Portantino Discusses Turkey’s Genocide Denial with Constituents

Assemblymember Anthony Portantino joined by ANC-WR team.

PASADENA–In a meeting with Assemblymember Anthony Portantino last Friday, members of the Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region (ANCA-WR) discussed several issues of importance to Armenian Americans.

The Assemblymember reiterated that it is unacceptable for Turkey to continue its international campaign of genocide denial. Also discussed was the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) position on the Armenian Genocide and the recent expose by the Southern Poverty Law Center highlighting the Turkish government’s interference in Armenian domestic academia and–politics.

"It’s always a pleasure to meet with the leadership and grassroots activists of the ANC," stated Portantino. "The opportunity to discuss issues important to the Armenian community in my district is incredibly valuable and deeply appreciated," he added.

Among those in attendance were Amy Kaladzhyan and Shant Karnikian, two of the seven ANC-WR Internship Externship Program (ANC-WR IEP) interns. They explained that since meeting with the Assemblymember in Sacramento for the State Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide in April 2008, they had been very active in human rights activities in Santa Barbara.

"Today’s meeting was a great opportunity for us to realize that our Assemblymembers care about issues pertaining to human rights and take the time out of their busy schedules to meet with us on these matters," said Kaladzhyan. "We definitely appreciate the positive and encouraging feedback we received from Asm. Portantino," she added.

Portantino expressed that he is looking forward to the visit of Armenia’s Minister of Education Spartak Seiranyan. The Assemblymember currently serves as the Chair of the Assembly’s Committee on Higher Education and will play a pivotal role in engaging California institutions of higher education, laboratories and industry giants.

ANC of Crescenta Valley activist Arick Gevorkian thanked Portantino for his support and close relationship with the Crescenta Valley community. "It was very pleasing to see what the ANC has achieved as far as building relationships with legislators, Assemblymembers and Congressman," stated Gevorkian. "Assemblyman Portantino has always welcomed us and this is a result of years of relationships building. His sincerity and commitment to the Armenian American community is truly admirable and he a strong voice for our community," he added.

Assemblymember Anthony Portantino was elected to serve the 44th Assembly District in November 2006. The district encompasses Altadena, Duarte, La Canada Flintridge, Pasadena, South Pasadena and Temple City. Portantino has been a long time friend and supporter of the Armenian National Committee and the Armenian American Community in large.

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