LOS ANGELES—The Armenian National Committee of America–Western Region (ANCA-WR), along with its San Fernando Valley East, San Fernando Valley North and Sunland-Tujunga local chapters announced on April 11 the endorsement of Imelda Padilla for Los Angeles Unified School District 6.
“We are proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Imelda Padilla in her campaign for LAUSD District 6. Just last week, the massive Armenian voter turnout in the Glendale Elections resulted in victories in every race in the city and evidenced what we can accomplish as a community with a united front and strong showing at the ballot box,” stated Elen Asatryan, Executive Director of ANCA-Western Region. “With over 14,000 Armenian-Americans already registered to vote in LAUSD District 6, our community can play a determining factor in the outcome of the nation’s second largest school system elections. The stakes are too high for our cause, our schools and our students. It is imperative that every eligible community member, not only votes, but helps get out the vote leading up to the May 16 Elections,” added Asatryan.
The organization’s decision came after a thorough endorsement process and interview with the candidate, and is based on Padilla’s commitment to advancing the Armenian Cause and ensuring that future generations, teachers, and administrators alike are properly trained and taught about the Armenian Genocide of 1915. During a healthy and positive exchange, ANCA-WR and local chapters relayed issues important to the Armenian community, parents and students in the district. Padilla also pledged to incorporate Armenian history into the Ethnic Studies curriculum at LAUSD, establish Armenian dual immersion programs within LAUSD, ensure that the Turkic Gulen backed Magnolia charter schools stop operating in LAUSD, and her desire to create partnerships and programs that will make the school district and its facilities more accessible to the communities they serve.
“I am very honored to have received the endorsement of the ANCA-WR and its local chapters as it is the leading voice for the Armenian community that is such an integral part of our city. I appreciate the organization’s and Armenian community’s deep commitment to public education, and I believe it is essential for our schools to teach all students about the Armenian Genocide, and expand the Armenian language as part of dual-language immersion programs all the through high school. I look forward to working with the community and ANCA-WR to improve our schools and ensure that every student has the opportunity to learn about their heritage and the heritage of their classmates,” stated Padilla upon receiving notice of the endorsement.
Padilla will be going head-to-head against Kelly Gonez, who is backed by the CCSA (California Charter School Academy), which has invested over $600,000 into Gonez’s campaign. CCSA is the same organization that has stood by the Turkic Gulen linked Magnolia Charters Schools, which invested millions against Ardashes Kassakhian’s bid for State Assembly in 2016 and Steve Zimmer’s bid for LAUSD District 4. CCSA’s founding CEO is also currently the CEO/Superintendent of the Magnolia carter school.
During the Primary Elections, Padilla and Gonez were the top two vote getters with 8,672 votes and 10,092 votes respectively – leading them to the run-off. Other candidates in the Primary that didn’t make it to the run-off included Former Assemblymember Patty Lopez who garnered 3,599 votes, Araz Parseghian, a finance/loan officer from Tujunga with 2,546 votes; Gwendolyn R. Posey with 1,601 votes; and Jose Sandoval with 1,245 votes.
“Imelda has shown that she is passionate about education and will be an advocate for the rights of all students, including support for expanding dual-language immersion programs to include Armenian language classes in more locations across LAUSD. With less than a 1,500 vote difference in the primary and over 14,000 Armenian-American registered voters in LAUSD District 6, our community has an opportunity to play a vital role in shaping the school board for a very long time.” noted ANCA Sunland-Tujunga Chair Aris Hovasapian.
Currently serving on the Los Angeles County Commission on Women and Girls and on the Sun Valley Area Neighborhood Council, Padilla is known as a community organizer and grassroots advocate. She fought and advocated for environmental justice for local families through Pacoima Beautiful then went to work with the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy, to help fight for an increase in the minimum wage and create economic opportunity for every family.
Padilla even started her own non-profit called Together We Do More, which aims to help middle and high school students start to think about higher education and professional development at a young age.
Imelda grew up in Sun Valley and attended Roscoe Elementary, Byrd Middle School and Polytechnic High School and attended UC Berkeley, where she received a bachelor’s degree in Political Science with a double minor in Chicano Studies and Philosophy.
Imelda Padilla has also received the endorsement of Congressman Tony Cardenas, California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, State Senator Bob Hertzberg,State Assemblymember & Speaker of the House Anthony Rendon , State Assemblymember Raul Bocanegra, Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, Los Angeles City Councilmember Nury Martinez, Los Angeles City Councilmember Bob Blumenfield, San Fernando Mayor Robert Gonzales, San Fernando City Councilmember Antonio Lopez, Former LAUSD School Boardmember Julie Korenstein, United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA), Associated Administrators of Los Angeles (AALA), California School Employees Association (CSEA), SEIU Local 99, Teamsters 572, Los Angeles School Police Association, Los Angeles School Police Management Association (LASPA), Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, IBEW- local 11, Painters and Allied Trades- 636, Los Angeles County Democratic Party, San Fernando Valley Young Democrats, Stonewall Democrats , North Valley Democrats, Pro Active Democrats, among others.
LAUSD District 6 includes the communities of Arleta, Lake Balboa, Lake View Terrace, Mission Hills, North Hollywood, North Hills, Pacoima, Panorama City, Reseda, San Fernando, Sun Valley, Sunland/Tujunga, Sylmar and Van Nuys.
The ANCA-Western Region has also endorsed Karo Torossian for LA City Council District 7 and Steve Zimmer for LAUSD District 4 for the May Elections. Winners of the school board seats will have 5 ½ year terms rather than four, because the city is changing the timing of municipal elections.
The Los Angeles General Elections will take place on May 16, 2016. In order to vote, you must be registered. To register to vote online, visit www.registertovote.ca.gov. If you have moved since your last registration to vote, you must re-register, and may do so at the above link. Voters have an option to vote from home by mail, through early voting and on Election Day May 16. Community members registered to vote as permanent absentee voters, should expect to receive their ballots in the mail during the week of April 17th. To request a vote by mail ballot or learn more about the elections visit lavote.net. For additional information call ANCA-WR at 818.500.1918.
The Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region is the largest and most influential 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.