LOS ANGELES—The Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region voiced its deep concern with the redistricting proposals put forth by the California Citizens Redistricting Commission (CCRC) that undermine the voice of the Armenian-American community at the state and federal level. With the final public input session scheduled for December 20th, 2021 – it is imperative that Armenian-American community members act now to prevent this disastrous division of our community by visiting the following link to contact members of the California Citizens Redistricting Commission.
Under the most recent proposals, Glendale, Burbank, La Crescenta, and La Cañada-Flintridge – currently within California’s 43rd Assembly District – have been separated into three districts. Furthermore, Glendale itself has been split across two Assembly Districts. Additionally, Sunland-Tujunga and Burbank have been removed from the 25th Senate District, including Glendale and Pasadena.
At the Congressional level, La Crescenta and La Cañada-Flintridge have been removed from California’s 28th Congressional District, while Reseda and portions of Northridge and Van Nuys have been removed from California’s 30th Congressional District.
The consequences of these proposals are overwhelmingly negative for the Armenian community and will invariably undermine the cohesion of the local community and dilute the voice of the Armenian-American community – which has played an integral role in shaping the cultural, economic, social, and political fabric of this region of Southern California for decades.
Glendale-Burbank-La Crescenta and La Cañada-Flintridge area is home to the country’s most densely populated Armenian communities and form a contiguous and cohesive community bloc. For decades, these communities have been housed within the same Congressional, State Assembly, State Senate, and County Supervisorial Districts. Arbitrarily dividing these communities places at risk vital services necessary to address the specific needs of the Armenian-American community; from support for community service organizations, Armenian-language accessibility, schools and education, immigration services, cultural representation, and ensuring other issues of concern to the Armenian community – including the concerning rise in anti-Armenian hate crimes – are prioritized.
The ANCA-WR has been actively involved for months in the California Citizens Redistricting Commission public hearing process on behalf of Armenian-Americans to preserve the integrity and voice of our community at the state and federal levels.
Unfortunately, despite the Armenian-American community being recognized as a community of interest by the CCRC, our community’s input has not been reflected in the current proposals. In fact, with every new iteration of the state and federal redistricting proposals, we have been disappointed at the commission’s failure to allocate adequate time for community input – particularly from Armenian-Americans with regards to changes that impact major community population centers like Glendale, Burbank, La Cresenta, La Cañada-Flintridge, and Sunland-Tujunga, as well as segments of the Valley.
Successive proposals have directly contradicted the redistricting commission’s own purported commitment to ensuring the voices of California’s diverse communities are empowered and that the cultural cohesion of communities is respected.
Additionally, it is unacceptable that the latest proposal has been pushed forward before community data from the 2020 Census has been made publicly available to key community stakeholders. The ANCA-WR had spearheaded the HyeCount initiative in an effort to gain a more accurate count of the Armenian-American population. Instead of waiting for this data from the 2020 Census, the CCRC has instead relied on outdated and unreliable data from the 2010 Census, completely ignoring the substantial growth of our community in the last decade.
During the Los Angeles City Redistricting process, the ANCA-WR – through mobilizing the community – was able to reverse some of the most damaging proposals put forward by the Los Angeles City Council Redistricting Commission (LACCRC) that threatened the cohesion and integrity of the Armenian-American community in the city’s most Armenian populous region of North Hollywood and Van Nuys.
While the LACCRC could have gone further to protect the Armenian community, their amendments served as recognition of the integral civic, economic and social contributions of the Los Angeles Armenian community and the importance of keeping the community together.
We urge the CCRC to follow suit and immediately rectify the grave injustice it has inflicted upon Southern California’s Armenian community through these disastrous redistricting proposals that risk depriving Armenian-Americans of hard-fought community services, and jeopardizing the sustainability of community assets.
As we continue to advocate for funding local community services, to elevate the response to the disturbing rise in anti-Armenian hate crimes, to promote Armenian Genocide education in schools across the Golden State, and to ensure the United States holds Azerbaijan and Turkey for their genocidal aggression against the Armenian people – ensuring our community remains strong, united and civically engaged is of the utmost importance.
Much is at stake for the Armenian-American community of Southern California, and the ANCA-WR will continue to remain engaged in the redistricting process so as to preserve the integrity of our community’s voice at every level of government. We urge all segments of our community to actively participate in this process by visiting our website and sending a letter to the commissioners, and warning them of the potential negative impact of redistricting will be felt for at least the next decade and beyond.
The Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region is the largest and most influential nonpartisan 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 in pursuit of the Armenian Cause.