ANC-WR To Honor California Attorney General At Annual Banquet With “Freedom Award”

CA AG Jerry Brown (Medium)

California Attorney General Jerry Brown

Attorney General Jerry Brown stands firm on Genocide recognition and reparations

LOS ANGELES–The Armenian National Committee-Western Region (ANC-WR) will be honoring California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown, Jr. (Jerry Brown) with one of its highest honors, the prestigious ANC-WR “Freedom Award”.  Attorney General Brown will receive the award at ANC-WR’s Annual Banquet which will take place on Sunday, November 8, 2009 at the Pasadena Convention Center.

For many decades, Jerry Brown has been a good friend of the Armenian American community in the State of California.  Just recently, Brown filed an Amicus Curaie brief, also known as a “friend of the court” brief on behalf of the People of the State of California in opposition to a flawed split decision issued by a three judge panel of the United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal.

The August 20, 2009 decision of the Court struck down California law which gave jurisdiction to courts in California to provide the long denied redress to Armenian Genocide victims to obtain assets wrongfully withheld by insurance companies which served the Ottoman Armenian community in the years leading up to the Genocide.  The majority reasoned that the mere use of the phrase “Armenian Genocide” conflicts with United Stated foreign policy.  In his Amicus brief the Attorney General argued that he is “unaware of any precedent for the proposition that the President may implicitly- or, indeed, even explicitly-dictate the terminology that States may use in describing an historic event.”

“We are proud to honor Jerry Brown for his decades of service to the Armenian American community of California,” said Vicken Sonentz Papazian, ANC-WR Board of Directors Chairman. “Armenian Americans greatly value the strong bond that has developed with Attorney General Brown over the course of almost 40 years and look forward to saluting him for his many contributions to the continued prosperity and growth of our community.”

“Our grassroots movement is not only being challenged in the halls of the Capitol in Washington D.C., but also within our very own backyards in the State of California and within the courtroom,” said Raffi Kassabian, ANC-WR Legal Research Taskforce hair and member of the ANC-WR Banquet Committee.
“We are proud of Jerry Brown’s efforts to ensure that genocide victims and their heirs have a forum for legal recourse within California’s Courts. Jerry Brown’s filing of an Amicus Curaie brief sends a strong message that the State of California will not allow insurance companies to profit from

The ANC-WR Banquet is an annual event drawing nearly 1000 Armenian Americans as well as public and community leaders from throughout California as well as the western United States.  Following tradition, the event will feature a cocktail reception and silent auction followed by the dinner and program. Those interested learning more about this year’s event honoring Attorney General Jerry Brown and California Courier Publisher Harut Sassounian may contact the ANC-WR office at (818) 500-1918 for more information.

The Armenian National Committee-Western Region is the largest Armenian American grassroots community organization in the Western United States. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the Western United States and affiliated organizations around the country, the ANC-WR works to promote understanding regarding issues of concern to the Armenian American community.


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  1. Viken Karapetian said:

    I don’t mean to be cynical but Brown filed the brief to pad his resume in preparation for a run at Governor.

    I would rather have liked the Governor who signed Senate Bill 1689, which exempts Armenian Genocide life insurance settlements from state taxation, win the award, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Or perhaps the author of that bill – the man who Brown defeated to win his current job – Chuck Poochigian.

    I just have never been a Brown supporter, but being how the next Governor will likely be a Democrat, I can understand how the ANCA would want to have a close relationship with Brown, Antionio Villaraigosa, and Gavin Newsom.

  2. Gayane said:

    To Viken: I hear your concerns and understand your point of view.

    However, don’t you think we need as much support as possible from Brown and his kind regardless what their intentions are on the back end? Maybe he is doing this to beef up his resume; however his support is now in black and white.. Unlike Obama who said everything to get himself elected yet did NOTHING.. At least Brown has done something.. what will happen when he gets elected as the Governor, that is another matter.. I know every elected official especially in this country is after his or her own gain.. so I know what you are saying.. I guess i am a bit more optimistic than most.. not sure if that is a good thing or not..

    Lets just hope he is doing this in good faith.

  3. Viken Karapetian said:

    I understand and respect your point of view. But it is imperative that the ANC not be labeled strictly a “Democratic” supporter.

    The situation with President Obama is still developing. Since the late-1990’s, Armenian-Americans were told by Democrats in Congress that all they needed was a majority in both chambers of Congress for all the pro-Armenia bills (Genocide recognition, Karabakh) to pass through Congress. At the time, Democrats conveniently slammed Speaker Hastert for tabling the Genocide resolution and essentially said, “Put us in power and you’ll see the difference.”

    Let me pause and say that some have recently questioned the ANC’s political capital in Washington. A quick overview of that capital:

    The ANC has made a full-court effort to have Armenian-Americans throughout the country vote for pro-Armenia members of Congress. Granted, Armenian-Americans were not the deciding factor in every race, but significant enough to be known as the powerful Armenian lobby.

    In 2004, all ten ANCA endorsed Senate incumbent candidates were re-elected, including Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Christopher Dodd (D-CT), Evan Bayh (D-IN), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Judd Gregg (R-NH), Harry Reid (D-NV), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Russell Feingold (D-WI). The same election cycle, 138 of 142 Armenian Caucus members were reelected (2 retired, 1 lost his Senate bid).

    In 2006, 13 of 15 ANCA endorsed Senate candidates won their election bids

    In 2008, 94% of ANCA endorsed Congressional candidates were elected.

    These past 3 election cycles – with heavy Armenian-American voter turnout – have led Democrats to about an 80-seat advantage in the House, a 20-seat advantage in the Senate, and control of the White House.

    What have they resulted in? Armenian-Americans are no closer to Genocide recognition in the Congress. Even worse, the Protocols – helped formulated by our own State Department – have made Genocide recognition less likely in the immediate future (the Armenian Government should also be held responsible for flushing away the ANC’s political capital in Washington).

    If our Government policies don’t change, I would urge the ANC to promote a real barricade or backlash… against all Democrats in the next election.

  4. Raffi said:

    While it is true that the ANCA tends to endorse more Democrats, it is unfair to say that the ANCA has a Democratic tilt. Rather, Armenian Americans tend to live in “blue” states where they develop relationships with Members of Congress who traditionally are Democrats. The ANCA has, however, endorsed many republicans in recent elections – Rep. Joe Knollenberg of MI; Rep. Steve Chabot of OH; Sen. George Allen of VA; Sen. Rick Santorum of PA; and Sen. Norm Coleman of MN among others – all of whom lost their respective elections.

  5. Armen said:

    Viken’s concerns are valid but note that Poochigian has been honored before both at the local ANC level as well as at the ANC-WR banquet. Further, the ANC is honoring Mark Wyland who is a Republican at the banquet. I know that the ANC is also very active with a number of prominent campaigns nationally including Mark Kirk in Illinois.

  6. Gayane said:

    I am completely ok with that Vicken.. Definitely, ANCA needs to block the Democratic campaigns in the next election to show that if they want our support and trust but BRAKE THEM once they are in the office, we will not do that again..