WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) is pleased to welcome Representative Dan Kildee (D-MI) to the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues. An Assembly delegation met with Rep. Kildee last month and discussed issues of concern to Armenian American constituents living in Michigan’s 5th Congressional district. Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny, Michigan-raised Western Region Director Mihran Toumajan, and Grassroots & Development Associate Mariam Khaloyan were joined by the Assembly’s Michigan State Director John Jamian, St. John Armenian Church of Greater Detroit Pastor Very Rev. Fr. Aren Jebejian, and members of the Armenian American community.
Rep. Dan Kildee is also a committed supporter of religious freedom in the Middle East. In the 114th Congress, he co-sponsored H.Res. 279, which urged “respect for freedom of expression and human rights in Turkey,” as well as H.Con.Res.75, which designated “the atrocities perpetrated by ISIL against religious and ethnic minorities in Iraq and Syria” as “war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.”
“On behalf of Armenian Americans in Michigan, we thank Rep. Dan Kildee for his dedication to and support of U.S.-Armenia relations, as well as for joining the Armenian Caucus following our insightful meeting,” Fr. Jebejian stated.
As part of its advocacy efforts in Michigan, an Assembly-led delegation consisting of constituents from the state’s 8th Congressional district visited Rep. Mike Bishop (R-MI) in his Brighton district office. Local advocates expressed their appreciation to the Congressman for being a Member of the Armenian Caucus and for co-sponsoring H.Res. 220, which “expresses the sense of the House of Representatives that the United States, in seeking to prevent war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide against religious and ethnic groups in the Middle East, should draw upon relevant lessons of the U.S. government, civil society, and humanitarian response to the Armenian Genocide, Seyfo, and the broader genocidal campaign by the Ottoman Empire.”
Delegation members thanked Rep. Bishop for being one of the 36 signers of the bipartisan letter addressed to U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson opposing the sale of guns to Turkey in light of the vicious attack by Turkey’s security detail in our Nation’s Capital against peaceful protesters, which was spearheaded by Armenian Caucus Co-Chair and fellow Michigan Congressman David Trott (R-MI). The letter urged the State Department to reject a proposed sale of semi-automatic handguns and ammunition to a Turkish government controlled entity authorized to import firearms to the Department of Security of the Presidency of the Republic of Turkey.
“We deeply appreciate Congressman Bishop’s steadfast support, including during his tenure in the State of Michigan House of Representatives and in the Michigan Senate,” said Assembly State Director John Jamian. “We look forward to working with him and the entire Michigan delegation to champion pro-Armenian legislation in Congress,” he added.
The same month, Jamian led another group who met with Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence (D-MI), a Member of the Armenian Caucus who has co-sponsored H.R. 220 and signed a bipartisan letter to President Donald Trump urging him to affirm the Armenian Genocide. The letter stated in part: “In that spirit of honoring the victims and redoubling our commitment to prevent genocide, we ask you to appropriately mark April 24th as a day of American remembrance of the Armenian Genocide.”
The Assembly staff remains dedicated to reaching out to Members of Congress from Michigan in its headquarters in Washington, D.C. On September 5, Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny and Grassroots & Development Associate Mariam Khaloyan thanked Rep. John Moolenaar (R-MI) for joining the Armenian Caucus and co-sponsoring H.Res.220 alongside his colleagues from Michigan.
The Assembly continued its outreach in Michigan with a grassroots-level meeting with Fr. Jebejian and local activists at St. John Armenian Church. Attendees discussed the important role of advocacy and political involvement for Armenian Americans, and highlighted the long-term significance of engaging and educating public servants at all levels throughout Michigan.
Established in 1972, the Armenian Assembly of America is the largest Washington-based nationwide organization promoting public understanding and awareness of Armenian issues. The Assembly is a non-partisan, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt membership organization.