Following written and oral testimony from Colorado’s Armenian community led by the Armenian National Committee of America Western Region (ANCA-WR) office in Denver, the Colorado Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission recommended and the State Supreme Court approved the new boundaries of Congressional District 6 to, in part, preserve the Greater Denver area’s vibrant Armenian American constituency, concentrated in the cities of Aurora and Centennial, within a singular district.
“We are gratified that the Colorado Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission, as well as the Colorado Supreme Court, listened to the dynamic Armenian community in the Centennial State to keep it within a single Congressional District so that Coloradans of Armenian heritage have solid representation in the US House of Representatives,” remarked ANCA-WR chairwoman Nora Hovsepian, Esq.
“When the dictatorial regimes in Turkey and Azerbaijan continue their genocidal onslaught on the Armenian homeland while demonizing our community in the USA, it is imperative for Armenian Americans to raise their profiles and voices in Washington,” continued Hovsepian, concluding that “the Colorado Supreme Court’s decision to keep Armenian Americans within one Congressional District should be an inspiration for California and other states similarly addressing 2020 US Census-based redistricting efforts.”
Armenian Americans have called Colorado home since the late 19th century, with waves of immigrants arriving after the 1915-1923 Armenian Genocide, followed by subsequent conflicts and destabilizing developments across the world, including the Lebanese Civil War, the Iran-Iraq War, the Iranian Revolution, the dissolution of the USSR, current economic crises in the Middle East, and Azerbaijan’s onslaughts on Armenians.
Since 1979, the community has been led by the cultural organization Armenians of Colorado (AOC), which jointly leases a Capitol Hill office with ANCA-WR across the street from the Colorado State Capitol, home to the USA’s first Armenian Genocide statehouse khachkar memorial. Celebrated Coloradans of Armenian descent include Colorado Business Hall of Fame laureate LaRae Orullian, Great American Beer Festival founder Charlie Papazian, Alternative Radio founder David Barsamian, and former state administrator Ken Allikian.
While a number of prominent Colorado Armenians and their businesses, such as Denver’s oldest business in existence, Sarkisian’s, the national chain Mike’s Camera, and Isberian Rug Company, are headquartered outside District 6, most recent Armenian immigrants have settled in the district, as evidenced by Census data, as well as the recent establishment of House of Bread, one of the district’s newest businesses. District 6 is also home to the Sardarapat Armenian Memorial Highway, established in 2018 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Armenian independence and survival.
Colorado Congressman Jason Crow, who currently represents District 6, also expressed appreciation that Armenian Americans, along with other immigrant communities, remained within District 6, despite the addition of a new district to Colorado’s congressional map. “I’m proud to represent the most diverse district in Colorado,” remarked Congressman Crow in a statement provided to the ANCA-WR. “With people from all walks of life and over 120,000 immigrants calling our community home, I believe deeply that our diversity of backgrounds and experiences makes us a stronger community,” continued the Congressman. “I will always do my best to represent the diverse voices in Colorado’s Sixth Congressional District – including the Armenian Community – and I look forward to working together with my constituents so I may best serve their interests in Washington, DC.”
The nonpartisan Commission’s description of Colorado Congressional District 6, subsequently approved by the Colorado Supreme Court, in outlining the district’s demographics states that “Aurora and the south suburban cities in Arapahoe County share many similar characteristics in that they are mature suburbs with distinctive neighborhoods, ethnic communities, and they are continuing to grow and are developing their own significant commercial centers.” The reference to ethnic communities, as evidenced by description’s accompanying source citations list, is based on ANCA-WR community development coordinator Simon Maghakyan’s oral testimony on behalf of the entire Armenian community on July 28, 2021.
Earlier, joined by the President of AOC Byuzand Yeremyan, Maghakyan also provided written testimony to the Commission, explaining the importance of keeping Armenian Americans in a singular district. The conclusion of the joint written testimony noted that “Armenian Americans in Colorado are a vibrant constituency for whom federal representation is an existential concern, given genocidal invasions against Armenia and nationwide and global hate crimes against Armenian individuals, communities, and their sacred sites.” The testimony noted that “Because Aurora and its immediate vicinity have the largest concentration of Armenian Americans, and because bipartisan members of Congress from the current district representing this area have demonstrated a commitment to representing Armenian American concerns, we strongly urge you to keep the City of Aurora and its immediate vicinity within the boundaries of a single Congressional District so that we can have proper representation in Congress.”
“It doesn’t matter which party represents the Armenian American community in Congress, so long as we are represented. However, the only path for Colorado’s Armenian Americans to have an effective voice in Congress, regardless of party affiliation, is for the City of Aurora and its immediate vicinity to be part of a single Congressional district,” concluded ANCA-WR’s Maghakyan and AOC’s Yeremyan.
Armenians of Colorado, Inc. (AOC) was established in June 1980 as a 501(c)3 non-profit cultural organization. Its purpose is to create a cohesive Armenian community and to further the understanding of Armenian history, culture, language, customs, and heritage. AOC actively supports issues and concerns of the Armenian-American community in Colorado as well as those identified within the Armenian Diaspora throughout the world.
The Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region is the largest and most influential nonpartisan Armenian-American grassroots advocacy organization in the Western United States. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the Western United States and affiliated organizations around the country, the ANCA-WR advances the concerns of the Armenian-American community on a broad range of issues in pursuit of the Armenian Cause.