CRANSTON, R.I.—Rhode Island’s Cranston City Council issued a proclamation on April 24 establishing a Friendship City between Cranston, Rhode Island, and Stepanakert, Republic of Artsakh. This Friendship City is just one of the many initiatives of the ANC of Rhode Island who have engaged federal, state and city governments to advance the Armenian Cause for decades. In fact, the Rhode Island House of Representatives was the first official government in the world to officially recognize Artsakh in 2012.
The Cranston/Stepanakert Friendship City, which was spearheaded by ANC of Rhode Island allows the creation of a relationship between the people of Cranston, Rhode Island, and the indigenous Armenians of Stepanakert, Republic of Artsakh, bridging the two communities together in an effort to foster cooperation between the two cities. The Friendship City comes on the heels of the ANC of Rhode Island’s 20th annual flag raising in Cranston in commemoration of April 24. Cranston is Rhode Island’s second largest city and home to the largest Armenian population in Rhode Island.
Stepanakert, the capital of the Republic of Artsakh, has been under attack since 2020, and, most recently, the people of Stepanakert have been living under duress and in dire conditions due to the effects of Azerbaijan’s deadly blockade, which has gone on for over 160 days. The current blockade has limited life supporting essentials such as food, medicine and electricity igniting a humanitarian crisis of magnanimous proportions.
“We are extremely proud of the work that the ANC of Rhode Island together with Mayor Kenneth J. Hopkins did to secure this Friendship City. The activists showed the people of Artsakh and the world that the Diaspora will not stop their tireless fight to bring justice to the Armenian Nation and secure the future of the people of Artsakh. It starts in Cranston, but it definitely doesn’t end there. Rhode Island and the broader Eastern Region stands in solidarity with Artsakh today and always,” said Steve Elmasian, ANC of Rhode Island chair.
The Armenian National Committee of America Eastern Region is part of the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots organization, the Armenian National Committee of America. Working in coordination with the ANCA in Washington, D.C., and a network of chapters and supporters throughout the Eastern United States, the ANCA-ER actively advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues. For more information, visit the ANCA-ER website.