with ANCA-WR intern Hovhannes Harutyunyan as well as South Bay ANC Chair, Chris Yemenidjian to help introduce the organization and Armenian American issues to convention attendees.
“The ANCA-WR is the largest Armenian American public policy organization in California – this organization is committed to full participation in the political process,” stated Andrew Kzirian, Executive Director of the ANCA-WR. “The ANCA-WR shall continue playing a strong role – through heightened and active convention participation in both party conventions – to fully represent the concerns of the Armenian American community,” he added.
Dimejian participated in the delegate orientation programs and meetings and attended the convention addresses to the delegates. Speakers included party members, candidates and officials such as Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Christopher Dodd, John Edwards, and Dennis Kucinich as well as US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Meanwhile, Hovsepian discussed the organization and issues with delegates visiting the ANCA-WR’s booth while Harutyunyan helped distribute information regarding the ANCA’s “Click for Justice” campaign – urging the US House leadership to take immediate action on the Armenian Genocide resolution in the US House, H. Res. 106, and related genocide legislation.
“As a delegate to this convention, I truly appreciated the opportunity to meet leaders of the Democratic Party and discuss contemporary political issues,” stated Assemblymember Portantino’s appointee, ANCA-WR Board Member Aida Dimejian. “It is important to be equally engaged in federal, state and local politics to fully partake in the civic process,” she added.
Yemenidjian took the opportunity to thank Senator Clinton for her recent cosponsorship of the Armenian Genocide resolution in the US Senate, S. Res. 106. Dimejian also met with San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, thanking him for recently working with the San Francisco Bay Area ANC to sponsor an Armenian Genocide commemoration ceremony. Dimejian also thanked him for his recent letter to Speaker Pelosi urging her to promptly call H. Res. 106 to a vote.
Hovsepian and Dimejian thanked northern California Congresswoman Barbara Lee for her support of H. Res. 106 and southern California Congressman Adam Schiff for his leadership in addressing the Armenian Genocide, particularly his recent questioning of Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice during a US House Appropriations subcommittee hearing.
The group also had the opportunity to meet with several other local elected officials including Glendale City Clerk Ardashes Kassakhian and former Glendale Mayor Rafi Manoukian as well as CA State Assembly Members Anthony Portantino and Paul Krekorian who also took time to visit the ANCA-WR booth on the convention floor.
“As we settle into the new legislative term, we are happy to participate in this convention with friends and advocates from the Armenian National Committee taking the lead in raising awareness about Armenian American issues. Additionally, it is important to set an example of the value of civic engagement and service by serving the Californian community as conference attendees, delegates and elected officials,” said Hovsepian.
The ANCA-WR also attended the 2006 California Democratic Party Convention in Sacramento. Since then the ANCA-WR has also participated in both semi-annual conventions hosted by the California Republican Party.
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 #1 Caption: Hovsepian and Dimejian with US Representative Barbara Lee (center, left).
Photo #2 Caption: Dimejian with San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom.