LITTLE ARMENIA—Community members were joined by Assemblyman Kevin de Leon Thursday to unveil a sign that will be erected on the 101 freeway exit indicating “Next Exit Little Armenia.”
After prayers offered by clergy representing the Western Prelacy and Western Diocese, de Leon welcomed those gathered, which included representatives of the Hollywood chapter of the Armenian National Committee, Armenian-American Chamber of Commerce Little Armenia chapter, the Armenian Youth Federation, Armenia’s Vice-Consul to Los Angeles, Mesrob Shaboyan and Sunday Sarkisian-Hagopian, who represented Assembly Speaker Karen Bass.
“Diversity is one of our state’s greatest strengths, and today we pay homage to Armenians and Armenian culture by directing commuters to one of the hidden treasurers in our City – Little Armenia,” said de Leon.
“Little Armenia was designated in 2000 by the City of Los Angeles. It is my honor to stand here today and present to you on behalf of the State of California these signs,” added de Leon.
“These signs are a culmination of the great work which began 10 years ago with my Deputy Baydsar Thomasian. I am proud to have played a role and finally deliver this gift to Little Armenia,” explained the assemblymember.
Thomasian then recounted that during the process she stumbled on the fact that at the time of the construction of the 101 Freeway the Director of the State Division of Highways was an Armenian-American named Haig Ayanian.
Ayanian was in charge of the construction of the Hollywood Freeway from 1949 to 1951, and he retired in 1975 with a 38 year career with CALTRANS.
“Back then Armenians made an impact on the Hollywood community as they do today,” said de Leon.
In conclusion, de Leon thanked the ANC, the Little Armenia Chamber of Commerce and Onik Mehrabian, the proprietor of Glendale KIA, who has played an influential role in this process.
Following the unveiling ceremony, a reception was hosted by the Chamber at Karapetian Hall. During the event, Chamber president Sam Kabushian thanked the Assemblymember for his commitment and support of the Armenian community.
Remarks were also made by Karekin Khandjian, who represented the local ANC Chapter.
At the conclusion of the event, Kabushian presented membership certificates to Horizon Television and Asbarez Newspaper, Home Restaurant, whose proprietors Aram and Vardui Serbian generously donated the food for the event. A plaque was also presented to de Leon for his role in erecting the sign.