Armenian Americans Participate in Inaugural Activities in Record Numbers

WASHINGTON–Armenian Americans from across the country participated in week-long activities marking the inauguration of the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, setting the stage for a cooperative working relationship with a new Administration on a range of community priorities, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

"It was wonderful seeing so many Armenian American community activists here in Washington DC for the historic inauguration of President Barack Obama," said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. "As a community, we’re already building on our unprecedented level of activity in the Presidential and Congressional elections by renewing our efforts to end the cycle of Genocide ‘s from Armenian Genocide denial to the ongoing tragedy in Darfur ‘s in addition to strengthening U.S.-Armenia relations and ensuring a balanced policy in the Caucasus."

Many of the early arrivers to the nation’s capital were welcomed at the Armenian American inaugural reception held on January 19th in the Aramian Conference Hall in the ANCA headquarters. The event coincided with ANCA "Cans for the Cause" collection efforts, a nationwide campaign to assist local food banks initiated in response to President Obama’s challenge to expand National Day of Service activities.

On inauguration day, Armenian Americans braved the freezing cold temperatures and joined the over 2 million participants at President Barack Obama’s swearing in ceremony. Among those in attendance was Manas Boujikian, a longtime community leader and ground-breaking pioneer in the growth of the Armenian lobby in Washington, DC, and Asbarez Armenian Daily Newspaper English Editor, who chronicled his time in Washington with daily updates on the pages of the widely-read newspaper.

Coming all the way from San Francisco to take part were the eighth grade class of the Krouzian Zakarian Vasbouragan (KZV) Armenian School, led by instructor Michael Armstrong, who had started planning early, made arrangemen’s for the students to be part of the historic occasion. As in past years, prior to their departure from the nation’s capital, the KZV students visited the ANCA headquarters and reminisced about the inauguration and discussed the key civic role youth play in advocating Armenian American concerns.

On inauguration evening, ANCA staff and activists participated in a diverse set of inaugural balls, reconnecting with fellow campaign activists and working to expand the network of supporters of Armenian American concerns.

Underscoring Key Armenian American Policy Concerns

In the days leading up the President Obama’s inauguration, Armenian American advocacy, civic, religious, charitable, and educational organizations joined together in congratulating President-Elect Barack Obama and outlining the community’s expectations of the incoming Obama-Biden Administration.[Read the full text of the letter]

Armenian American activists echoed these sentimen’s in an ANCA congratulatory Webmail campaign, launched just hours after the
President took his oath of office, encouraging him to stand strong against foreign intervention in U.S. policy by continuing to speak honestly about the Armenian Genocide, ending the genocide in Darfur, mediating a fair and lasting peace in Nagorno Karabagh, and strengthening the U.S.-Armenia relationship. Activists can participate in the ANCA Webmail campaign to President Obama at the ANCA website.

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Editor’s Note: Photos and Armenian American commentary on the Presidential inauguration will be posted on the ANCA Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/ANCA/16968936858

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