LOS ANGELES – The All-Armenian Student Association (All-ASA) has launched a new political lobby corps initiative for Armenian-American college students and alumni in California.
The objective of the new All-ASA Lobby Corps is to utilize the collective political agency of Armenian students throughout California to meet with elected city, state, and congressional offices. This is done in an effort to make young Armenians’ voices heard on issues ranging from localized financial and social topics that directly affect college students, recognition and reparations for the Armenian Genocide, recognition of the independent Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, statewide divestment from the Republic of Turkey, increased economic ties between the United States and Republic of Armenia, etc.
The form to sign up for the Lobby Corps can be found at www.tinyurl.com/AllASALobby. No former lobbying experience is needed to apply, and membership is open to students and alumni who attend, or have previously attended, any institution of higher education throughout the state.
Before meetings with legislators begin, All-ASA Lobby Corps members will engage in trainings set up by the group’s leadership in order to develop necessary advocacy tactics and skills.
Co-directors Arev Hovsepian and Morris Sarafian established this initiative, and are current fourth year undergraduates at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Both currently serve on the executive board of the Armenian Students’ Association (ASA) at UCLA, and have extensive backgrounds in lobbying government officials at the college, city, state, and federal levels on issues pertaining to the Armenian-American community.
“We are very excited to introduce this student-run, student-led initiative to our community that is the first of its kind,” said Hovsepian, current external vice president of the UCLA ASA. “Any student or alumnus who lives in California is welcome to join our group; not just those based in Los Angeles since our goal is to schedule lobby visits all across the state. Through this Lobby Corps, we aim to hold our elected officials accountable to our community not just as Armenians, but as students and as youth who represent a huge voter demographic.”
“Armenian students are already politically engaged on their campuses through their ASA chapters, whether that be in their student governments, through annual protests against genocide denial, on-campus awareness events for the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, or fundraising and support for different projects in the homeland”, said Mikael Matossian, current chair of the All-ASA. “This lobby corps is a tool to further tangibly channel students’ aspirations to become activists, while supporting the All-ASA’s goal of preparing youth to become community leaders.”
The deadline to join the All-ASA Lobby Corps is 11:59 p.m. on Monday April 11th. After assembling a team and initiating a kickoff meeting, the Lobby Corps directors aim to start scheduling meetings with legislators by May, lasting until legislature recesses start in the summer.
The All-Armenian Student Association (All-ASA) works to unite various Armenian-American college student organizations and serve the greater Armenian-American community through cultural, social, educational, and activist programming. As the largest confederation of ASAs in the nation, All-ASA is dedicated to collaboration among its constituent organizations, leadership development of its members, and community service.