10-Day Visit to Lone Star State Leads to Increased Grassroots Activism

January 30, 2004

WASHINGTON, DC – Abraham Niziblian and Ardashes Kassakhian of the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) offices in Washington, DC and Western Region recently completed a 10-day field visit to Texas, working hand-in-hand with community leaders, to increase Armenian American community political activism in the state.

ANCA Government Relations Director, Abraham Niziblian and ANCA-WR Executive Director, Ardashes Kassakhian traveled to the Dallas/Fort Worth and the greater Houston areas part of the ANCA’s efforts to inform and mobilize Armenian Americans prior to the 2004 Congressional and Presidential elections. During the visit they were joined by community leaders in meetings with Members of Congress, briefed church, youth, and community organizations, collected signatures on letters to Congress, and offered their ongoing assistance to this growing community’s increasingly active role in the political life of the Lone Star state.

The visit featured meetings at the district offices of both Texas Senators – Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) and John Cornyn (R-TX) – as well as House Members representing Armenian American constituents. During these meetings, community representatives raised Armenian American issues, ranging from the Genocide Resolution (H.Res.193 and S.Res.164) and Nagorno Karabagh to the foreign aid bill and provisions to expand U.S.-Armenia trade relations. Of particular importance to the Texas legislators was the ongoing mistreatment by Turkey of its Christian Armenian minority.

The Texas Armenian community, which traces its roots back to the late 19th Century (the oldest Armenian cemetery in Texas dates back to the 1800s), is growing in size and activism. Affordable housing, job opportunities, and vibrant Armenian community life in Texas are attracting new Armenian families from across the country and around the world. Home to more than ten thousand Armenians today, Texas’ Armenian population is expected to grow considerably over the course of the next decade.

Texas is home to ArmenPAC, a leading political action committee advancing Armenian American issues. While in Dallas, Kassakhian and Niziblian met with ArmenPAC Treasurer, Dr. Sarkis Kechejian, a prominent physician, community leader, and Dallas area businessman. During their meeting, they thanked Dr. Kechejian for his contributions to the Armenian Cause, and exchanged views and insights into how to strengthen the Armenian American voice in American political life.

“The ability of the Texas Armenian community to have their voices heard has national significance and an international impact of U.S. policy toward Armenia and the surrounding region,” said Kassakhian. “The Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region is committed to providing the Armenians of Texas with the information, the tools, and the support they need to be effective advocates at city hall and in the halls of Congress.”

An especially promising sign is the energy level of Texas Armenian youth groups, including the Armenian Youth Federation, the Armenian Church Youth Organization, and university Armenian clubs. Kassakhian encouraged college-aged Armenian Americans to apply for the ANCA’s Leo Sarkissian Summer Internship and Capital Gateway Program.

“I was extremely encouraged to see the energy and enthusiasm of the Texas Armenians – young and old – in such a critically important state – one that is home to the President, has such a powerful Congressional delegation, and holds the nation’s second highest number of Electoral College votes,” said Niziblian.

The ANCA-WR maintains an ongoing outreach effort to the Texas Armenian community and serves as a resource for all elements of the community who are working to bring Armenian issues to the attention of local, state and federal officials, the media, and the Texas population at large.


For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Elizabeth S. Chouldjian
Email / Tel: (202) 775-1918
Armenian National Committee of America
888 17th Street, NW, Suite 904, Washington, DC 20006
Tel. (202) 775-1918 * Fax. (202) 775-5648 *
Your generosity empowers our advocacy, inspires our work, and sustains our momentum.