NEW YORK–An enthusiastic crowd of over 350 gathered at the Grand Hyatt Hotel on Saturday, September 13th in support of the Armenian National Committee of America, Eastern Region second annual banquet.
Hailing from as far as California, Las Vegas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, and neighboring states, those in attendance heard a wide variety of speakers and presentations focusing on the ANCA’s advocacy work and the advances it has made over the last year.
The evening also included a silent auction, raising over $20,000, as well as live entertainment performed by Ara Dinkjian and Harold Hagopian. Ms. Stephanie Mesrobian, ANC of Rhode Island activist, served as the evening’s Mistress of Ceremonies, inviting dignitaries and community leaders to join her in covering the vast agenda the organization encompasses. Attendees also had an opportunity to view a highlight video of the ANCA Eastern Region’s activities over the last 12 months, along with a special clip of ANCA activities at the recent Democratic and Republican National Conventions.
Each year, the ANCA Banquet culminates with an awards presentation honoring those whose activism has touched the Armenian Cause. This year’s honorees were Ms. Martha Aramian of Providence, Rhode Island ‘s recipient of the Vahan Cardashian Award for longstanding activism and support of the ANCA’s mission, and Harvard professor and human rights activist Dr. Samantha Power ‘s recipient of the ANCA Freedom Award for championing human rights as they pertain to the Armenian Cause. This dynamic female duo engaged the crowd through their passionate and driven speeches: Drawing on her own family history, Aramian discussed Armenian-Americans’ path from genocide and exile to rebirth, remembrance, and the drive for restitution.
Power, meanwhile, emphasized the positive aspects of Armenian activism, noting that while the battle for genocide recognition is far from over, great strides have been made in recent years, to the point where Turkey and its US allies have become isolated from mainstream opinion on the matter.
"We were thrilled with the support and turnout from communities near and far," commented ANCA Eastern Region Executive Director Karine Birazian. "It was a wonderful evening, and truly an inspiration to see two fabulous women to receive their respective awards."
All in all, the evening raised approximately $100,000 which will go toward the ANCA Endowment Fund. The fund sponsors various educational and community outreach projects initiated by the ANCA.