This Easter – a wonderful time of faith and family, redemption and rebirth – can also be a great chance to reach out (in a low-key way, of course) to friends and relatives who may not be as tuned in as you are to the challenges facing the Armenian people.
The family gatherings taking place this Sunday, will, in literally hundreds of thousands of Armenian American homes, represent a vital bridge and meeting place between those more actively engaged in Armenian American life (like you) and those who are sometimes less aware of the issues, or, maybe, not quite as actively involved in the Armenian Cause.
With these thoughts in mind, consider taking a moment Sunday to find a friendly way to talk to your relatives about the latest news on Armenian issues and the efforts by Armenian American organizations to seek truth, justice, and security for the Armenian nation. Explore the ANCA website – www.anca.org – or the ANCA page on Facebook for discussion items.
I know I’ve mentioned the writings of Malcolm Gladwell (author of the Tipping Point) before, but he really makes a compelling point that we can apply to strengthening our community life as Armenian Americans. He stresses that “word-of-mouth” is the key to movements, and that this type of personal communication is largely driven by three types of individuals: 1) Connectors, 2) Mavens, and 3) Salesmen. These types exist in every environment including, of course, our own families and the broader Armenian American community.
1) Connectors are the people who, through a combination of curiosity, self-confidence, sociability, and energy, link us up with the world. They have, in Gladwell’s words, a special gift, a knack, for making friends and acquaintances and, very importantly, of spanning many different worlds.
In the Armenian context, Connectors typically move with little effort between ethnic-oriented and more mainstream American environments, acting as a middle-man and mediator among friends and relatives in both worlds. Simply put, they know a lot of other people.
2) Mavens are information specialists who we rely upon to connect us with new information. They harvest knowledge and are adept at sharing it with others. Mavens are, he explains, vital to generating the word-of-mouth that sparks social movements by virtue of their knowledge, social skills, and ability to communicate.
In the Armenian context, Mavens are the friends or relatives who follow Armenian-related developments (like on www.anca.org or Facebook) and who other Armenians regularly turn to for the latest information and insights on Armenian affairs.
3) Salesmen are, according to Gladwell, charismatic people with persuasive skills. They tend to have an indefinable trait that goes beyond what they say, which makes others open to their ideas and suggestions.
In the Armenian context, Salesmen are those who act as “shepherds,” using their personality and persuasive abilities to bring Armenians closer to their common roots, their community, and their cause. (Every Armenian family typically has at least one, and usually many more. In fact, you may be the shepherd of your clan!)
So, armed with Gladwell’s theories and inspired by your own devotion to the Armenian Cause, consider taking on this “Homework Assignment” for Easter:
Take a few minutes on Sunday to reach out to friends and relatives, talk about Armenian issues, and urge them to get plugged in to the Armenian Cause
You might suggest that they:
1) Join the ANCA Facebook page:
2) Follow ANCA_DC on Twitter:
3) Subscribe to the ANCA Grassroots channel on YouTube:
4) Join the ANCA email list
5) Get in touch with your local ANCA chapter by writing to [email protected] and telling us what state they live in. We’ll follow up from there.
Don’t stop here. There’s a lot more to be done. Be Creative; think of other innovative ways to advance the Armenian Cause through social networking, personal contacts, or cooperation with the organizations of your choice.