LOS ANGELES—Democratic leaders, activists and supporters from all over Southern California gathered at the Taglyan Armenian Cultural Center to honor West Hollywood Mayor Jeffery Prang. Prang was presented with the SCAD 2012 Voice Award by the Southern California Armenian Democrats (SCAD) for his leadership in establishing an annual Armenian Genocide commemoration act as a member of the West Hollywood city council, lowering West Hollywood City flags at half-mast to commemorate the Armenian Genocide, and to pass the annual Armenian Genocide recognition resolution which includes urging the federal government to recognize the Armenian Genocide.
Elected representatives and Democratic Party leaders also attended the event and were on hand to personally congratulate Mayor Prang. Congressman Adam Schiff, CA Senator Ted Lieu, CA Assembly members Mike Feuer and Betsy Butler, and Los Angeles County Democratic Party Chair Eric Bauman spoke of Prang’s commitment to human rights and the importance of universal recognition of the Armenian Genocide – widely considered the first modern genocide of the 20th century.
Earlier in April, Armenians worldwide commemorated the 97th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide which took place between 1915 and 1923 in the Ottoman Empire. The Turkish government oversaw the pre-planned deportation and massacres of over 1.5 million Armenians. SCAD VP, David George Gevorkyan, served as the master of ceremonies for the event and stated that “denying and avoiding responsibility is the final stage that completes a genocide.” Gevorkyan praised Mayor Prang as “an individual of truth and principle who is dedicated to defending human and civil rights of all people.” He explained that “Mayor Prang’s strong position for recognizing the Armenian Genocide is significant especially since there is no substantial Armenian constituency base in the City that Mayor Prang represents. This sets a precedent and serves as an example to all other cities and states in the U.S. that may not particularly have a large Armenian population, to recognize the Genocide based on truth and humanity rather than giving in to political pressure.”
The event also marked the one year anniversary of the Southern California Armenian Democrats which became the first official Armenian Democratic Club chartered by the State Party and Los Angeles County Democratic Party back in 2011. Current President, Armond Aghakhanian, gave a presentation of the programs and activities in which the organization and its members had accomplished including the protest organized by SCAD members at the 2012 State Party Convention in San Diego against the documented Genocide denier Cenk Uygur, host of the ill-named program “The Young Turks“. He also introduced SCAD’s Henry Morganthau Executive Fellowship Program and the 2012 voter registration drive. “In less than a year our organization has grown from a few dozen members to 300 members. This is a clear indication that the Armenian Democrats are becoming a decisive voice in California and National politics.” said SCAD President Armond Aghakhanian.
Also in attendance were representatives of various business groups and organizations, including the East Hollywood Armenian Chamber of Commerce – represented by Sam Kbushyan, representatives of the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), West Hollywood Councilmember John D’Amico and Glendale City Clerk Ardashes “Ardy” Kassakhian.
Southern California Armenian Democrats (SCAD) is the first & largest regional Armenian-American Democratic Club in Southern California, working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters and supporters throughout California. For more information please visit www.socalarmenians.com & on face book or call 866-609-4999.
From l to r: City of Glendale City Clerk Ardy Kassakhian, SCAD President Armond Aghakhanian, LACDP Chair Eric Bauman, Congressman Adam Schiff, West Hollywood Mayor Jeffrey Prang, SCAD VP David Gevorkyan, CA State Assembly member Mike Feuer, CA State Assembly member Betsy Butler, West Hollywood Councilmember John D’Amico & CA State Senator Ted Lieu.