Los Angeles, CA – In efforts to build and increase support for H. Res. 106, the Armenian Genocide Resolution, the Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region (ANCA-WR) recently stepped up efforts to reach out to Armenian American communities in Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Montana and the Greater San Diego area. Dubbed “Project Outreach Western Region – POWER”, the ANCA-WR office is mobilizing ANC chapters and Armenian American communities throughout the western United States. This initiative supplements the March 22-23 Grassroots Capitol Campaign taking place in Washington, D.C. hosted by the ANCA and Genocide Intervention Network.
“The Armenian Genocide Resolution currently enjoys the broad bipartisan support of 183 cosponsors and we have now expanded our focus to key areas of the western United States by engaging Armenian American communities and grassroots activists in those key battleground states,” commented Andrew Kzirian, Executive Director of the ANCA-WR. “The POWER campaign is an unprecedented grassroots mobilization effort that will help pass the Armenian Genocide resolution by defeating the hired guns of the Turkish government lobby.”
The initial weeks of the POWER campaign organized district office meetings in cities and towns across the western states. POWER also is leading widespread letter writing and phone call campaigns to contact Congressional offices. The ANCA-WR office has maintained constant contact with local activists to ensure that Armenian Americans exercise their right to be heard as citizens while the efforts of a foreign government like Turkey improperly influence the internal decision making processes of the United States.
Rafael Saakyan, Chairman of the ANC of Oregon, helped regional efforts in reaching out to the local communities throughout Oregon and southern Washington state. “We need to make sure our U.S. Representatives are aware of the importance of the Armenian Genocide Resolution and how it relates to genocide today in Darfur,” stated Saakyan. Edik Ismaelyan of the San Diego ANC was instrumental in coordinating meetings with Congressmen Bilbray and Hunter. Thus far, Congressman Baird [WA-3-D] and Congressman Bilbray [CA-50-R] have already agreed to cosponsor H. Res. 106 after their offices met with constituents.
In Texas, ANC of Texas Chairman Vatche Hovsepian, Austin area activist Khachik (Chris) Papanyan, and Dallas-area activist Jeannie Markarian have taken on an active role in visiting and contacting Congressional district offices. They began establishing relationships with congressional members last year during the Congressional summer recess by meeting with them and discussing Texas-Armenian issues in Congress. Their work has contributed to the highest total of co-sponsorship support from the state of Texas in recent history and for the first time, Republican representatives from Texas are on-board as co-sponsors. “We are pleased to convey the concerns of Armenian-Americans in Texas to their elected representatives – and although eight Texas Representatives have already joined on as co-sponsors of H. Res. 106, we are redoubling our efforts to make sure the entire state delegation supports this important human rights resolution,” stated Hovsepian. “Another achievement we are proud of, thanks to all active “Texahyes”, is getting the support of Congressman McCaul and Congressman Marchant, two Texas Republicans, making this issue truly bi-partisan in Texas.” added Papanyan. Markarian added, “We have taken on – at a very strong grassroots level – the obligation to make sure members of Congress understand that Armenian-Americans care deeply about their government acknowledging the historical reality of the Armenian Genocide, especially with the current genocide that is on-going in Darfur.”
The ANCA-WR plans to continue updates on the POWER initiative and related activities in other states in the coming weeks.
The Armenian National Committee of America 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.
PHOTO CAPTION: Map of the Western United States.