ANCA BANQUET HIGHLIGHTS Villaraigosa Calls for a Fight Against the Hoagland Nomination

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa headlined the ANCA banquet, praising the organization for its principled stand on issues and all their accomplishmen’s while calling for continued pressure on the White House to withdraw Richard Hoagland’s nomination as the next ambassador to Armenia because of his genocide denial. Below is the text of the Mayor’s remarks: "I must say that I would like to have an ANC dinner scheduled every night so I can feel as good as I feel tonight, with a community that I feel a great deal of brotherhood with. An organization that has supported me in every campaign, in every fight, no matter how difficult. An organization that I have developed a deep and profound respect for. So thank you so much for the generosity and the warmth of that reception. I am deeply humbled to be here with all of you. Last April 24th, at the Armenian Genocide monument in Montebello, I spoke about courage. I spoke about the courage of a man named John Evans, the United States Ambassador to Armenia, who dared, had the audacity to utter the word genocide. Tonight, I’m going to speak of courage once again. It is the courage that this organization and all of you showed in fighting the nomination of Ambassador Richard Hoagland as the new US Ambassador to Armenia. The courage the Senator Menendez showed when he placed a hold on Ambassador Hoagland’s nomination, stating, "As a leader and defender of democracy, it is our nation’s responsibility to speak out against injustice and support equality and human rights, which is why I am placing a hold on this nominee." Ladies and gentlemen, we need to harness the energy I feel here tonight. Accountability and democracy are powerful forces. We need to employ the energy and pride we feel here tonight. We need to remember the events of the Armenian Genocide by fighting the nomination of Richard Hoagland until he acknowledges the Armenian Genocide as fact. I would like to acknowledge Congressman Adam Schiff, my great friend and your voice in Congress. When we remember the events, we acknowledge. When we accept the truth, we can begin the healing that is so important. You know the Jews have a concept of remembering because they understand that when you remember, you are able to ensure that it never happens again. Today, I welcome you to the City of Los Angeles, the revitalized Downtown. I recommit myself as I have at every opportunity to stand with you, along side of you, to speak out to ensure that not just the issue of genocide, which is so important to you and this organization, but also the issue of diversity, the issue of ensuring that every community is represented in City Hall as we speak. The ANC continues to reawaken our conscience and remind us of the cruelty that man is capable of inflicting upon his fellow man through their efforts to keep the memory of the Armenian Genocide alive. I’d like us all to acknowledge the leadership of the ANC, if they could stand up for a moment, so we can acknowledge them. They were at the forefront of the campaign to stop the nomination of Richard Hoagland and I am confident the ANC will continue to lead the way. I applaud all of you for taking a principled stance you took and standing up for what you believe in. I commit to standing with you today, tomorrow, forever, and for as long as it takes, until that day when the world acknowledges the Armenian genocide. When we all say that genocide, whether it is in Darfur or in the Balkans or in Armenia or anywhere in the world, is unacceptable. And we will work together. I want to thank you again. I am very honored to be your Mayor. And I look forward to continuing to work with this community."

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