NORTH HOLLYWOOD—Local leaders and activists of the Armenian community, public officials, and other distinguished guests joined the San Fernando Valley East Chapter of the Armenian National Committee of America at its New Year Open House on January 11. The event was sponsored by the Armenian Cultural Foundation’s Papken Seuni Chapter and took place at the the ACF Community Center of the Eastern San Fernando Valley.
The intimate reception provided a unique opportunity for attendees to become better acquainted with the local Armenian-American community, including members and leaders of East San Fernando Valley Armenian-American community organizations and local elected officials. In attendance were Los Angeles City Councilmembers Paul Krekorian and David Ryu, and California State Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian, who each represent districts in the eastern San Fernando Valley, which is home to approximately 100,000 Armenian-Americans.
Levon Baronian, Chairman of the ACF’s Eastern San Fernando Valley “Papken Seuni” Chapter welcomed the attendees, made opening remarks, then introduced the recently appointed Chairman of the ANCA-San Fernando Valley East Chapter, Vicken Sonentz-Papazian, Esq. Baronian remarked that the eastern San Fernando Valley chapter of the ANCA is extremely fortunate to have Papazian, a former ANCA National Executive Director and Western Region Chair, long-time activist, and prominent attorney to be heading the local chapter of the largest and most influential Armenian-American political grassroots organization in the nation.
Papazian praised the public officials, organizers, supporters, and other distinguished attendees of the event, thanking them for their continued support of the ANCA and all the Armenian-American organizations that operate in the area. He offered insight into the decades of work that the ANCA has done to advance the interests of the Armenian-American community, and in particular to support Armenian-Americans and other minorities to seek and become elected to public positions.
Papazian recognized each of the public officials and leaders of the community organizations present at the event and introduced Councilmembers Paul Krekorian and David Ryu, along with State Assemblyman Adrin Nazarian to address the attendees. Councilmember Krekorian emphasized the important work the ANCA does to work with local public officials to advance the issues and concerns of the Armenian community and Councilmember Ryu remarked how Councilmember Krekorian and the ANCA served as role models to him and the Korean-American community. Krekorian was the first Armenian-American to get elected to the Los Angeles City Council and Ryu is the first Korean-American to serve in that capacity.
Assemblyman Adrin Nazarian spoke about his long standing ties to the ANCA and several of its leaders, which go back several decades and spoke of the important role the ANCA plays in preparing new leaders of the community. He also presented Certificates of Recognition from the California State Assembly to the local chapters of the Armenian Relief Society, Homenetmen, ACF, ANCA along with the Armenian Apostolic Church of North Hollywood, which was represented by Reverend Father Arsen Kassabian, who had been announced as the parish’s new pastor earlier that day.
The ANCA-SFVE and its scores of grassroots activists continue to work toward raising the civic engagement, voter registration, and political awareness of Armenian-Americans residing in the eastern San Fernando Valley. The ANCA-SFVE emphasizes increased engagement of youth and young adults in community affairs and developing an increased sense of pride in community.
Such efforts have been especially fruitful in recent years. Home to tens of thousands of Armenian-American residents, several elected public officials of Armenian descent, thousands of Armenian-American professionals, and hundreds of Armenian-American owned businesses, the eastern San Fernando Valley neighborhoods of North Hollywood, Studio City, Van Nuys, Panorama City, Sun Valley, Sherman Oaks and neighboring areas have become the hub of the greater Los Angeles City Armenian-American community.
The ANCA-SFVE chapter is also working closely with other Armenian-American community organizations in the area to help establish a larger and more permanent community center to serve the burgeoning East Valley Armenian community.