Los Angeles, CA – The Armenian National Committee – Western Region (ANC-WR) hosted, along with the American Hellenic Council (AHC) and the Armenian Assembly of America (AAA), an educational issues briefing with Congressman Xavier Becerra (CA-31) on May 27, 2009 at St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Los Angeles. This event was part of the ANC-WR’s Leadership Speaker Series and offered attendees and key community leaders an opportunity to closely interact with a high-ranking official of the United States House of Representatives.
“America has benefited greatly over the past two decades from our close friendship with Armenia, just as we have been enriched by the contributions of a long established Armenian community here in the United States. As a close friend and ally of Armenia, it is long past time for us to recognize the historical fact of the genocide committed against the Armenian people at the turn of the last century – a historical fact that should be recognized, and learned from regardless of the strong relationship that exists between us. That is why I continue to be a strong supporter and cosponsor of Rep. Adam Schiff’s ‘Affirmation of the United States Record on the Armenian Genocide Resolution’ in Congress. As always I am proud to join with the Armenian and Hellenic communities here in Los Angeles who form an integral part of the civic, cultural and economic life of our city and state,” stated Becerra.
In addition to the Congressman’s briefing, the evening featured remarks from former President and current Vice-President of the American Hellenic Council Aris Anagnos, ANC-WR Executive Director Andrew Kzirian and AAA Director Yeghig Keshishian.
“Promoting awareness of issues of concern to our community is a priority for the ANC-WR,” stated Kzirian. “The Congressman provided a candid overview of many of the issues we face both at home and abroad – it is clear that the Congressman possesses a deep understanding of the many factors that play a role in the ongoing effort to gain recognition of the Armenian Genocide,” he added.
The Armenian National Committee has had a longstanding relationship with Becerra since his election to the California State Assembly in 1990. In that post he represented Little Armenia and was a frequent guest at the Hollywood ANC offices on Vermont Avenue. Since his election to the House in 1992, Becerra has established a strong working relationship with ANC activists throughout his district, particularly in Eagle Rock and areas of his district bordering the City of Glendale.
“Today’s event demonstrates the importance of civic engagement and involvement for the Armenian American community,” stated ANC-WR Board Member and attendee Nishan Bostanian. “Congressman Becerra is a strong supporter of human rights and the audience took advantage of an intimate town hall setting to discuss many issues of concern to the community openly,” he added.
Congressman Xavier Becerra has been a Member of the House of Representatives since 1993, representing California’s 31st Congressional District. Becerra currently serves as the Democratic Caucus Vice Chair in the 111th Congress, which is the fifth highest position after only House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA-08), House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (MD-05), Majority Whip James Clyburn (SC-06) and Caucus Chair John Larson (CT-01).
The Armenian National Committee – Western Region is the largest Armenian American grassroots community organization in the Western United States. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the Western United States and affiliated organizations around the country, the ANC-WR works to promote understanding regarding issues of concern to the Armenian American community.
Photo Caption: Congressman Xavier Becerra (center) joined by ANC-WR Board Member Nishan Bostanian (left) and ANC-WR Executive Director Andrew Kzirian (right).