Glendale, CA – Garo Paylan, who is an Armenian member of the HDP bloc in the Turkish Parliament and Member of the Parliamentary Committees on Constitution and Budget, will be honored with the ANCA-WR Freedom Award at the Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region’s (ANCA-WR) Annual Gala Banquet on Sunday, October 8, 2017 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, CA. The ANCA-WR Gala Banquet is the most prestigious Armenian-American grassroots public affairs event held in the Western United States.
Past ANCA-WR Freedom Award recipients include the Artsakh President Bako Sahakyan, U.S. Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA), German Green Party Co-Leader Cem Özdemir, and the Grammy-nominated rock band System of a Down.
“Garo Paylan is a true modern Armenian hero who fearlessly and courageously speaks truth to power as he seeks justice for Armenians everywhere directly from the Turkish government. He is a worthy recipient of the ANCA’s most prestigious Freedom Award, and our community is eager to honor him for his ongoing bravery and to hear him speak at the ANCA-WR Grassroots Conference as well,” remarked ANCA-WR Chair Nora Hovsepian.
Garo Paylan was elected into Turkey’s Grand National Assembly on June 7, 2015, as the representative of Istanbul’s 3rd electoral district. He is one of the founding members of the progressive pro-minority Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP). Paylan is one of three current Armenian members of the Turkish Parliament, the first to be elected in decades.
Garo Paylan is a founding member of People’s Democratic Party and is a deputy representing the 3rd district in Istanbul. Paylan is also a member of Turkey’s Armenian community and has long been an activist on human rights, Kurdish and Armenian issues. Before joining the parliament, Paylan served in the central committee of HDP and also served on the management of Armenian schools in Istanbul. He has long promoted bilingual education and minority rights in Turkey and has been actively engaged in raising awareness on discrimination towards minorities, the rights of the Armenian community in Turkey, Turkish-Armenian reconciliation and especially on the Hrant Dink murder case. Mr. Paylan is from a family originally from Malatya.
Since taking office, Paylan has been an outspoken advocate of Armenian Genocide recognition in Turkey, and has vehemently fought against Armenian Genocide denial. On April 21, 2016, Paylan displayed the photographs and names of numerous Ottoman-era Armenian politicians who were murdered, arrested, or exiled during the Armenian Genocide. Paylan condemned the murder of the Armenian politicians, calling upon the Turkish state to come to terms with its violent past. Following this event, members of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) physically and verbally targeted Paylan during a parliamentary meeting, instigating a brawl-type altercation.
Despite violent attacks, hate speech, and temporary suspension from Parliament, Garo Paylan continues to fight for the Armenian Cause, and is neither intimidated nor discouraged by the obstacles presented by the ruling factions of the Turkish government.
Individuals interested in attending the banquet are encouraged to contact the ANCA-WR office at (818) 500-1918 or visit https://www.ancawr.org/gala/.
The fourth biennial ANCA-WR Grassroots Conference will be held at the Pasadena Convention Center on Friday-Saturday October 6-7, 2017, featuring several panelists who will address issues relating to legal avenues to reparations, political and legislative actions, community organizing, and advocacy through Film & The Arts. Participants will enjoy the added treat of hearing Garo Paylan deliver a keynote speech at the conference and engage in a question and answer session. Participation in the conference is free, but pre-registration is required at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2017-anca-wr-grassroots-conference-registration-37526433573.
The Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region is the largest and most influential 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.