Washington State Activists Rally Support For Key Armenian American Issues

Lerna Shirinian, Reichert Representative Lincoln Van Der Veen, Aida Kouyoumjian, Ashot Khachatryan

SEATTLE, Wash.—Representatives of the Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region and activists from the Armenian National Committee of America-Washington State Chapter participated in a series of meetings in Washington State last week to educate members of Congress on range of community concerns and rally support for Armenian American issues.

Chris Ajemian, Congressman McDermott, Lerna Shirinian, and Vacheh Haghnazarian

ANCA-WA Chapter Chairman Vacheh Haghnazarian along with WA residents Chris Ajemian, John Pashaian, Aida Kouyoumjian, Ashot Khachatryan, Mr. and Mrs. Aram Frangulyan as well as Norayr Gazarian visited the offices of US Representatives Jay Inslee (WA-01-D), Rick Larsen (WA-02-D), Jim McDermott (WA-07-D), Dave Reichert (WA-08-R), and Adam Smith (WA-09-D). They were joined by ANCA-WR Government Relations Director Lerna Shirinian for the meetings.

“It is crucial for our communities to mobilize during the Congressional August recess and take the time to remind our elected representatives about issues that are important to Armenian Americans,” explained Shirinian. “We look forward to working with members of Congress who represent the growing and active Armenian American community in Washington State.”

Vacheh Haghnazarian, Norayr Gazarian, Lerna Shirinian, and Larsen District Director Jill McKinnie

Among the topics discussed during the meetings were Armenian American US foreign operations priorities for 2011, including economic assistance to Armenia, development aid to Nagorno Karabakh and the importance of suspending military assistance to Azerbaijan in response to its escalating war rhetoric and regional destabilization. Attendees also discussed the importance of Congressional affirmation of the Armenian Genocide and urged members of Congress to support efforts to advance H. Res. 252 to a full House vote.

The ongoing destruction of Armenian cultural and religious monuments in Azerbaijan was also brought to the attention of members of Congress and their staff as an issue of great concern for Armenian Americans and the human rights community. The destruction of Armenian religious monuments has been part of Turkey’s denial campaign, where the goal is to obliterate evidence of the existence of Armenians from central and eastern Turkey by neglecting and destroying over 200 monasteries and 1,600 churches. Additionally, Azerbaijan destroyed 2,700 carved cross-stones in the ancient cemetery of Old Djulfa, Nakhichevan, Azerbaijan since 2002. Members expressed interest in addressing and exposing the ongoing cultural genocide committed by Turkey and Azerbaijan.

John Pashaian, Lerna Shirinian, and Inslee Representative Patrick Hogan

“It is important for our community to reconnect with their members of Congress each year to convey our concerns,” stated Haghnazarian. “We will continue to engage the Washington State Congressional delegation and impress upon them to support issues of importance to Armenian Americans, including efforts to bring an end to the cycle of genocide and expanding US-Armenia relations,” he added.

The Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots advocacy 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 ANCA-WR advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.


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