GLENDALE–As part of an outreach program throughout the western United States, members of the Armenian National Committee-Western Region traveled to
Fresno, San Diego, and Scotsdale, Arizona to hold town hall meetings with local Armenian communities.
ANC-WR Executive Director Andrew Kzirian and Community Relations Director Haig Hovsepian provided an issues briefing to a town hall meeting of over 70 attendees at the Armenian Apostolic Church in Scottsdale’s Melikian Hall last Sunday.
"These town hall meetings provide local activists with vital information," stated Kzirian. "It is critical that communities are kept abreast of issues that impact Armenia and the Diaspora-from the Armenian Genocide resolution to raising awareness about aid to Armenia, support for Artsakh’s self-determination and education on the election process-the ANC-WR remains at the forefront of outreach," he added.
After an introduction and overview of recent and upcoming activities by Arizona ANC Chairwoman Salpi Demirjian, Kzirian focused on federal and national issues related to H.Res.106 and S.Res.106 (the Armenian Genocide resolutions) and governmental aid assistance for Armenia and Artsakh. Kzirian also discussed raising awareness of the election process and the importance of participating in government. Hovsepian then concluded the presentation portion of the program with a detailed overview of the many internship and volunteer programs available through the ANC. All attendees then participated in a vibrant and informative question and answer session.
The Arizona ANC chapter, which is based out of Scottsdale and Phoenix, is composed of various community activists and has made enormous progress in the past year. Working with Members of Congress and party affiliates to encourage advocacy, the Arizona ANC has played a pivotal role in representing the interests of the Armenian American community. The Arizona ANC was instrumental in raising awareness of the Armenian Genocide resolution with Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-AZ-07) and Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ-08).
"The community had a great opportunity to meet with regional representatives today," noted Demirjian. "We must continue to inspire and motivate activists to make a real difference for the Armenian Cause," she added.
Meanwhile, members of the growing Armenian American community in San Diego gathered last Sunday for an Armenian National Committee (ANC) Town Hall meeting. The meeting provided an opportunity for individuals to learn about the grassroots work of the Armenian National Committee in addressing federal, state and local issues. The town hall gathering, which was held at Khosharian Hall at St. Garabed Armenian Church, was led by San Diego ANC Chairman Armen Donigian and featured remarks by ANC-Western Region Chairman Raffi Hamparian. The Town Hall meeting concluded with remarks from San Diego ANC Community Relations Director Sergey Arutunyan.
"I am pleased we hosted this town hall meeting," commented Donigian after the event concluded. "By reporting to the community on our efforts, here in San Diego and in our nation’s capital, we remain true to our grassroots mission. Our ANC chapter looks forward to regularly hosting town hall meetings so more and more Armenian Americans in the San Diego area can join our effort to advance the Armenian Cause," the San Diego ANC Chairman added.
Speaking on behalf of the ANC-Western Region, Hamparian addressed five major issues at the town hall gathering, including the current state of the Armenian Genocide resolution pending in the second session of the 110th Congress. Hamparian also shared information on the status of the Millennium Challenge program in Armenia, U.S. foreign aid to Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, U.S. military aid to Karabakh and finally he touched on the destruction of Armenian monumen’s in Turkey and Azerbaijan. He concluded his remarks by encouraging all Armenian Americans, young and old, to be active in public affairs that shape the policies of their government.
The San Diego ANC is led by a number of energetic young professional Armenian Americans. During the past year, the San Diego ANC has been working with several local Armenian Organizations including UCSD ASA, Knights of Vartan, Armenian Relief Society and St. John Garabed Church to encourage Armenian American activism throughout the community. Past events include a community issues briefing in coordination with Genocide Education Project, study day with UCSD ASA, and meetings with various California Assembly members including Lori Saldana and Mary Salas. The upcoming year features a lineup of events, including participation in March Advocacy Week and a Genocide Symposium in April hosted at UCSD. The San Diego ANC encourages activists to get involved through the various subcommittees available and firmly believes that its most valuable assets are the people.
A strong showing of young Armenian Americans marked the town hall meeting hosted by the Central California Armenian National Committee chapter in Fresno on January 30. The town hall gathering brought together supporters of the Armenian Cause to learn more about what the ANC is doing in Washington, DC to advance issues important to the Armenian American community.
"Here in Fresno, we have a long tradition of supporting the ANC," commented ANC activist Hilda Santikian. "Our community always enjoys hearing about what we can do, personally and together, to make sure that issues we care deeply about get addressed in the Halls of Congress and here in Central California too. The town hall format is one we enjoy, because it gives our community a chance to hear about our work on their behalf and also gives them a chance to ask questions," Santikian added.
The Central California ANC chapter, which is based in Fresno, consists of members representing a broad cross section of the Central California Armenian-American community. The chapter is a true grassroots organization representing the interests of the Armenian-American community that has lived for well over 100 years in Central California. The local chapter’s leadership is composed of civic leaders, educators, businessmen, and college students who are deeply committed to addressing and advancing the Armenian Cause.
Hamparian provided town hall attendees with an update on current developmen’s with respect to Armenian issues in the United States Congress. He focused his remarks on the key role that Members of Congress from Central California play in advancing Armenian issues in Washington, DC. Hamparian praised the community for their outstanding work in ensuring the federal officials, like Representatives George Radanovich, Devin Nunes, and Jim Costa continue to push for justice on the genocide issue and more U.S. aid to Armenia.
Individuals interested in joining the Central California ANC are encouraged to visit www.ancfresno.org.
Individuals interested in joining the San Diego ANC are encouraged to email Armen Donigian at [email protected] or visit www.ancsd.org.