LOS ANGELES–ANCA leaders from Washington–DC and the Western Region offices met with four members of Congress recently to urge them to pass a resolution in Congress that accurately describes what the Armenia’s suffered in Turkey at the turn of the century–as genocide. The meetings come as the ANCA launches a nationwide grassroots postcard campaign urging House and Senate leadership to bring up the two Genocide related bills to a vote.
On Monday–December 1–the organization’s Executive Director Aram Hamparian–Hollywood Chair Karekin Khanjian–Western Region Chair Raffi Hamparian and Government Relations Director Ardashes Kassakhian met with Congressman David R. Obey (D-WI) and Congresswoman Lucille Royball-Allard (D-CA) to thank them for their support on Armenian-American issues and urge them to push for a vote on House Resolution 193. Congressman Obey is the ranking Democrat on the influential House Appropriations Committee which handles the nation’s fiscal and budgetary issues.
On Saturday–November 8–2003–members of the ANC West San Fernando Valley Vahe Melkonian and benefactor Varand Melkonian along with Aram Hamparian–Raffi Hamparian and Ara Bedrossian who is the West Coast Chair of the National Organization of Republican Armenia’s (NORA)–met with Congressmen Howard "Buck" McKeon (R-CA) and US House Speaker Dennis Hastert.
Speaker Hastert had last met with Armenian community leaders on the west coast in 2000–the year an Armenian Genocide resolution came minutes away from a vote on the House floor only to be canceled for a vote at the last minute. At the time–Speaker Hastert sighted national security reasons as outlined in a letter to the Speaker and other members of Congress by then President Bill Clinton. The Speaker promised to revisit the Genocide resolution and bring the issue to a full vote.
Members of the NORA and ANCA delegation attended an event for Congressman McKeon–and had an opportunity to ask the Speaker to revisit the issue. Although the Speaker made no commitment to the Armenian leaders–Varand Melkonian did present him with a copy of Peter Balakian’s NY Times Best Selling book "The Burning Tigris: America’s Response to the Armenian Genocide." A copy of the book was also presented to Congressman McKeon.
The ANCA’s recent mass postcard campaign focuses on sending postcards of support for the legislation to Speaker Hastert’s office in Washington–DC along with Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN).
Postcards are available at the ANCA-WR’s headquarters in Glendale–California and the public is encouraged to request postcards for distribution. For more information on the ANCA National Postcard Campaign–call (818) 500-1918 or visit www.anca.org on the Internet.