LOS ANGELES—The Armenian Arts Fund has released Yes, We Have, a new compendium of American-Armenian contributions to American life. The illustrated volume contains contributions by American-Armenians in the fields of science, technology, visual arts including film, literature, music, sports, and public service.
Yes, We Have was compiled by Stepan Partamian, founder and president of the Armenian Arts Fund. “As I researched the material for the book and learned of all the wonderful milestones achieved by Armenians in this country, I was simply in awe of the range and significance of their contributions to American civilization,” Partamian said.
“Yes, We Have presents a mosaic of American-Armenian accomplishments and recognizes the extraordinary men and women behind them,” Partamian continued. “Today we take pride in them not only as exemplary sons and daughters of the United States, but as sources of inspiration and role models, particularly for the new generation of American-Armenians.”
Yes, We Have opens with the April 24, 2009 statement of President Barack Obama about the Genocide of the Armenians in 1915. With his commemorative words, Obama became the first-ever American president to acknowledge the wide-scale devastation of the Armenian people during the Genocide, and also the first to refer to the tragedy by its Armenian term, Medz Yeghern. The president’s statement reads, in part: “The United States of America is a far richer country because of the many Americans of Armenian descent who have contributed to our society.”
The rich history of the American-Armenians began as early as the 1600s, when Martin the Armenian, an expert silkworm grower, settled in Jamestown Colony, Virginia. The first entry in Yes, We Have belongs to him. The book goes on to document a panoply of achievements by American-Armenians in the centuries since, from the Armenian-born Thomas Corwin (governor of Ohio and U.S. secretary of the Treasury) to the rock band System of a Down, academician Vartan Gregorian, and California assemblyman Paul Krekorian.
Yes, We Have also includes information about numerous lesser-known American-Armenian luminaries such as organ-transplant pioneer John Najarian and Oscar Banker (Asadour Sarafian), one of America’s most prolific inventors and a pioneer of consumer advocacy.
Oscar Banker invented the first practical automatic transmission and successfully fought car companies to have them adopt his own safety standards. It’s why he came to be known as “the man who made [consumer advocate] Ralph Nader.” Banker next invented the primary controls of the first generation of helicopters. Thanks to his designs, U.S.-made helicopters saved the lives of an estimated 20,000 servicemen fighting in the Pacific during the Second World War. Banker practically donated his invention to the American government. His long list of groundbreaking inventions also includes the first versatile needleless inoculation gun and the first four-color flatbed printing press. “Banker is one of those tireless geniuses whose work has made American life as we know it all the better,” Partamian said.
Since the release of Yes, We Have earlier this month, many readers have bought extra copies of the book and sent them as presents to various U.S. elected officials, at Partamian’s prompting. “We’re doing this because we need to remind American leaders of their American-Armenian constituents’ outstanding contributions to our country. It’s also a great way to share our sense of pride with the American public at large,” Partamian explained.
The Armenian Arts Fund is encouraging readers throughout America to gift copies of Yes, We Have to elected officials and institutions including members of Congress (both local and U.S.), the U.S. administration, local governments, school boards, libraries, and schools. The Armenian Arts Fund has simplified the gifting process through a special shopping cart on its site, yeswehave.org. Readers who visit the site can order copies of the book and instruct the publisher to send them to officials of their choosing. The Armenian Arts Fund will then mail out the books with no shipping charges (within the 50 American states). According to Partamian, the Yes, We Have site will include a list of all U.S. elected officials who have received copies of the book as well as those who haven’t yet. “The goal is to share the wealth of American-Armenian achievements with every important government and community office in this country, by presenting them with copies of the book,” Partamian stressed.
All proceeds from the sale of Yes, We Have will benefit “The Armenian in America,” the latest initiative of the Armenian Arts Fund. Kicking off on August 1, 2009, “The Armenian in America” is a film and book project that will document off-the-beaten track Armenian life throughout the United States. Partamian, who will drive across the country to conduct interviews and film his subjects, is encouraging people to give him leads and suggestions as to which Armenian individuals, landmarks, and institutions to include in the documentary, by calling (818) 244-2468 or emailing at [email protected]
Established in Los Angeles in 1999, the Armenian Arts Fund is a nonprofit, independent organization that promotes artistic excellence, open public discourse, and the dissemination of Armenian culture. Future plans of the organization include the publication in 2015 of a volume titled Gifts to the World: A compendium of Armenian contributions to humanity, which will introduce an overview of Armenian contributions to the world as a whole. The book will be released on the centenary of the 1915 Genocide.
Yes, We Have
Contributions of American-Armenians to the United States of America
Published by the Armenian Arts Fund
To order copies, including copies to be gifted to U.S. elected officials and various institutions,
Call (818) 244-2468; email [email protected].; or visit www.yeswehave.org
Donation per copy: $20. Free shipping for all U.S. orders