WASHINGTON–Western Prelate Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian and citizen-activists from across the U.S. will be arriving in Washington this week to urge passage of the Armenian Genocide resolution, H.Res.106, reported the Armenian National Committee of America.
The adoption of the resolution by the House Foreign Affairs Committee on October 10th sparked a firestorm of media coverage over the Turkish government’s threats to retaliate against America if the measure were approved by the full House of Representatives. Turkey has poured millions of foreign dollars into the U.S. political system, paying former Members of Congress to make its case and public relations firms to spin the media coverage against this human rights legislation.
In a first wave of community visits to Washington in the wake of the panel vote, advocates for this legislation–Americans committed to the growth of a genuine anti-genocide constituency–are working with their elected officials to put America back on the right side of this fundamental moral issue. The ANCA, Armenian Assembly, and a range of other community groups are taking part in this effort.
"We are pleased to be joined by so many friends from across the country in helping to put American back on the right side of this fundamental moral and human rights issue," said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. "We welcome their devotion and energy and look forward to working with them to encourage legislators to stand up against Turkey’s efforts to exercise a veto over the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by the U.S. Congress."
Activists from over 15 states, including California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Texas will be meeting with Members of Congress and staff in Washington, DC, with activists in remaining states reaching out to their Congressional district offices. The Washington advocacy effort expands on the nationwide ANCA Call-in and write-in campaigns, which have been underway since the Armenian Genocide resolution was introduced in January 2007, by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and spearheaded by Representative George Radanovich (R-CA), Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Joe Knollenberg (R-MI), Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI), Ed Royce (R-CA), and Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA). In March, the ANCA joined with the Genocide Intervention Network in sponsoring the "End the Cycle of Genocide" Advocacy Days, calling Congressional attention to the denial of the Armenian Genocide and the need for urgent action to stop the ongoing genocide in Darfur, Sudan.
This past Sunday, the ANCA hosted a special three hour presentation on Horizon Armenian Television, titled "ANCA Special Project: Call for Justice", spotlighting the growing Armenian American community activism in support of H.Res.106. The special included remarks by Archbishop Mardirosian, His Eminence Hovnan Derderian, Primate of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church, Glendale City Clerk Ardashes Kassakhian and a of host community organization leaders urging ongoing grassroots activism in support of the Armenian Genocide resolution. Congressmen Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Brad Sherman (D-CA) both called into the program to offer personal insights into the path of this legislation.
Among the highlights of the program were updates from ANCA Chapters from across the United States, documenting their efforts to pass H.Res.106 and encouraging Armenian Americans to get involved locally and nationally. The unified voice of the Armenian American community in support of Armenian Genocide legislation was heard loud and clear throughout the broadcast, as citizen-activists from Los Angeles to New York called in to pledge their commitment to this human rights legislation.
The October 10th House Foreign Affairs Committee vote approved H.Res.106 by 27 to 21, despite a public call by President Bush, announced during a White House press conference, against the measure. In the wake of its adoption, over 5000 print, on-line and broadcast news items have covered this measure. H.Res.106 currently has over 200 cosponsors, while a similar measure in the Senate, led by Senators Richard Durbin (D-IL) and John Ensign (R-NV), has 33 cosponsors.
Archbishop Mardirossian serves as spiritual leader of Armenian Prelacy Churches in the Western United States. The Prelacy’s region in California extends from San Francisco to Fresno, Los Angeles and Orange County. The Prelacy also provides services and spiritual assistance to the Armenian communities in other states in the western United States, including: Utah, Oregon, Colorado, Arizona and Nevada.