The bitter disappointment of seeing President Obama break his pledge is a sad reminder that putting America on the side of truth and justice will take more than the facts, more than morality, even more than the promises of those who have sought our trust and our votes.
No. I wish it were that easy.
Aligning U.S. policy with American values will take power, political power, and the only way we can generate the hard-hitting impact we’ll need to push back against the foreign and domestic forces aligned against a righteous policy on the Armenian Genocide (one worthy of the United States) is to work together. To pull together as a team.
A victory for our community, will be a win for America, and a step toward a safer world.
In a very powerful sense, we are today, as Armenian Americans, the conscience of America on genocide, the community that – through the force of our will – is at the cutting edge of lifting the US response to genocide above the level of politics and foreign policy, to where our response belongs, at the level of our values and common humanity.
This is hard work, but we’re making progress. Just look at the unprecedented major media coverage of the Armenian Genocide this April 24th – much of it sharply critical of the President’s foresaken pledge, all of it respectful of the electoral muscle of the Armenian American community.
Which brings me to the reason for my article.
Organizing is clearly the key to our strength. I could offer a long explanation as to why, but one of my favorite quotes really spells it out better than I ever could:
“At the banquet table of nature, there are no reserved seats. You get what you can take, and you keep what you can hold. If you can’t take anything, you won’t get anything, and if you can’t hold anything, you won’t keep anything. And you can’t take anything without organization.” – A. Philip Randolph
He really understood that organizing, with all its challenges and frustrations, represents the best hope for change, for progress, for a better future.
In just a few weeks, you will have a chance to radically elevate the level of organizing in the Armenian American community. The ANCA Endowment Fund will be holding a national Telethon to raise funds to strengthen our voice, advance our values, and truly realize our vision for a just and secure future.
In the best of the American and Armenian traditions, the ANCA Endowment Fund truly represents the Armenian American community – in all our diversity and our unity – organized, mobilized and working together as a team.
You’ll be hearing more about the Telethon in the coming days, but I wanted you to hear from me personally about how vital it is that you spread the word to family and friends.
Editor’s Note: Aram Hamparian is the executive Director of the Armenian National Committee of America. The ANCA Endowment Fund Telethon will take place on Sunday, May 31. For more information visit: http://2009telethon.org