GLENDALE, CA – The Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region (ANCA-WR) participated in a special live forum organized by KPCC 89.3 FM’s “Talk of the City” radio show examining the state of relations between the various communities in Los Angeles. The show was organized on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the City of Los Angeles Human Relations Commission. The host of the program, Kitty Felde, opened the program with Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa who spoke about the state of the city and how Angelinos are getting along.
“From my vantage point, when you look at this city, it’s the city where the world comes together; a city where we speak 130 languages; where we have some 30 different nationalities that have the largest population here outside of their country of origin,” commented Mayor Villaraigosa. While recognizing certain conflicts, Mayor Villaraigosa stated that “you also see many examples of people working together, people reaching across racial and ethnic and class lines to better understand one another and to work to improve communities.”
The program tackled issues such as racism and other trouble spots faced by LA’s diverse ethnic makeup. ANCA-WR Chairman Steven Dadaian, who was one of the forum’s panelists and representing the Armenian community, stated that “there really is a hidden wealth in this community we have here, this multicultural experiment going on in Southern California.” During the show, one of the issues discussed was the situation with growing tensions in LAUSD schools. Dadaian pointed out during the discussion that the core of the problem in schools is not necessarily racism, rather that “the problem we’re seeing is that we don’t have the level of sensitivity in the schools to try to help these young people integrate.”
Later in the program, Dadaian pointed out that part of understanding each other is about everyone showing concern about injustices that have been committed against one group or another, such as the Armenian Genocide or other genocides. He cited an example of how the ANCA is leading efforts raising awareness about the genocide in Darfur. Dadaian stated, “The Armenian National Committee is heading up the group that is going to be doing that [demonstrating in front of the White House] because we know what its like. We cannot sit by when our brother is persecuted. It’s everyone’s responsibly to make sure there is justice for everyone.”
In addition to the ANCA, the panel also included Rabbi Allen Freehling, Executive Director of the LA Human Relations Commission; Antonia Hernandez, President and CEO of the California Community Foundation; Cookie Lommel, Founder of Operation Unity and Executive Director of the Jewish Labor Committee Western Region; Sireen Sawaf of the Hate Crimes Prevention Department of the Muslim Public Affairs Council; and Kara Inae Carlisle, Director of Public Affairs and Community Relations for the Korean American Coalition.
Participation in this special radio show is one of several initiatives the ANCA-WR is pursuing to elevate awareness of the Armenian community in Los Angeles in addition to building bridges with other communities and the leadership of the city. To hear this “Talk of the City” segment, click on the “Listen” link referring to the Tuesday, January 31st “How Are We Getting Along?” program at http://www.scpr.org/programs/talkcity/listings/2006/01/totc_20060130.shtml. The program was also aired on television cable channel LA 36.
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.