GLENDALE, California — On Wednesday, June 7, the Armenian National Committee of America Western Region (ANCA-WR) organized a post-election press conference with a broad cross-section of Armenian American community organizations to recognize the new milestone in political empowerment and address the anti-Armenian campaign attacks intended to derail Paul Krekorian’s election as the democratic nominee for the 43rd California Assembly seat.
“This is a historic day in achieving a new level of political presence in California for the Armenian community which is a symbol of our increasing political and collective strength–this is something we achieved together as a community,” said Zanku Armenian, Board Member of the ANCA-WR. “It is our hope that this will usher in a new era of unprecedented cooperation, bringing together all of our strength so that we may lead the Armenian community to new levels of achievement.”
Community leadership representing organizations throughout the Southern California Armenian American community also uniformly delivered a clear message by condemning the mailer and calling campaign sponsored by the California Latino Leadership Fund but widely believed to have been orchestrated by Frank Quintero’s campaign and his political advisors. During the last several weeks of the campaign Paul Krekorian, the ANCA and the Armenian community were characterized as “terrorists” or terrorist sympathizers. In addition, the Quintero campaign, through several mail pieces, demonized the Armenian community’s participation in the democratic process by making allegations of wide-spread voter fraud.
“Unfortunately, during this campaign, ugly, anti-Armenian racist acts were committed against Paul Krekorian, the ANC, and our community,” said Armenian. “Together, we are standing before you today to say that this is unacceptable, we are outraged and we will hold all those individuals, organizations and institutions involved in this accountable.”
During the press conference each of the Armenian American organizations and Armenian American public officials pledged to stand together to fight the racist attacks and to declare that those responsible for these unethical and vicious attacks against the community will be held fully accountable.
In closing the press conference, Armenian said “Let me close with this symbolic statement: On June 6th we took our people’s ladle and dipped it into the pot of ‘Herriseh’ to get our just share… and this time our ladle was made of steel.”
Below are excerpts of statements delivered during the press conference:
ARCHBISHOP MOUSHEGH MARDIROSSIAN Prelate, Western Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America
“Faith without toil is dead, and during this campaign we transformed faith into work, and embodied faith to successfully carry-out that which is kind and worthy. At times, this campaign departed the acceptable norms for a competitive environment, resorting instead to mudslinging in an attempt to shake our honor and unity, and to divide us. But we, as law-abiding citizens did what we had to with clear intent and knowledge. What has happened to us is unacceptable and must be pursued to secure justice and accountability.”
ARCHBISHOP VATCHE HOVSEPIAN Representing Prelate Hovan Derderian, Primate, Western Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church of North America
“We, as Armenians, have a mission to carry-out in this community. We are not intimidated by anyone because we are legal and long-time citizens of this country. We are here today under one name. We are Armenian and will not allow anyone to tamper with our pride.”
REVEREND JOE MATOSSIAN Minister to the Armenian Evangelical Union of North America
“There is no doubt that we are shaken by these hurtful announcements against us… when attempts to divide us are thrown our way, we will make them fail with our commitment to stand as one. We are an outstanding nationality, God-fearing and one. We will fight for justice.”
FR. ANTON SAROYAN Armenian Catholic Exarchate of North America
“We are amazed that the guarantee to the right of freedom of expression in the Unites States is manipulated by certain individuals in an attempt to gain political victory, with excuses that are based solely on deceit and selfishness.
We urge all Armenians to stand in support of all our national, social and religious organizations and institutions, specifically the Armenian National Committee, which work with dedication, sacrifice and persistence to protect our just rights and national identity.”
RAFI MANOUKIAN Glendale City Councilmember
“There are acceptable norms to conducting campaigns, but Paul Krekorian’s opponents not only crossed the line, but dared to do the unthinkable by attacking his wife, family, and nationality. In an attempt to inject fear into the community, they even accused Armenians of being “terrorists.”
Believe me, this matter is not over; now comes the matter of accountability, which we will demand from all those who created this environment.”
BOB YOUSEFIAN Glendale City Councilmember
“This victory is for what is honorable, what is right. The people unanimously rejected horrible accusations by a candidate, and rejected Quintero’s attempt to divide and conquer. We were tested, but sent a message that we are together and it did not work.”
ARA NAJARIAN Glendale City Councilmember
“June 6th brought heights of elation for me, but also a deep wound… The attack was not just on Paul but also on the ANC, and was totally baseless. Imagine attacking the work of the ANC which is to educate children; to educate and get justice for the Armenian Genocide. This is a continuation of the genocide, where the victim is demonized one more time; it’s reprehensible.
And I pledge never to forget; I will fight like I’ve never fought before. Look who we have gathered here. We are united and one force.”
LEONARD MANOUKIAN Chairman of Armenian National Committee-Political Action Committee
“The ANC-PAC selected Paul Krekorian not because he is Armenian but because he is the right man. He proved himself; his popularity grew, and when his opponents discerned this, they resorted to tactics that are an abomination, and disrespectful to the community.
The ANC-PAC appealed to the community, the Armenian electorate to stand up—not for the organization but for what is right—to bring participation to the political arena, and they did.
We now have a community that is well-aware of their ability, energy and talent, whereas before they only saw the mere potential of its strength.”
Organizations and representatives at press conference: Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, Western Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America; representing Primate Hovan Derderian, Archbishop Vatche Hovsepian, Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America; Joe Matossian Minister to the Armenian Evangelical Union of North America; representing Fr. Anton Saroyan Armenian Catholic Exarchate of North America, Antoine Karamalian; Glendale City Council Members Rafi Manoukian, Ara Najarian, Bob Yousefian; Dr. Armine Hacopian, Vice President of Glendale Community College Board of Trustees; Angela Savoyan, Chairwoman ARS Western Region Board; Hrair Sherikian, Hamazkayin Western Region Chairman; Parsegh Kartalian representing AGBU; Nora Khatchadourian, Armenian Society of Los Angeles; Vahig Zadourian, Davidian & Mariamian Educational Foundation; Sari Shirinian, AYF; Vahe Shahinian, ANC Burbank; Khatchik Khalatian, Homenetmen Ararat Chapter; Zanku Armenian and Steve Artinian, ANCA Western Region Board representatives; Leonard Manoukian, ANC-PAC; Alina Azizian, Glendale ANC.
Photo Captions: Photo Credit: Raffi Ghorghorian
1. Paul Krekorian, newly elected democratic nominee for the 43rd California Assembly seat, at ANCA post election press conference
2. Rev. Joe Matossian, Minister to the Armenian Evangelical Union of North America addresses the media at ANCA post election press conference
3. Leonard Manoukian, Chairman of Armenian National Committee-Political Action Committee at ANCA post election press conference
4. Rafi Manoukian, Glendale City Councilmember at ANCA post election press conference