LOS ANGELES—On May 8, 2015, Levon Kirakosian Esq. and Ashod Mooradian Esq., board members of the Armenian National Committee of America – San Gabriel Valley (ANCA-SGV), met with Nolan V. Rollins, President and CEO of the Los Angeles Urban League, to discuss the common commitment of Armenian Americans and African Americans to civil and human rights as well as to begin a dialogue regarding the establishment of formal ties between the two organizations moving forward.
Kirakosian opened the meeting, which took place at the League’s Los Angeles office, with a discussion of the history of the ANCA’s mission and its ongoing struggle for justice for the Armenian people and the inviolable dignity of all human beings, the ANCA’s commitment to achieving official recognition of the Armenian Genocide, the ANCA’s most recent accomplishments such as the passage of AB1915 despite heavy opposition from Turkey and the ANCA’s current initiatives like Advocacy Day 2015 and HyeVotes.
Kirakosian also spoke movingly about the striking similarities between the Armenian and African American experiences of oppression and the seeking of justice for their people through demands for the universal recognition of the brutal and inhuman injustices suffered by their people as well as the seeking of meaningful reparations from the responsible parties.
Nolan in turn explained the history and accomplishments of the League and the League’s commitment to direct action in the Los Angeles community assisting people of all stripes to get training or education and to obtain employment as well as his driving commitment, through his work at the League and in the community, to leave this world a better place than he found it.
Nolan also whole-heartedly agreed that there are distinct similarities between the life experiences of oppression and the desire for justice that exists deep in the hearts and minds of the African American and Armenian communities. Moreover, Nolan stated that his own survey of the history of the Armenian people, from the time of the Genocide up through the present day, convinced him that much common ground exists between these two minority groups that could serve as a basis for their joining together on issues of civil and human rights.
In addition, Nolan emphasized that the League is unburdened in its ability to recognize historical truths stating that the League is not beholden to political considerations that would prevent it from making a determination or public statement regarding the historical facts of the Armenian Genocide. Nolan went on to say that the murder and massacre of 1.5 million Armenians between 1915 and 1923 was undeniably Genocide and that the Armenian Genocide must be officially recognized worldwide.
Nolan leads the Los Angeles Urban League which is one of the largest and most successful affiliates of the National Urban League, which has affiliates in 100 cities throughout the United States. Since 1921, the Los Angeles Urban League has worked for the advancement of equal opportunities on behalf of African Americans and other minority youths and adults through innovative job training, job placement, youth achievement and business development programs. Nolan’s community-oriented outlook and passionate commitment to truth makes him both a thoughtful man and a great leader.
The ANCA-SGV is a local chapter of the largest and most influential Armenian-American grassroots advocacy organization in the United States. The ANCA-SGV advances the issues of the region’s Armenian-American community on the local, state and federal level. The ANCA-SGV is committed to keep the dream of justice and recognition for the Armenian people alive through direct advocacy to local, state and federal elected officials and involvement with other community organizations such as the Los Angeles Urban League.