Congressmen Support Genocide Affirmation

GLENDALE–Two weeks into the Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region 2002 Congressional Outreach Campaign–Members of Congress–who met with Armenian American activists across the Western United States–pledged their strong support for ANCA’s Armenian Genocide affirmation agenda for the 2002 legislative year.

Armenian American activists responded enthusiastically to the ANCA-WR 2002 Congressional Outreach Campaign by participating in meetings with several Members of Congress including Rep. Adam Schiff (Calif.-27)–Rep. Howard Berman (Calif.-26)–and Rep. Bob Filner (Calif.-50).

With Genocide affirmation initiatives topping the ANCA’s 2002 legislative agenda–ANCA-WR activists kept members of Congress informed on the organization’s progress on state and federal level legislation affirming the historical fact of the Armenian Genocide. A number of other issues–including President Bush’s waiver of Section 907–were also raised by the ANCA-WR. As a result of the presidential waiver of Section 907–the US government may now provide direct military assistance to Azerbaijan. Last year–the ANCA and a broad-based coalition of the Armenian American community’s most influential organizations opposed efforts to waive provisions of Section 907–arguing that such an action will compromise the security of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh.

In a meeting with ANC chapter representatives from California’s 27th Congressional District–Rep. Adam Schiff thanked the community leaders for their work in the 27th Congressional District and for the organization’s leadership on Armenian American issues. Speaking of last year’s Congressional agenda–Rep. Schiff reminded the community representatives of his readiness to advocate for the Armenian American community’s concerns–as presented by the ANCA–including the recognition of the Genocide through the legislative process. Rep. Schiff also spoke of the importance of Congressional recognition and affirmation of the Armenian Genocide–and reiterated his willingness to work with the ANCA to introduce an Armenian Genocide Resolution in the current 107th Congress.

In meetings with Rep. Howard Berman (Calif.-26) and Rep. Bob Filner (Calif.-50)–ANCA-WR representatives briefed the officials on the Armenian American communities in the San Fernando Valley and San Diego–respectively. The ANCA-WR representatives also urged the two Armenian Caucus Members to actively advocate for issues of concern to their Armenian American constituents–which invariably includes supporting federal legislation that properly recognizes the Genocide.

"Our meetings with Members of Congress thus far have been extremely successful in conveying to them the importance of Genocide affirmation to the Armenian American community–and its willingness to explore all possibilities–including Congressional legislation–to set the historical record straight," explained ANCA-WR Government Relations Director Ardashes Kassakhian. "We have explained to members of Congress that an Armenian Genocide Resolution and other Genocide affirmation activities–along with the maintenance of Section 907–and aid to Armenia and Karabakh remain the highest priorities of our community."

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