October 30, 2003
For Immediate Release
Contact: Ardashes Kassakhian
tel: (818) 500-1918

TEXAS ANC AND AYF “DRO” CHAPTER BACK MAYORAL HOPEFUL IN HOUSTON

HOUSTON, TX — As the days to Election Day dwindle down in Houston, Texas, the Texas Armenian National Committee and the Houston Armenian Youth Federation “Dro” Chapter are working together to back former Houston Councilman Orlando Sanchez for the office of Mayor. Armenian National Committee of Texas members Krikor Kasparian, Sarkis Chenkerian, Hovig Frankian and Osana Anki met with the mayoral candidate at the Westchase Hilton Hotel on October 23, 2003. The meeting was one of many that the ANC has had with the former Councilman, who has expressed interest in working with the Armenian community in Texas. The Texas ANC spoke to the candidate about the needs of the Armenian American community.

The main topics discussed with the candidate were the Armenian community of Houston at large, and the activities of organizations such as the Texas ANC, the Armenian Relief Society “Shogher” Chapter, Armenian Youth Federation “DRO” Chapter and the Armenian Church.

A key issue that ANC members brought up with the Mayoral hopeful was the proper recognition by the city of Houston of the Armenian Genocide of 1915. The Texas ANC provided information to Mr. Sanchez about the Armenian Genocide and asked him to issue a proclamation recognizing all genocides with specific reference to the Armenian Genocide as the first modern genocide of the 20th century. Mr. Sanchez promised that he will work hard to ensure that the Armenian community is recognized by the city council regardless of the outcome of the elections. Representatives of the Texas ANC presented Mr. Sanchez with a copy of “The Burning Tigris”, the best selling book about the Armenian Genocide by Peter Balakian.

Other issues discussed were the lack of outreach to minority groups in Houston and the need to promote harmony with peoples of all backgrounds residing in Houston. Mr. Sanchez promised to address these issues and use the office of mayor to ensure that no community is ignored. Councilman Sanchez stated that he was very pleased with his meeting with the Texas ANC and acknowledged the members of the AYF “Dro” Chapter who have been walking precincts during their spare time to talk to and educate voters before Election Day. He also visited members of the Armenian community of Houston at the annual Armenian festival at the local Armenian Church, Saint Kevork.

Mr. Sanchez is the only Republican in the mayor’s race and ran for mayor in the last election falling short of winning the seat by a mere 11,000 votes against incumbent mayor Lee Brown. He is now considered amongst the top two candidates and if elected will become Houston’s first Hispanic mayor.

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.

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