Pasadena ANCA Works Closely on Redistricting

Pasadena ANCA's David George Gevorkyan at the redistricting hearing

PASADENA—The Armenian National Committee of America Pasadena Chapter worked closely with public officials and the general Pasadena community during the Pasadena’s redistricting efforts.

The ANCA – Pasadena Chapter formed a separate Redistricting Subcommittee and held four community feedback forums and an education workshop about the concept and process of redistricting. The Pasadena Chapter worked to secure the integrity of district border lines to ensure all changes are minimal and within the legal requirements. Dialogue between the ANCA – Pasadena Chapter and the Redistricting Task Force Committee was focused on district boundaries of District 2 (Vice-Mayor Margaret McAustin) and District 4 (Councilmember Gene Masuda) which contain greater distributions of Pasadena’s American-Armenian population.

The ANCA – Pasadena Chapter, represented by Treasurer David George Gevorkyan, demonstrated the importance of the district lines of the two city districts. As other community groups proposed redrawing district boundaries to isolate Pasadena’s American-Armenian community into a single district, the ANCA – Pasadena Chapter fought to ensure that no single ethnic group is segregated from balanced citywide representation.

David George Gevorkyan worked closely with city staff, Redistricting Task Force members and public officials to ensure that the results of redistricting was legal and fair, including for the American-Armenian community. Gevorkyan stated that “intentionally concentrating or dividing any ethnic or interest group is interpreted to be unethical and illegal under redistricting laws.”

While certain ethnic and political groups proposed creating a separate “Armenian district,” Gevorkyan explained that “American-Armenians share the communities in which they live and work to improve the quality of life for all community members. By allowing certain individuals or interest groups to use redistricting for political opportunities, segregating Armenians into one district would be illegal and it would limit their voice and the number of elected officials that represent them.

The Pasadena Redistricting Taskforce unanimously agreed to the proposed changes as presented by the ANCA – Pasadena Chapter and moved the map for adoption by the City Council. Current ANCA – Pasadena Chapter Chair Shoghig Yepremian stated that “the American-Armenian community has generations of history within Pasadena, and has contributed to the City of Pasadena through its involvement in the Pasadena community.”

During the final Redistricting Taskforce meeting, Yepremian explained that “the American-Armenian community and the ANCA have continuously worked with community organizations and local officials to improve the quality of life in Pasadena through youth programs, faith-based institutions, volunteerism, and successful small businesses. The proper distribution of the American-Armenian community must be taken into account.” On April 30, 2012, the Pasadena City Council approved the redistricting map as proposed by the Redistricting Taskforce Committee with a favorable vote of 7 to 1. During the following meeting, the City Council introduced the new ordinance and adopted the improved district boundaries for the next ten years.

Pasadena ANCA Genocide Commemoration Efforts
On Tuesday, April 24, the Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD) School Board unanimously passed the adoption of the “Armenian Genocide Education Resolution” (Res. #2199). The purpose of the resolution is to incorporate education about the Armenian Genocide into the Pasadena Unified School District’s curriculum and to provide training for school teachers who will be providing the education to PUSD students. During the meeting, ANCA Pasadena Chapter Chair Shoghig Yepremian affirmed the importance of genocide education within the school curriculum and thanked the PUSD Board for taking this important action.

During public comment, PUSD Superintendent John Gundry expressed great support and commended the purpose of the proposed resolution. PUSD School Board President Renatta Cooper announced that the program was long-awaited and directed staff to report back on “the soonest possible date the program could be implemented.” ANCA – Pasadena Chapter will be working closely with PUSD officials to develop the subject material and help implement the programs outlined in the resolution for the 2012-2013 school year.

On Monday, April 23, the Pasadena City Council presented genocide proclamation to the Armenian National Committee of America Pasadena Chapter, to show its support of the Armenian American Community. To receive the Proclamation, Pasadena ANCA Board members were present as well as representatives from Homenetmen Azadamard Chapter, The Armenian Cultural Foundation, Hamazkayin, Pasadena Armenian Police Advisory Council (PAPAC), Armenian Rights Council of America (ARCA), and other community leaders from the Armenian American Community. ANCA Board Chairperson, Shoghig Yepremian, received the City’s Proclamation on behalf of the entire community on this momentous day.

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