SAN MATEO, Calif.–In a meeting with Armenian American community members led by the Bay Area Armenian National Committee and the Armenian Assembly of America (AAA), Congresswoman Jackie Kanchelian Speier (CA-12) agreed to join the growing list of cosponsors of House Resolution 102, a resolution condemning the 2007 assassination of Armenian newspaper editor Hrant Dink in Turkey. Dink’s murder is widely believed to have been a reaction to his publications about the Armenian Genocide.
In the meeting at Rep. Speier’s San Mateo, California office, the Congresswoman’stressed the need for continued vigilance to achieve recognition of the Armenian Genocide and for increased U.S. aid to Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh. She also urged greater participation in public affairs by the Armenian American community.
"I am encouraged when we are able to work collaboratively to achieve our common objectives of securing recognition and justice for the Armenian Genocide and enhancing U.S. relations with Armenia ‘s an increasingly vital ally in the Caucuses," said Rep. Speier. "We most certainly must rectify the past, while keeping a keen eye on the future. I look forward to the day when thousands of Armenian Americans converge on Capitol Hill, united in advancing this important cause."
The community members at the meeting thanked the Congresswoman for signing onto HR 106, the Armenian Genocide Resolution, and for joining the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues within days of taking her House seat earlier this year. The meeting was attended by Valina Agbabian, Sako Bezdjian, Armen Carapetian, Sebouh Der Kiureghian, Levon Ishag, Matt Senekeremian, Margaret Shamlian, and Khatchig Tazian.
"Congresswoman Speier is always very accessible, receptive, and has a deep understanding of our issues," said long-time Bay Area ANC activist Khatchig Tazian. "We are fortunate to be represented by one of the few Congressional members who keeps well informed, has a real commitment to our issues, and works hand-in-hand with us to achieve our mutual goals."
The group discussed a wide range of issues of concern to Armenian Americans, including the latest efforts in the House to fight back the Bush Administration’s attempts to cut U.S. aid to Armenia and tip the balance of military aid in favor of Azerbaijan. Also at issue was the unsettling effect Azerbaijan’s recent hostile actions and aggressive rhetoric are having on the Nagorno-Karabagh peace negotiations, and the serious challenges the ongoing crisis in Georgia is presenting to Armenia, Karabagh, and Armenia’s living in Javakh, the Armenian enclave within Georgia’s borders.
When presented with an overview of the ANCA Capital Gateway and AAA internship programs, Rep. Speier enthusiastically welcomed the opportunity to host the next generation of Armenian American activists in her offices. Congresswoman Speier also expressed her pleasure to serve as an honorary chair for the ANC-WR 24th Annual Banquet to be held on October 12, 2008, at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley.
Congresswoman Speier is one of two current members of the U.S. House of Representatives of Armenian descent, along with Bay Area Congresswoman Anna Eshoo.