200 ANCA-WR Activists Gather At The California State Capitol
SACRAMENTO—Nearly 200 activists, from every corner of California, joined the Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region on Thursday, April 19 for the Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide in the California State Legislature. A busload of activists making the trip from Southern California was escorted through Los Angeles by an official send-off by the “Hye Riders” Motorcycle Club.
Participants observed the State Senate and Assembly commemorations which recognized various community groups including the ANCA-WR and were spiritually inspired by an invocation from Archbishop Mousegh Mardirossian of the Western Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church.
The day’s events were highlighted by passage of two Armenian Genocide Resolutions. Notably, Assembly Member Katcho Achadjian, the only Assembly Member of Armenian descent, introduced and ushered passage of House Resolution 27 which strongly recognizes the Armenian Genocide, designates April 18 – 24, 2012 as a “Week of Remembrance for the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1923,” and calls on the Congress and President of the United States to formally and consistently recognize the Armenian Genocide’s historical truth.
“The State Legislature’s commemorative events and passage of not one, but two Armenian Genocide resolutions, once again highlight California’s role at the forefront of genocide awareness and recognition of the Armenian Genocide in particular,” said Armen Garabedian, ANCA-WR California State Affairs Committee Chair.
Alongside the commemorative events, the ANCA-WR held its annual Advocacy Day in the State Capitol through which participating activists were able to educate state legislators about issues of concern to the Armenian-American community. “I had an incredible opportunity to sit in on a meeting with my Assembly Member, Felipe Fuentes, which really gave me insight of how politics work outside of the classroom. My participation in the Genocide Commemoration on the Assembly and Senate Floors allowed me to apply what I had been studying for the past three years to the real world. […],”stated Ellen Oganesyan, ASA president at the University of California, Santa
She continued, “As an Armenian-American and direct descendant of an Armenian Genocide survivor, Advocacy Day enhanced every aspect of my involvement as an activist against human rights violations.”
Throughout the day and during a reception hosted by several legislators, the ANCA-WR displayed images of Armenian Church properties which have been intentionally destroyed or left in tragic disrepair by the Turkish government in what is historic Armenia.
House Resolution 27 also calls for the restoration of rights due to the “rightful church and lay owners” of similarly situated properties.
“Recognition of the Armenian Genocide is so much more complicated than a simple recognition of a historical fact… The current state of Armenian churches and other properties wrongfully confiscated during the Genocide is just one tangible aspect of this multi-faceted reality,” noted ANCA-WR California State Affairs Committee member, Arpie Jivalagian.
The day was concluded with a screening of “My Mother’s Voice” by Dr. Kay Mouradian. Dr. Mouradian is a novelist and educator who has written about her personal experiences confronting the reality of genocide in her own family. My Mother’s Voice is a documentary based on Dr. Mouradian’s book, “A Gift in the Sunlight.” Dr. Mouradian, a participant in Advocacy Day, also fielded questions from the audience.
“Ultimately, Advocacy Day is an opportunity for community members to actively and actually participate in the political process in furtherance of issues relevant to Armenian-Americans including those beyond Genocide recognition. This year’s strong turnout is encouraging and underscores the significance of our community’s invaluable asset – its activists,” added Garabedian.
Special Message: On May 20, the 2012 ANCA Telethon will bring thousands of people together from coast to coast in support of the educational, charitable, and civic involvement programs of the ANCA Endowment Fund. Be a part of the excitement! Learn more.
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.