LOS ANGELES, CA – Members of the Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region (ANCA-WR) and Armenian American community leaders joined thousands of Angelenos in the inauguration ceremonies held to swear in Los Angeles city officials for a new term on July 1, 2005. Antonio Villaraigosa, who was endorsed by the ANCA, officially took on the responsibilities of Mayor of Los Angeles from the outgoing James Hahn.
Echoing his campaign theme of inclusion, Mayor Villaraigosa made the following comments in his inaugural address:
“Dream with me of a Los Angeles where it doesn’t matter whether you’re African American, Latino, Caucasian, or Asian. Whether you’re Jewish or Muslim, Protestant or Catholic. Whether you’re from Watts or Westwood. Where every Angeleno is an equal stakeholder in our city’s future.”
Among the many Armenian Americans attending the day’s events were His Eminence Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate of the Western Armenian Apostolic Church of America, members of the Consulate of the Republic of Armenia in Los Angeles, Glendale Mayor Rafi Manoukian and City Clerk Ardashes Kassakhian, Downey Councilman Kirk Catorzian, Chairwoman of the Armenian Relief Society of Western US Angela Savoian, member of the Central Committee of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Karo Khanjian, members of the ANCA-WR Board of Directors Zanku Armenian, Ara Bedrosian, and Steven Dadaian, and ANCA-WR supporter Peklar Pilavjian. On hand were high level public officials such as Vice President Al Gore and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger as well as religious, community, and industry leaders from various backgrounds.
“The Armenian National Committee has stood with Antonio since his days in the California Assembly because of his moral stance on issues of concern to Armenian Americans and his efforts to include individuals of all ethnic backgrounds in civic affairs,” said Steven Dadaian, who chairs the ANCA-WR and is a member of Mayor Villaraigosa’s transition team. “We congratulate Mayor Villaraigosa on his victory and look forward to working with him in the years to come,” stated Dadaian.
The inaugural events began with an interfaith ceremony held at Our Lady of the Angeles Cathedral in the morning. Participants joined the procession from the Cathedral to City Hall following the services. Los Angeles City Controller Laura Chick, City Attorney Rockard John Delgadillo, and members of the City Council Eric Garcetti, Janice Hahn, Alex Padilla, Jan Perry, Ed Reyes, Bill Rosendahl, Jack Weiss, and Dennis Zine took their oaths of office for their new terms before the Honorable Stephen Reinhardt, United States Court Of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, swore Antonio Villaraigosa in as Mayor of Los Angeles.
In his closing remarks, Mayor Villaraigosa praised and challenged his fellow Angelenos by saying “I will never forget where I came from. And I will always believe in the value of every Angeleno. This is truly our town. And we all have a contribution to make.”
Following his speech, Mayor Villaraigosa invited everyone to eat, drink and watch the live performances that were staged on Main Street in front of City Hall. Among the performances were three Armenian dances presented by the Hamazkayin Niari Dance Group led by Katherine Hairabetian.
The ANCA is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots political organization. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the United States and affiliated organizations around the world, the ANCA actively advances the concerns of the Armenian-American community on a broad range of issues.