ANCA hosts first-ever Advocacy Days Spotlighting Baku, Sumgait, Kirovabad Pogroms
Activists Urge Robust US Assistance to Artsakh
WASHINGTON—Armenian American activists, many with roots in Baku, took part in a capacity-crowd Capitol Hill briefing and two-day series of Congressional meetings, sharing with Members of Congress, for the first time, their harrowing family accounts of Azerbajiani aggression against the Armenian populations of Baku, Sumgait and Kirovabad and advocating for robust U.S. assistance to ensure a brighter future for the free citizens of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
The ANCA sponsored Capitol Hill program, titled: “Nagorno Karabakh – A Generation After Anti-Armenian Pogroms: The Challenge of Promoting Peace and Developing Democracy,” featured powerful remarks by Anna Astvatsaturian Turcotte, a lawyer, lecturer, and author of ‘Nowhere, A Story of Exile,’ and Dr. Alina Dorian, an internationally respected public health expert and advocate who has worked for decades to strengthen and expand public health programs in Nagorno Karabakh. Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Frank Pallone Jr. opened the program by offering warm words of welcome, and ardent support for an independent Artsakh.
Joining Dorian and Turcotte as ardent spokespeople for Nagorno Karabakh independence were Vitaliy Dadalyan, Marat Khoudabakhshiev and Julia Papiyan, who traveled from Utah, California and Michigan, respectively, to share their family stories of persecution in Baku during the late 1980’s. In some 40 meetings with key Senate and House leaders, Members of Congress were moved by their accounts of courage and survival and inspired by the Nagorno Karabakh Republic’s commitment to democracy and economic development. ANCA Western Region Advisory Board Member Garo Madenlian, Esq. and ANCA-WR Legislative Affairs Director Tereza Yerimyan joined the ANCA Washington DC team in facilitating Congressional outreach efforts and sharing the broad range of Armenian American community priorities.
“The Baku Armenian community was well represented this week in Washington by these remarkable young men and women,” stated ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “They delivered powerful messages of both remembrance and resolve across Capitol Hill, educating Members of Congress about the atrocities committed against their families a generation ago, and – just as importantly – demanding that American leaders stand up for Artsakh’s, freedom, stand against Azerbaijani aggression, and stand with all those seeking a fair and enduring regional peace.”
This program, and last month’s Capitol Hill briefing on U.S. philanthropy and the Armenian Genocide, were made possible by a generous grant by the Aramian Family, in memory of the late Martha Aramian – a respected community leader and devoted daughter of the Armenian nation. Similar Capitol Hill presentations to educate Members of Congress on a broad range of Armenian American concerns are scheduled throughout the year.