VAN NUYS, Calif.—A number of Armenian community leaders and activists met with Congressman Howard Berman (CA-28-D-Van Nuys) on Wednesday, August 17, to discuss a broad range of issues that are of concern to the Armenian American community.
The event took place at Berman’s Van Nuys District Office, where the member of Congress briefed Armenian American community leaders from the Armenian National Committee of America—Western Region, Asbarez Newspaper, the Armenian General Athletic Union (Homenetmen), the Armenian Youth Federation, the Armenian American Chamber of Commerce, and the Armenian Assembly of America on the work that he and his staff have done to address issues ranging from American affirmation of the Armenian Genocide to advancing US-Armenia relations.
He reiterated his strong support of the Armenian American community throughout the United States, and encouraged those in attendance to candidly discuss with him any further issues of importance that he might pursue.
“I want to thank the community leaders who attended this event. Your commitment to civic engagement is unparalleled,” said Congressman Howard Berman. “I have long been passionate about the issues of importance to the Armenian-American community, and I am proud that we are partners in so many critical causes. Our meeting, if anything, strengthened my commitment on these issues. It was informative and productive, and I look forward to taking the thoughts and concerns shared during our open discussion back with me to Washington.”
Berman is presently the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, of which he was the former chairperson. During his tenure as the committee’s chairperson in the 111th Congress, he shepherded H.Res.252, the Armenian Genocide Resolution, to a successful vote in committee.
Most recently, he was instrumental the passage of the Berman-Cicilline Amendment to the State Department Authorization Bill which calls on the Republic of Turkey to respect religious freedom and urges the return of church properties in present-day Turkey to their rightful Christian owners. The amendment was inspired by H.Res.306 a resolution on the same subject jointly authored by Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues co-Chair Congressman Ed Royce (CA-40-R-Orange) and Congressman Berman.
“We welcome this effort by Congressman Berman to proactively engage the Armenian American community,” said Zareh Sinanyan, a member of the ANCA-WR Board of Directors who attended the meeting. “The ANCA-WR, working with community organizations – especially youth organizations such as the AYF and Homenetmen – feels that these opportunities to connect Members of Congress with their constituencies are a vital part of our community’s ever growing civic engagement.”
Berman represents California’s 28th Congressional District, which comprises much of the San Fernando Valley, including the city of San Fernando, and the communities of Pacoima, Arleta, Panorama City, Sylmar, North Hollywood, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Van Nuys, Studio City, and the Hollywood Hills at the east end of the Santa Monica Mountains.
The 28th Congressional District encompasses a number of vibrant and thriving Armenian enclaves; several Armenian day schools and Armenian churches; a host of Armenian-owned business, and tens of thousands of Armenian American constituents.
The Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots advocacy organization in the Western United States. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the Western United States and affiliated organizations around the country, the ANCA-WR advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.