Members of the Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region Hollywood Chapter and the ANCA-Western Region staff met with the recently-elected Los Angeles City Councilmember Hugo Soto-Martinez who represents the 13th Council District.
It was the first official opportunity for the ANCA-WR’s local Hollywood chapter to meet with the councilmember and discuss issues related to the district that includes the city’s Little Armenia neighborhood, within which operate the Rose and Alex Pillbos School, the Mary Postoian Pre-School and Kindergarten, the St. Garabed Armenian Church, the Armenian Cultural Foundation, the Armenian Relief Society Mayr Chapter, the Homenetmen Los Angeles Chapter, the Hamazkayin chapter, the Armenian Youth Federation Mousa Ler chapter, the Asbarez Daily Newspaper, the Horizon Armenian Television Channel and the ARS Social Services Center, among other institutions and organizations.
Soto-Maritnez was accompanied by his chief of staff, Alejandra Marroquin and district representative Aram Mardirossian.
The ANCA-WR local and regional delegation included ANCA Hollywood chapter chair and member Suren Seropian and Nane Avagyan, the chair of the Hollywood ACF chapter, Zohrab Mahdessian, the Editor of Asbarez, Ara Khachatourian, as well as the ANCA-WR Governmental Affairs and ANCA-WR Coalition and Community Development directors Ruben Karapetian and Edward Barsoumian.
At the beginning of the meeting, Soto-Martinez reflected on his background as a life-long organizer with deep roots in the city of Los Angeles and explained that his vision as the city council member is to engage and empower citizens to collectively confront the challenges facing the district and the city in order to register successes and advance the community, ensuring equal opportunities for all residents of the city.
A productive discussion took place about how the Armenian community can participate in the process and work alongside the city councilmember and his staff to ensure that the needs and concerns of the community are addressed and work together to engage the constituents, through the institutions working within the community, to elevate the district.
The ANCA-WR Hollywood members also discussed the group’s working relationships with area union and labor activists, including the Service Employees International Union, known as the SEIU and other labor groups.
“All of us at the ANCA-WR Hollywood Chapter thank Councilmember Soto-Martinez and his staff for meeting with us,” said Seropian the local ANCA chapter chair. “We very much look forward to many future opportunities to collaborate as we work together to empower the communities we serve to create better lives for themselves, their neighbors and by example our city.”
In his first days as a city councilmember, Soto-Martinez joined LA City Council President Paul Krekorian and fellow councilmember Monica Rodriguez in introducing a resolution condemning Azerbaijan’s blockade of Artsakh, through the closure of the Lachin Corridor and demanded the immediate opening of the road, which is the lifeline for Artsakh. The councilmember also attended the Education Committee’s Annual Armenian Genocide Awards Luncheon and was impressed with the organization’s breadth of work and engagement with public school educators.
Barsoumian, the ANCA-WR Community Development Director also emphasized the organization’s commitment to outreach to a broad base of city’s diverse groups in an effort to partner for greater empowerment and human rights advocacy.