Sen. Kevin de León to be Honored as ANCA-WR Legislator of the Year

Sen. Kevin de Leon (third from right) with ANCA-WR leaders following the passage last month in the State Senate of AJR32, the bill recognizing Artsakh's independence


GLENDALE—The Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region announced Wednesday that incoming California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León will be honored at the 2014 ANCA-WR Annual Gala Banquet with the organization’s esteemed Legislator of the Year award for his principal role and outspoken position on the Armenian Genocide and the recognition of Artsakh’s Independence. The award will be personally presented to Senator de León at the ANCA-WR’s gala event on Sunday, November 2 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills.

“From his early days in the CA Assembly to his current position in leadership, Senator de León has been a true friend and a champion of the Armenian Cause. The ANCA-WR Board of Directors has named Senator de Leon as Legislator of the Year to acknowledge and thank him for always standing strong on the side of justice and allowing our community to do the same” stated ANCA WR Chair, Nora Hovsepian. “We look forward to building on our strong foundation as he assumes the role of Senate President Pro Tem during a time our community prepares for the Genocide Centennial,” added Hovsepian.

Just this year, Senator de León authored SJR 21, the most strongly worded Armenian Genocide Resolution to date, and presented the historic AJR 32 in the CA Senate recognizing Artsakh’s independence. Furthermore, he led the unanimous passage of AB 1915, the Armenian Genocide Education Act, which promotes the inclusion of Armenian Genocide survivor and witness oral testimony into the California public school human rights curriculum; AJR 41, a resolution honoring and commending the extraordinary service of the Near East Relief and the American people who helped save over 132,000 orphans and provided humanitarian aid to the victims of the Armenian Genocide; and AJR 35, designating the week of April 20 to 26, 2014, as “California Week of Remembrance for the Armenian Genocide of 1915–1923” in the CA State Senate.

In addition, Senator de León, along with his colleagues, hosted the annual reception commemorating the Armenian Genocide at the CA State Capitol during the 2014 ANCA WR Advocacy day for over 350 community activists and assisted in featuring the ANCA-WR’s exhibit in the Capitol Rotunda showcasing its “America We Thank You” tribute to Near East Relief, in order to educate the public about the role of the American People, and specifically the people of California, in rescuing hundreds of thousands of refugees and orphans who survived the Armenian Genocide by raising $117 million ($2.7 billion present value) and administering over 400 orphanages, hospitals, food & clothing distribution centers, and vocational training schools throughout the Ottoman Empire from 1915-1930.

Senator Kevin de León was elected to serve the 22nd Senate District in November 2010. The district includes all or parts of the City of Los Angeles, Alhambra, East Los Angeles, Florence-Graham, Maywood, San Marino, South Pasadena, Vernon, and Walnut Park. On June 16, Senator de León was elected by his colleagues as President pro tempore of the California State Senate, effective October 15, 2014.

Prior to being elected to the CA Senate, De León served four years as a State Assembly member for the 45th district that included Hollywood and more specifically Little Armenia. One of his first priorities when he took office at the time was to place the Little Armenia Next Exit signs that were 10 years overdue. Senator De León has spent a lifetime fighting to empower working famienglies and the poor—as a community organizer, English as a Second Language and U.S. Citizenship teacher, and an advocate for public schools. During his five years at the California Teachers Association, De León fought for additional funding for “high-priority schools” in low-income neighborhoods, more school construction, and health insurance for children.

Senator De León grew up in the San Diego barrio of Logan Heights. He was the first in his family to graduate from high school. He attended UC Santa Barbara and graduated from Pitzer College at the Claremont Colleges with Honors.

The 2014 ANCA WR Annual Gala Banquet will be held on Sunday, November 2, 2014 at the world-famous Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, CA. Individuals interested in attending the Annual Gala Banquet are encouraged to purchase tickets online at www.ancawr.org/gala or call 818.533.8587. To obtain individual or corporate sponsorship information visit www.ancawr.org/gala/sponsorship or call 818.500.1919. For up to the minute updates on the event like the ANCA Western Region Facebook page or visit ancawr.org.

The ANCA WR Gala Banquet represents the single largest annual gathering of Armenian American public policy leaders throughout the western United States, and is attended by over 1,000 prominent Members of Congress, state legislators and officials, community leaders, and many of the organization’s strongest activists and generous donors from California, Nevada, Arizona, and throughout the western United States.

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.

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