Hollywood Community Welcomes Rep. Schiff at Armenian Center

Rep. Schiff speaks with one of many young people in attendance at the town hall meeting

LITTLE ARMENIA—The Armenian National Committee of America, Hollywood Chapter, warmly introduced Congressman Adam Schiff (D—CA) to the Hollywood community in a Town Hall held Sunday evening at the Armenian Youth Center in Hollywood.

“We are genuinely happy to welcome Congressman Schiff to our Armenian community. Should he become our next representative, he will be faced with new challenges particular to the Little Armenia and East Hollywood district, but we are sure that he will be able to work well with our community,” said ANCA of Hollywood board member Tereza Yerimyan.

Congressman Schiff, in his turn, was grateful for the chance to meet members of the Hollywood community and hear their concerns. “I want to thank the ANCA of Hollywood for a wonderful Town Hall this weekend. It was a great opportunity to meet with residents of Hollywood and hear their thoughts and concerns on issues,” said the Congressman. “I’m very excited to have the opportunity to represent this vibrant part of the Armenian community and I’m grateful for their encouragement and support,” he added.

The Congressman’s opening speech to the nearly 200 community members gathered about the center mainly discussed his work on various fronts, including on issues of importance to his Armenian constituents since his election to Congress in 2001 and, also, the newly drawn congressional district lines that have included Little Armenia and East Hollywood in Schiff’s new district.

If he is reelected to Congress this year, Schiff will represent the Hollywood community. “We look forward to building a close relationship with this longtime supporter and friend,” said ANCA of Hollywood chairman Paul Seradarian.

As a current representative of California’s 29th Congressional District, an area with a high population density of Armenian Americans, Schiff has continued to address the community’s concerns, sponsoring the Armenian Genocide Resolution each year and helping, recently, see the passage of the Return of Churches Resolution (H.Res.306) on the House floor, which calls on the Republic of Turkey to return stolen Christian church properties to their rightful owners.

When the Congressman was asked about the Genocide Resolution in a question-and-answer segment following his statements to the audience, he elucidated that, despite broad support for the measure, it was the House leadership that ultimately did not bring the resolution to a floor vote in 2010.

The community also raised questions about other issues of importance to the Armenian community, among them, military aid parity between Armenia and Azerbaijan, U.S. aid to Nagorno-Karabakh, threats by Azerbaijan to shoot down civilian Armenian aircraft, and the reliability of the Obama administration on promises he made to the Armenian community.

On the domestic front, community members expressed concern about issues affecting their wallets—the difficulty in making ends meet because of slow business growth since the 2008 economic meltdown on Wall Street. The community youth also pressed the Congressman about the need for more civic participation of young Armenian Americans.

Schiff addressed these concerns in turn and assured the community he would pay heed to them as he continued to work with the Armenian American community.

While the Town Hall allowed Schiff to meet the Hollywood community, it was an equally opportune moment for the Congressman to see the new Armenian Youth Center in Hollywood. Upon his arrival, the ANCA of Hollywood volunteer team gave him a tour of the center, which houses the offices of many organizations that serve the Hollywood Armenian community, among them the Armenian Youth Federation, the Armenian Relief Society, and Homenetmen Los Angeles.

“The tour allowed the Congressman to see the vibrancy of our community and a Diaspora dedicated to multiple missions, be they cultural, political, educational, humanitarian, or recreational,” said ANCA of Hollywood board member Tsovinar Karapetyan.

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