BY ARMEN GARABEDIAN
Merriam-Webster dates the first known use of the word “activism” to the year 1915.[i] Coincidence? As an Armenian-American, you can’t help but stop and wonder. At least from a personal perspective, this seemingly trivial find while trekking across the World Wide Web sparked a moment of introspection especially with the Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region’s (ANCA-WR) Annual Advocacy Day just about a week away.
Needless to say, 1915 is a year of great significance for Armenians all around the world as it marks the official start of the Armenian Genocide – perhaps the single most unifying event for all Armenians. But Armenian activism did not start contemporaneously with the introduction or use of the word “activism” itself. Nor did Armenian activism start with continued and expanded recognition of the Armenian Genocide (albeit its central position in our efforts).
Instead, Armenians have a long and rich résumé of taking direct “vigorous action”[ii] especially in the face of persecution or in the advancement of just and righteous causes dating back thousands of years. From maintaining its historic identity despite Roman, Byzantine, Seljuq, Persian, Russian and Ottoman advances to independence out of the ashes of Genocide and again after Soviet control, activism seems to run in the genes.
With the foregoing in mind, let us join together on April 15, 2013, in Sacramento, to carry on our storied tradition of activism through the ANCA-WR’s Advocacy Day. It is an opportunity to educate and motivate state legislators about issues of concern to the Armenian-American community. It is an opportunity to advance the Armenian cause and to remind our legislators that we have a voice, a strong collective voice that they cannot ignore.
Those interested in attending should register at itsmyseat.com/ancawr. Registration includes transportation to and from Sacramento and hotel accommodations. Space is limited. If you have questions regarding accommodations or any other details, please contact ANCA-WR External Affairs Deputy Tereza Yerimyan, at (818) 500-1918 or [email protected]
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.