FRESNO–A few weeks ago–more than 85 members of the Fresno community welcomed ARF Bureau member Vicken Hovsepian to an Open House sponsored by the ARF Soghomon Tehlirian Gomideh at the home of Vicken Yepremian.
In attendance were the ARF general membership–executive members from the AYF Kevork Chavoush chapter–Homenetmen Fresno Sassoun chapter–Armenian Relief Society Mayr and Sophia chapters–Hamazkayin Cultural Society–the Armenian National Committee of central California–the Armenian Relief Society Central Committee representatives- Houry Der Simonian and Rosie Saghdejian–Armenian Relief Society Regional Representative- Siraik Panossian–Rev. Father and Yeretzgien Gostandian from Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church–Mayor-Elect of Fresno and Mrs. Alan Autry–and Steve Samuelian- District Director for Congressman George Radanovich.
Mayor Elect Alan Autry addressed the crowd with his welcoming remarks for the guest of honor and the Armenian community of Fresno. He reaffirmed his promise to erect a monument in downtown Fresno honoring the Armenian victims of the Armenian Genocide. "I can’t promise what will happen in Washington–but I can promise that the city of Fresno will acknowledge the Armenian Genocide as a genocide." Vicken Hovsepian acknowledged the Mayor Elect’s promises and assured him that the Fresno Armenian community would show its full support for the new mayor. Although the ANC of central California endorsed Dan Whitehurst–it was explained to the Mayor Elect that Armenia’s do not forget those who have been good to the community. The opportunity has now come for the community to embrace the new mayor and begin a long lasting friendship.
Hovsepian spoke about issues of great importance to Armenia’s around the world. He said he was happy with Fresno’s participation within the higher levels of the organization–such as having regional and central committee representatives from the different sister organizations. He pointed out the significance of new faces in our organizations–which reflects an increase in membership. Vicken also noted the importance of the Armenian youth–and was impressed to see AYF members present and diligently working on the 2000 AYF Olympics.
"It was an honor spending the evening with Vicken. We had an opportunity to share some historical information and gain new insights for the future of our members," stated Taline Vartanian–executive member of the AYF Kevork Chavoush Chapter.
The following morning began with a breakfast meeting with community leaders to discuss the growing Armenian community. After the breakfast gathering–Hovsepian met with about 40 ARF Soghomon Tehlirian Gomideh members–and updated them on different issues regarding Armenia and the Armenian communities throughout the diaspora. The meeting was concluded in the early afternoon.