South Florida ANC Activists Reach Out to Elected Officials

FT. LAUDERDALE–Florida ANC activists joined with ANCA national and regional staff in a meeting on August 18 with representatives of Senator Bill Nelson’s (D-FL) district office to discuss issues of concern to the Armenian American community in the Sunshine State–reported the Armenian National Committee of Florida.

The meeting is among the first in a series of activities involving members of Congress and the Florida Armenian community during a 10-day trip to the region by ANCA Eastern Region Director Doug Geogerian and ANCA Government Affairs Director Abraham Niziblian.

Over a dozen Florida Armenia’s participated in the meeting Sen. Nelson’s Broward County Regional Office Director Willowstine Lawson organized. Activists joining Niziblian and Geogerian were ANC South Florida Chairman Bedo Der-Bedrossian–Rev. Vasken Bekiarian–Pastor of St. Gregory Armenian Church of South Florida–Marilyn Vaboolian McClean–Sonya Toumayan–Gloria Toroyan–Michael Toumayan–Arlys Koushakjian–Naomi Davitian–Eugenie Megherian Rodrigues–Sevag Tokatlian–and Siran Der-Bedrossian. Michael Toumayan recently finished an eight-week internship at the ANCA national headquarters–during which time he met with Senator Nelson and his Washington–DC staff.

During the hour-long meeting with Lawson–community participants urged the first term Senator to take an active role on a number of key Armenian American concerns including Congressional reaffirmation of the Armenian genocide–stronger US-Armenia bilateral economic and political relations–and a lasting and equitable resolution to the Mountainous Karabagh conflict. Der Bedrossian specifically asked that the Senator cosponsor S.Res.164–legislation marking the 15th anniversary of US implementation of the Genocide Convention. The resolution–introduced by Senators John Ensign (R-NV) and Jon Corzine (D-NJ)–currently has 40 cosponsors. Der-Bedrossian also briefed Lawson about activities planned in commemoration of the 90th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide next year in South Florida and invited Senator Nelson to join the Armenian American community in marking this solemn occasion.

Participants urged the Senator’s support for S.1557–which would ensure permanent normal trade relations between the US and Armenia. The ANC activists will be meeting personally with Senator Nelson regarding these and other pressing issues later this week.

Geogerian and Niziblian arrived in Ft. Lauderdale this past weekend–where they joined the South Florida community in celebrating the Feast of the Ascension and the Blessing of the Grapes at St. Gregory Armenian Church. Last night–Niziblian and Geogerian gave an update on Armenian American advocacy efforts in Washington–DC and around the nation to local activists at a public forum hosted by the ANC of Florida. Over the next seven days–they will be traveling throughout the state–meeting with Members of Congress and local Armenian American activists in an effort to strengthen the community’s political advocacy efforts in Florida.

The Armenian National Committee is the largest Armenian American grassroots political organization in Florida and nationwide. The ANC actively advances a broad range of issues of concern to the Armenian American community.

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