Utah ANC Leads Community Outreach
SALT LAKE CITY–Outside of the state of California, the ANCA-WR consists of numerous burgeoning communities and corresponding local ANC chapters. One such chapter is the Utah ANC, which serves the interests of the local community and strives to raise awareness on issues of concern to Armenian Americans. Complementing the work of the Utah ANC, the Utah Armenian American community enjoys the organizational presence of the Armenian Relief Society “Hamaspure” Chapter which organizes annual social, cultural and community events, and the local Homenetmen “Spitak” chapter.
“The Utah ANC is an integral component of the local Armenian American community and serves to raise awareness of issues that are important to us,” stated Utah ANC Chairman Sarkis Bekearian. “We plan to continue working here in Utah to assist the community in becoming more engaged in reaching out to their elected officials,” he added.
Utah Armenian Americans enjoyed the opportunity to meet with the Republic of Armenia’s President Robert Kocharyan and his wife Bella Kocharyan in August 1998 at a special event in the Utah Capital Building hosted by Governor Mike Leavitt. Governor Leavitt also signed Utah’s official proclamation recognizing the Armenian Genocide. Utah is now one of 40 states in the United States that officially has recognized the Armenian Genocide.
By employing a grassroots approach, the Utah ANC has successfully reached out to the community in raising awareness of H. Res. 106 and S. Res. 106, the Armenian Genocide Resolutions in the House and Senate. Speaking to the universal humanitarian importance associated with ending the cycle of genocide, Armenian and non-Armenian Americans of Utah alike have called, faxed, and emailed their local Congressmen and Senators to become cosponsors of H. Res. 106 and S. Res. 106. Senator Orin Hatch (R-UT) has received correspondence from Utah constituents, and in epitomizing the very essence of grassroots advocacy, Congressman Chris Cannon’s (R-UT-03) office received dozens of signed and hand-written letters from district constituents urging him to cosponsor H. Res. 106. Congressman Jim Matheson (D-UT-02) was one of the earliest supporters of H. Res. 106, joining onto the resolution as a cosponsor on January 31, 2007. The Utah ANC plans to continue its advocacy efforts in raising awareness of both human rights bills and plans to schedule district meetings in August with Utah’s Congressional and Senatorial Delegation.
"As a grassroots organization firmly committed to energizing all of our local communities, we are extremely pleased to see the vibrant leadership and efforts of the Utah ANC,” stated Andrew Kzirian, Executive Director of the Armenian National Committee of America ‘s Western Region (ANCA-WR). “The Utah ANC’s strong role in raising awareness of the Armenian Genocide resolution is a testament to the spirit of advocacy that we hold so dear,” he added.
Consisting of over 2000 Armenian Americans, the Armenian American community of Utah consists of families from all over the world that have settled in major cities from Salt Lake City to Provo to Ogden and their surrounding suburbs. The Utah ANC is committed to continuing outreach and community building in the area, and looks forward to planning a Town Hall meeting to discuss issues impacting Armenian Americans in the near future.