SANTA ANA–With the help of the Armenian community–the Armenian National Committee of Orange County (ANC-OC) has become an active force in Orange County. To gain support for local and national issues of concern to Armenian Americans–the ANC-OC met last month with two OC officials–Orange County Sheriff Michael S. Carona and County of Orange Supervisor Chris Norby.
Orange County Sheriff Michael S. Corona invited members of the Armenian American community to his office for a luncheon on January 13. Sylvie Tertzakian–who serves on the Sheriff’s Community Coalition–a long time ANC supporter and personal friend of Sheriff Carona–facilitated the luncheon. Chris Guldjian–Garo Madenlian–Ara Malazian–and Seda Yaghoubian-Hambarsumian attendend the luncheon on behalf of the ANC-OC. Also present during the luncheon were Hrair Jermakian–representing Forty Martyr’s Armenian Apostolic Church–Krikor Mahdessian from the AGBU Orange County Chapter–and Greg Sermabeikian an AGBU Youth Group Leader.
During the luncheon–Sheriff Carona introduced himself–gave a brief biography of his law enforcement career and stressed the importance of reaching out to the various communities in order to effectively fulfill his duties as Orange County Sheriff. Each attendee also introduced himself or herself and briefly outlined the activities and mission of their organization. The main focus of the discussions during the luncheon centered around the Armenian genocide–Armenian Culture–and the activities of the various organizations.
Immediately following the luncheon–the ANC-OC representatives and Sylvie Tertzakian had a private meeting with Sheriff Carona–where they discussed in detail the current congressional legislation to reaffirm the Armenian genocide. The Sheriff was curious as to why the United States had not yet accepted the Armenian genocide as a historical fact. ANC-OC representatives explained that US foreign policy–primarily the US State Department’s position regarding Turkey–along with other political forces in the US had worked to stop this important legislation. ANC-OC representatives also stressed that California had included the Armenian genocide in the state’s education curriculum.
Some of the other items discussed centered around working together in the future–including organizing a community event to introduce Sheriff Carona to the Orange County Armenian-American community–further appointmen’s to various committees–and the Sheriff’s assistance to help realize projects at the Armenian Center.
At the conclusion of the meeting ANC-OC representatives gave Sheriff Carona one of Harut Sassounian’s latest books outlining current and historical leaders’ admissions and quotes regarding the Armenian genocide.
Members of the ANC-OC also met with County of Orange Supervisor Chris Norby on January 30 to discuss issues of importance to the members of the Orange County Armenian Community. The meeting was facilitated by Brea City Council Member and Mayor Pro Tem of the City of Brea–Marty Simonoff. Marty Simonoff is of Armenian descent and is currently running for the State Assembly seat being vacated by long time Assemblywoman Lynn Daucher after serving three successful terms.
The meeting began with a discussion of the history and background of Armenia. Supervisor Norby–the former Mayor of the City of Fullerton and history teacher–proved very knowledgeable on matters of Armenian history–culture–and religion. A number of topics were discussed with Supervisor Norby including the current push in Congress for recognition of the Armenian genocide–the current status of the Armenian Churches of Etchmiadzin & the Holy See of Cilicia and the prominence of a number of Armenian figures in world history.
The next portion of the meeting dealt with issues of specific interest to Orange County’s Armenian Community. ANC members Ara Malazian & Garo Madenlian spoke with Supervisor Norby about current goals for the Armenian Center located in Santa Ana including the construction of a gymnasium–the expansion of parking facilities–and the desire to develop programs for the young Armenia’s of Orange County.
The meeting concluded with the ANC thanking Supervisor Norby for taking the time to meet with ANC members and special thanks to Councilman Simonoff for facilitating the meeting. Supervisor Norby indicated that he was supportive of the steps that we were taking to improve one of Orange County’s oldest communities and that he would do all that he could to help us bring the ANC’s goals to fruition.
For more information on past and future events–or to be placed on the ANC-OC email list–please visit ANC-OC at www.ancoc.org.