HOLLYWOOD, CA– Kicking off a round of upcoming summer activities, the Armenian National Committee of Hollywood (ANC Hollywood) hosted a summer Community Issues Briefing to raise awareness about the 2010 US Census within the Little Armenia community and provide an update on Armenian American issues at the federal, state, and local levels. The event was held at Karapetian Hall at Saint Garabed Armenian Church on Thursday, July 16th. Joined by representatives from the US Census Bureau including featured speaker and Partnership Specialist, Anahit Tovmasyan, the event drew over fifty local area residents many of them being high school and college students.
“It was great having an Armenian specialist from the Census Bureau explain the importance of next year’s census to Armenian-Americans and how it can affect our lives” remarked Paul Seradarian, ANC Hollywood Executive Committee member and one of the organizers of the evening’s event.
Tovmasyan explained how government funds are allocated every year on the basis of demographic data. This includes public school, public service, public safety, and other public budgets. She noted that while Armenian is not noted on an ethnicity on the current US Census form, Armenian-Americans can still stand up and be counted. While most Armenian Americans identify as Caucasian or “White”, there is a secondary question within the section asking for “Some other race – print race” in which individuals can mark “Armenian” in addition to the initial identification of “White” or other race/ethnicity that they may choose. While Armenian is an ethnicity and not a race, this is the option currently available for the Armenian American community to identify themselves as such on the upcoming US Census.
“If Armenian Americans make their voices heard through this simple step, we help ensure that our communities receive the respect and services they are due as contributing members of the communities in which they live,” noted Tovmasyan.
Tovmasyan explained that the US Census Bureau is partnering with community organizations to help raise awareness about the Census before 2010 to help make sure that everyone fills out the form and reduces the need for costly follow up efforts which would come at the taxpayers’ expense. She also discussed job opportunities with the US Census Bureau as the government is building its staff to help drive the educational and data collection effort. Tovmasyan was accompanied by colleagues from the US Census Bureau who helped her address audience questions.
The event was opened by Christine Semerdjian, a member of the ANC Hollywood Executive Committee who welcomed the community and discussed the ANC Hollywood’s recent activities including participation in this past May’s Armenian Independence Day festival on Hollywood Boulevard, and last week’s official unveiling of the Little Armenia freeway sign hosted by California State Assembly Member and Hollywood area representative, Kevin de Leon.
She was followed by Haig Hovsepian, Community Relations Director with the ANC Western Region, who updated the community about the recent developments with the Artsakh peace process, US recognition of the Armenian Genocide and its decoupling from Armenia-Turkey relations, and the foreign aid budget for Armenia and Azerbaijan for the upcoming 2010 fiscal year.
“I am really glad that I attended this very informational event. After learning about how the Census could affect Armenian Americans, I realized I have to be an active member of my community and inform others of the importance of it. I definitely look forward to attending other meetings like today’s because they open my eyes to what goes on in my community and Armenia itself,” said Tsovinar Karapetian, a senior at Francisco Bravo Medical Magnet High School who attended the briefing.
Seradarian delivered the closing remarks of the evening and encouraged those in attendance to stay involved with the ANC Hollywood. He noted that the ANC Hollywood would be joining the Thai Community Development Center next week on July 25th for its annual community fair. The day-long event is held each year and features community and social service organizations who work with the Hollywood community. ANC Hollywood supporters will be attending to help with the day’s event and translation needs. The event will be held at the corner of Western and Hollywood on the Metro plaza.
“The reinvigorated ANC Hollywood team is happy to have veteran community activists mentoring our newer members as we work together to do our best to secure the rights of Armenian Americans and promote their civic engagement in this community,” remarked Elli Menounou, a member of the ANC Hollywood Executive Committee Member in charge of community relations.
The ANC of Hollywood promotes greater understanding of issues of concern to the area’s Armenian American community and strives to increase Armenian American civic participation at the grassroots and public policy levels.