ANC of Washington Meets with Rep. Jay Inslee

SHORELINE, Wash.–The Chair of the Armenian National Committee of Washington, Armen Abrahamian, and other local constituents met with Congressman Jay Inslees representative Patrick Hogan for a district office meeting on April 12 at the Congressman’s local office. This meeting with Hogan was held to discuss H. Res. 106 and to urge to Congressman to sign on as a co-sponsor. The Evergreen State has long been the home of a vibrant Armenian American community, commented Armenian National Committee of America Western Region Executive Director Andrew Kzirian. Reaching out and meeting with Congressional offices represents the very cornerstone of grassroots advocacy we are proud to see constituents communicating, to their elected officials, their concerns regarding specific legislation. We greatly look forward to working with Congressman Inslee in the future, he added. Upon arrival at Congressman Inslees office, Abrahamian and local constituents provided a background on the Armenian American community in Washington and indicated that the largest number of Armenian Americans in the state reside in Congressman Inslees district. The group then discussed H. Res. 106 is and its importance to the Armenian American Community. Abrahamian explained that since Turkey is not on the path of coming to terms with its past on its own, outside influence, like this resolution, are necessary to have history properly recognized. The meeting noted that with this struggle for recognition has come fierce opposition from Turkey, including threats to countries that have recognized the genocide. Abrahamian explained that these threats have proven to be hollow as countries like France have recognized the Genocide regardless of Turkeys threats and no significant repercussions have materialized. The meeting also covered issues such as the assassination of Turkish Armenian journalist Hrant Dink and the recent postponement of an exhibit about the Rwandan genocide that would be displayed in the United Nations building in New York because of the mention of the Armenian Genocide. The exhibit included a quotation from Rafael Lemkin, the author of the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide who coined the term genocide to describe the genocide of the Armenia’s. One sentence in the quotation referenced the killings of the Armenia’s by the Ottoman Turkish government and how this contributed to the coining of the term genocide. Turkey objected to the quote based on this sentence which led to the postponement of the exhibit altogether. The meeting went very well; Mr. Hogan was very receptive and seemed eager for both Congressman Inslee and him to be invited to any events with the community in the future, said Abrahamian. The resolution is a time sensitive issue but hopefully this meeting will convey, to the Congressman, the importance of this resolution to the Armenian American community. In Riverside, California, ANCA activist Ana Boyajian met with Congressman Ken Calverts district office staff representative Bill Essayli in the Congressman’s Riverside office on April 12, 2007. The meeting was held in order to thank Congressman Calvert for his decision to sign on as a cosponsor for H.Res.106. Congressman Ken Calvert represents the 44th District of Southern California which encompasses western Riverside County and parts of Orange County. Calvert is a member of the Armed Services Committee and the Resources Committee. Ana Boyajian worked with the ANCA-WR office to organize a letter writing campaign to Congressman Calvert during January of this year to urge him to cosponsor H. Res. 106. During the course of the campaign she collected over one hundred letters from constituents informing the Congressman of the importance of the issue. The campaign was very successful and as a result Calvert joined over 150 of his colleagues and signed on as an original cosponsor to the resolution. Boyajian and Essayli spoke regarding the Armenian Genocide and the importance of the resolution to the Armenian community. Boyajian also told Essayli how much ANCA activists appreciate Calverts and his colleagues support for the Resolution. The ANC and its local advocates welcome these opportunities to build strong ties with our elected officials, said Haig Hovsepian, ANCA-WR Community Relations Director. The Riverside area Armenian American community is happy to let Congressman Calvert know that his support on this important issue is important to them and appreciated.

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