BUTTE, MT – Just months after Montana joined the growing list of states that officially acknowledge the Armenian Genocide, ANC Montana Chair Yedvart Tchakerian and ANCA-WR Executive Director Ardashes Kassakhian met with US Senator Conrad Burns (R-MT), at his field office in Butte, Montana.
The July 25th meeting marked the first time Senator Burns met with Armenian-American constituents and with representatives of any Armenian-American community organization.
Kassakhian and Tchakerian discussed issues of particular concern to Armenian-Americans and encouraged to Senator to co-sponsor S.Res.164 which marks the 15th anniversary of the adoption of the United Nation’s Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide. In 1987, the late President Ronald Reagan pushed this legislation through the US Senate.
During the historic meeting, Kassakhian also detailed the many initiatives ANCA has been working on. Kassakhian presented the Senator a carved wooden replica of a Stone Cross (Khatchkar) which symbolizes Armenia’s strong Christian faith and serves as a marker to indicate areas in which Armenians have had a historic presence.
Tchakerian gave the Senator a copy of Peter Balakian’s best selling book The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America’s Response.
Following the meeting, Montana ANC Chair Tchakerian, commenting on the tone of the meeting, said, “We are looking forward to having Senator Burns join the growing bipartisan list of Senators supporting efforts to officially acknowledge the massacres of 1.5 million Christian Armenians as genocide.”
Montana recently became the 32nd state to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide and paved the way for four more states to follow suit. Tchakerian has distributed hundreds of ANCA Genocide Prevention Program Postcards throughout the state of Montana, drawing public attention to the two resolutions in Congress which deal with the Armenian Genocide and other crimes against humanity like the Holocaust, and Cambodian and Rwandan genocides.
Following his meeting with the ANCA-WR, Senator Burns agreed this week to cosponsor the Genocide Resolution, S.Res.164, bringing the number of US Senators supporting this human rights measure to forty.
“I am proud to join with 39 of my Senate colleagues in support of S.Res.164,” said Senator Burns in a statement to the ANCA. “This legislation stresses the importance of remembering and learning the lessons of past crimes against humanity, including the Armenian Genocide, the Holocaust, and the Cambodian and Rwandan genocides, in an effort to stop future atrocities. Silence in the face of genocide only encourages those who would commit such atrocities in the future–a legacy which we cannot afford to pass on to our children.”
Senator Conrad Burns is currently serving his second term in the US Senate and is the only Republican Senator in Montana to be reelected. Senator Burns serves on the powerful Appropriations Committee as well as the Committees on Commerce, Science and Transportation, Energy and Natural Resources, and Small Business.
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.