Washington, DC- Over 100 anti-genocide activists from across the nation joined the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) and the Genocide Intervention Network (Gi-Net) for their second annual “End the Cycle of Genocide” campaign held in Washington, DC from March 12-14th.
The three day program, hosted for the second year in a row by the ANCA and the GI-Net, puts community human rights advocates directly in touch with dozens of legislators and every single Senate and House office in support of practical legislative initiatives to stop the genocide in Darfur and end Turkey’s ongoing denial of the Armenian Genocide.
“It was so wonderful to participate with the Genocide Intervention Network once again this month to advocate on these important human rights issues,” commented ANCA Eastern Region Executive Director, Karine Birazian. “It was exciting to see new and familiar faces throughout the region participate. We will continue to work to build momentum and push genocide legislation forward in Congress.”
Birazian, along with activists from the Eastern Region, spent three days on Capitol Hill meeting with various members of Congress as well as distributing informational folders on the Armenian Genocide and the genocide taking place in Darfur, and highlighting legislation pertaining to these matters. Eastern Region activists including those from Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and Virginia visited close to 300 offices in the House of Representatives and over 60 offices in the Senate.
First time participants of the “End the Cycle of Genocide” Advocacy Days included several youth activists and professionals. Arin Vartanian, an Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) member from the New Jersey Arsen Chapter commented: “Participating in this past week’s Advocacy Days has definitely left me with a greater understanding of what it means to fight for genocide recognition. After making countless phone calls to my senators and representatives over the years, it was unbelievable to have the opportunity to speak to my congressmen in person rather than over a receiver. Lobbying on Capitol Hill with the ANCA, GI-Net, and my fellow AYF members was an amazing and unforgettable experience and I would like to participate again.” Vartanian, a constituent of Cong. Gary Ackerman (D-NY-5) also had a chance to meet with the office to thank the Congressman for his support on human rights issues and his leadership during the October 10, 2007 markup of H. Res. 106, the Armenian Genocide Resolution, in the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Eastern Region activists met with over 50 congressional offices, including Members of the House Committees on Foreign Affairs, Intelligence, and Homeland Security many of whom are cosponsors of H. Res. 106.
Those in attendance took part in a reception on Wednesday evening during which several representatives spoke out on this important issue and stressed the need to continue to lobby and push forward for genocide recognition. At the close of the Advocacy Days, activists were invited to tour the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC.
Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) with MA activist Tina Sajonian, ANCA Government Affairs Director Kate Nahpetian, and ANC of RI member Steve Mesrobian
Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ-4) surrounded by ANC of New Jersey activists, Razmig Tchaghlasian, ANCA Legislative Director Raffi Karakashian, ANCA ER Executive Director Karine Birazian, and Arin Vartanian
Rep. Dale Kildee (D-MI-5) with ANC of PA activists Mikael Garabedian and John Gulezian