SALT LAKE CITY, Utah—Earlier this week, the Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region (ANCA-WR) kicked of its ‘ANCA in Your Neighborhood’ 2017 region-wide tour with its first stop in Salt Lake City, Utah. Next stops are scheduled for Colorado on January 29, Wyoming on January 31, and Nevada on February 5.
“Educating Armenian Americans on public policy issues and providing them the outlet and tools to become civically engaged is a vital component of the ANCA-WR’s core mission to empower the community,” stated ANCA-WR Executive Director Elen Asatryan. “Our expansion of chapters throughout the region in the last several years has resulted in legislative successes, from Armenian Genocide recognition in South Dakota to the defeat of anti-Armenian resolutions in Colorado, Idaho, and Texas, and widespread media coverage of Armenian issues, such as the exposure of Azerbaijan’s propaganda in New Mexico and Utah. The launch of the ANCA in Your Neighborhood tour will help build on these successes while maintaining a constant pulse on the important issues facing our diverse communities, including proper representation across the region and fighting for the security and prosperity of Armenia and Artsakh,” added Asaryan.
Led by ANCA-WR Chief Legislative Consultant Haig Baghdassarian and Community Development Coordinator Simon Maghakyan, the Utah townhall successfully brought together a broad cross section of community members who were both longtime activists and newly interested to hear and discuss ways to advance the Armenian Cause on the local, state and federal levels. An open-dialogue, the gathering provided information on the ANCA-WR structure, current regional priorities, as well as opportunities for activism in Utah, especially in light of the February 2016 praise for the anti-Armenian dictatorship of Azerbaijan in the Utah state legislature, which was subsequently investigated by the state’s main newspaper as a result of local ANCA activism.
“We are grateful to Armenian American leaders and activists in Utah for helping us organize our visit and meetings,” remarked Maghakyan. “Utah’s Armenian community has already succeeded in creating amicable relationships with many public officials, and we look forward to continuing our support for and cooperation with our grassroots in order to help them become an even more active participant in their state’s democratic process.”
During the question-answer period after their presentations, attendees thanked ANCA representatives for the organization’s sustained leadership in Utah, as well as expressed interest in joining Baghdassarian and Maghakyan for the following day’s meetings with elected officials. On Monday, January 9, ANCA-WR’s representatives met with key officials including State Senator Brian Shiozawa, a long-time friend of the Armenian community, to discuss Armenian Genocide education and support for Artsakh. Later in the day, joined by local leaders and activists Hovig Megerdichian, Milena Davtyan, and Raffi Daghlian, ANCA-WR representatives met with Mike Mower, Deputy Chief of Staff for Utah Governor Gary Herbert to discuss issues of concern to the Armenian-American community. Mower, who is a longtime supporter of Christian rights and is versed in Armenian American issues, reaffirmed the Herbert administration’s support for Utah’s Armenian community, as well as the Armenian homeland and the memory of the Armenian Genocide.
To get involved and for additional information email Simon@ANCAWR.org or Call 818.862.2622.
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 and advocates for the social, economic, cultural, and political rights of the Armenian American community and promotes increased civic participation at the grassroots and public policy levels.