* Attorney General Lockyer outlines outreach plans to Armenian community.
GLENDALE–More than 75 Armenian community leaders and organizational representatives attended a private reception Friday evening hosted by the Armenian National Committee of America–Western Region at the newly dedicated Peschekerian Center–to hear California Attorney General Bill Lockyer’s plans for increased outreach to the Armenian-American community. Central to the effort to educate the Armenian community of the services provided by the Attorney General’s office was the appointment of Deputy Attorney General Zaven Sinanian as community liaison.
Among the distinguished attendees were State Senator Adam Schiff–State Assemblymen Scott Wildman and Jack Scott–West Hollywood Mayor Pro Tempore Jeff Prang–Glendale City Councilmen Rafi Manoukian and Gus Gomez and La Crescenta Town Councilman Vasken Yardemian,
ANCA-WR Director Vicken Sonentz-Papazian began the brief program by recounting highlights from Attorney General Lockyer’s long and distinguished career in public office–including his efforts on issues of concern to the Armenian American community.
In 1998–working closely with State Senator Adam Schiff–then Senator Lockyer inserted language in the state budget that required the University of California and California State Boards to promulgate language and establish criteria setting forth the process by which to evaluate foreign government endowmen’s and gifts to California’s state universities. This measure was initiated in response to the proliferation of Turkish Government sponsored academic chairs–which were being established in order to distort and deny the historical record of the Armenian Genocide. Using the Lockyer/Schiff model as a guide–the Rhode Island legislature passed a similar measure later that same year while several other states are considering comparable initiatives.
Attorney General Lockyer spoke passionately about the need for a community-wide response to fight the spread of hate crimes and noted that–just a few days earlier an incident occurred at Wilson Middle School in Glendale where four students were accused of planning to commit hate crimes against Armenian classmates.
The Attorney General stated that the focus on hate crimes are one part of an expanded program to increase enforcement of civil rights by the Attorney General’s office.
The Attorney General also noted that his office is committed to reaching out to the many diverse ethnic and racial communities that exist in California and toward that end he had designated Deputy Attorney General Zaven Sinanian as the Armenian American community liaison. He praised Sinanian for his fine work and his active involvement in the Armenian American community and recognized Sinanian’s parents–Vartkes and Margo as well as his wife–Armenia– who were in attendance.
Sinanian thanked the ANC for the hosting the event and Attorney General Lockyer for his continued commitment to the Armenian American community. Sinanian stated that he was honored to accept the post and looked forward to working closely with all community organizations in addressing pertinent community needs.
Sinanian is a 10 year veteran of the Attorney General’s office who has–for decades–been actively involved in a number of community organizations and projects–and–in 1992–took a sabbatical from the Attorney General’s office to work in Armenia’s Foreign Ministry.
Organizational representatives in attendance included the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Western US Central Committee–Armenian Cultural Foundation–the Armenian Bar Association–the Armenian American Council on Aging–the Armenian Relief Society Western Region and Social Services–the Armenian Educational Foundation–the Armenian Film Foundation–the Armenian Youth Federation–the National Organization of Republican Armenia’s–the Armenian National Committee for Homeless Armenia’s and the Armenian-American Democratic Leadership Council as well as the Alex Pilibos and Mesrobian Armenian Schools.