WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) received letters from former Vice President and Senator Joe Biden; Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA); Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY); Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Robert Menendez (D-NJ); California Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Kamala Harris (D-CA); Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT); Massachusetts Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Ed Markey (D-MA); the leadership of the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues – Reps. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Adam Schiff (D-CA), and Peter King (R-NY); House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Raul Grijalva (D-AZ); Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA); Rep. Jim Costa (D-CA); Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME); Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI); Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD); and Rep. TJ Cox (D-CA) emphasizing the importance of reaffirming the United States’ record on the Armenian Genocide and congratulating Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) for receiving the Assembly’s Deukmejian Award for Public Service. The letters were sent to the Armenian Assembly for its 2019 National Advocacy Conference and Gala, which was widely attended by Armenian American leaders and activists from throughout the United States.
FORMER VP BIDEN & SENATORS CONGRATULATE REP. SPEIER
“The United States must reaffirm, once and for all, our record on the Armenian Genocide. As a co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues, Congresswoman Speier has been an unfailing champion on this important issue. We must never forget or remain silent about this horrific and systematic campaign of extermination that resulted in the deaths of 1.5 million Armenian men, women, and children and the mass deportation of 2 million Armenians from their homes,” former Vice President Joe Biden told the Armenian Assembly. “I’m proud to join the Armenian Assembly of America in honoring Congresswoman Jackie Speier’s steadfast commitment to advancing U.S.-Armenian relations. Representative Speier has demonstrated incredible leadership in Congress on issues ranging from women’s rights and national security to global human rights and the support of free and fair democracy. The people of California and the American people are fortunate to have her fighting for justice and equality at home and abroad – the world is truly better for it.”
“Please accept my warmest greetings as you gather for the Armenian Assembly of America’s Advocacy Conference and Gala. I am grateful for the opportunity to express my admiration for the outstanding work of the Armenian Assembly of America and tonight’s honoree on this wonderful occasion,” Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer stated.
“First, I would like to applaud the Armenian Assembly of America for their tireless efforts and advocacy in striving to deepen the relations between the United States and the Republic of Armenia,” Senator Schumer said. “Additionally, I would like to spotlight this year’s honoree: Co-Chair of the Congressional Armenian Caucus and recipient of the Deukmejian Award for Public Service, Congresswoman Jackie Speier. I am proud to acknowledge Congresswoman Speier for her dedicated and passionate work in the Armenian community and for her commitment to strengthening United States and Armenia relations.”
“I hold the Armenian Assembly of America’s work in the highest regard, and tonight’s Gala is a reminder of how impactful your efforts are in developing strong bonds between the United States and the Republic of Armenia,” Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Robert Menendez said. “It is a moral imperative for us to recognize the atrocities committed against the Armenian people during the Armenian Genocide, and I will take every opportunity to advocate for American recognition of the genocide. I proud stand with the Armenian-American community on many critical issues, such as fighting for continued humanitarian support for the people of Nagorno-Karabakh.”
Senator Menendez added: “I am with you in spirit tonight as you celebrate the Armenian-American partnership and the indispensable work of the Armenian Assembly of America. Thank you for your unwavering support of democracy in the United State and Armenia and your work to ensure the interests of Armenian-Americans are heard in Congress and around the country. I have been blessed to work with the Armenian Assembly of America throughout my career and look forward to continuing that collaboration into the future.”
“Congratulations to you on being honored at the Armenian Assembly of America’s 2019 National Advocacy conference & Gala!” Senator Dianne Feinstein said. “California is lucky to have such a passionate leader, and I look forward to continuing to work with you in the future.”
“It is a great joy that I join the Armenian Assembly’s 2019 National Advocacy Conference in congratulating my colleague Congresswoman Jackie Speier for her enduring commitment and support for the Armenian American community and U.S.-Armenian relations,” Senator Kamala Harris said. “Jackie and I also understand the importance of recognizing the Armenian Genocide. I am proud to be an original cosponsor of Senate Resolution 150, which ensures that American foreign policy appropriately reflects and acknowledges the horrors of the Armenian genocide. When it comes to crimes against humanity, we can never be silent – we must always speak uncomfortable truths about the past, lest we repeat it.”
“I also commend Jackie for her leadership in securing robust aid to help protect free and fair elections, the rule of law, and good governance across Armenia. Her efforts represent a powerful bipartisan consensus in Congress to affirm our shared democratic values with the people of Armenia. I am certain that with Jackie’s continued leadership in Congress, we will only strengthen U.S.-Armenian relations moving forward and continue building a better future for our children and ourselves,” Senator Harris added.
“Please accept my heartfelt congratulations to the Republic of Armenia on its 28th anniversary. As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I have worked closely with colleagues such as Representative Jackie Speier, who is a great friend to the Armenian people and who I am honored to call my colleague and friend,” Senator Elizabeth Warren said. “Like California, Massachusetts is blessed with a strong and vibrant Armenian community. As a Senator from the Bay State, I have consistently supported robust assistance to Armenia and a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh. Importantly, I have affirmed the Armenian Genocide, which is an atrocity that the world must never forget. I believe that if we do not recognize the horrors of the past, we risk those horrors being repeated in the future. That is why I am an original cosponsor of a bipartisan Senate resolution that recognizes the Armenia Genocide and encourages widespread education of this tragedy. I was honored to speak at the Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day centennial ceremony in April 2015 at the Armenian Heritage Park in Boston, and I will continue supporting efforts to bring recognition to the genocide.”
“As you gather for the Armenian Assembly of America’s 2019 National Advocacy Conference and Gala, it is my distinct honor and gives me tremendous pride to extend a heartfelt and well-deserved congratulations to my colleague and dear friend, Congresswoman Jackie Speier. Jackie embodies and epitomizes the values we all hold so dear – she is a fighter, a survivor and a tireless advocate for truth and justice. There is no one more deserving of being honored by the Armenian Assembly with the Deukmejian Award for Public Service,” said Senator Ed Markey.
“Jackie is a legislative force on so many critical issues facing our country. The Armenian community is truly lucky to be able to call her a friend and fellow Armenian. We are so fortunate to have such an amazing ally in the House fighting every day to deepen the longstanding friendship between the United States and Armenia, properly recognize the Armenian Genocide and for every issue critical to Armenian Americans and Armenians all over the globe,” he continued.
U.S. REPRESENTATIVES APPLAUD COLLEAGUE, REP. SPEIER
“It is a joy to join you in celebrating my friend and colleague, Congresswoman Jackie Speier, as she receives the Deukmejian Award for Public Service: a wonderful tribute to an iconic leader of our beloved state of California!” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. “Congresswoman Speier has been a persistent, effective champion of the United States-Armenian relationship for decades, and her leadership has been critical in forging ever-stronger ties between our governments and people.”
“We would like to start by congratulating our colleague, Co-Chair of the Congressional Armenian Caucus, Congresswoman Jackie Speier from California for receiving the Public Service Award for her exemplary leadership and long-standing support of Armenian issues. Her support of a democratic Armenia aligns with America’s fundamental values, as well as the Assembly’s mission,” Reps. Frank Pallone, Jr., Gus Bilirakis, Adam Schiff, and Peter King told the Armenian Assembly. “As leaders of the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues and strong supporters of the Armenian American community, we look forward to continuing our special relationship to advance our shared values.”
“Today marks a special occasion to celebrate Armenia’s landmark political transition and recognize Representative Jackie Speier for her commitment to the pursuit of strong U.S.-Armenia relations. With over a decade of service in the House of Representatives, the relationship between U.S. and Armenia has remained one of her key issues. I join you all in thanking Rep. Speier for her efforts and share your excitement about what the future will hold for a more democratic Armenia,” House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Raul Grijalva said.
“The democratic values and the push for transparency and an end to corruption that the Armenian people have demonstrated mirror the principles we strive for here in the U.S. In this way, our visions for a flourishing and prosperous democracy are aligned. I know we can rely on the impassioned work and vibrant spirit of Rep. Speier to continue to help bridge American and Armenian communities, foster robust partnerships going forward, and defend against forces that try to undercut the foundations of democracy,” Chairman Girjalva continued. “I am proud of what Rep. Speier has achieved and look forward to seeing what she has planned for enhancing U.S.-Armenian relations.”
“It is my pleasure to congratulate my colleague and friend Rep. Jackie Speier for being recognized by the Armenian Assembly at this year’s National Advocacy Conference Gala for her years of being a stalwart supporter of United States-Armenia relations,” Rep. Zoe Lofgren said. “Rep. Speier has a passion and personal devotion for issues of importance to the Armenian-American community.”
“It gives me great pleasure to mark this special occasion to celebrate U.S.-Armenian relations, and how far we have come. Since the establishment of the Armenian Assembly more than 45 years ago, the Assembly has continuously been on the forefront of promoting public awareness of U.S.-Armenian issues, supporting democracy in Armenia and Artsakh, and advancing universal recognition of the Armenian Genocide,” said Rep. Jim Costa.
“We are gathered here today to also celebrate dedicated public servants who have strengthened U.S.-Armenian Relations. It gives me great pleasure and honor to congratulate the recipient of the Public Service Award for this year – our fellow colleague, and Co-Chair of the Congressional Armenian Caucus, Congresswoman Jackie Speier. Over the years, I have had the privilege of serving with Congresswoman Speier from the California State Assembly, Senate, and here in the House of Representatives. Her tenacity and passion for public service is unparalleled. Congresswoman Speier has been an advocate of human rights across the globe before she became an elected official. We are all lucky to have her as a colleague and a strong leader as a Co-Chair of the Congressional Armenian Caucus. Congresswoman, congratulations again and thank you for your leadership,” Rep. Costa added.
“As her colleague on the Congressional Armenia Caucus, I have been fortunate to have a front seat at Congresswoman Speier’s tireless advocacy supporting US-Armenia relations. During her ten years in Congress, Congresswoman Speier has led the charge to reaffirm the United States’ recognition of the Armenian Genocide, and pushed for aid funding for Armenia. Just this year Congresswoman Speier was successful in providing Armenia with an additional $40 million in democracy aid funding. I am pleased to see her fervent advocacy be recognized,” Rep. Chellie Pingree stated.
“In addition to her critical work on issues important to the Armenian American community, Congresswoman Speier has also been a strong and passionate leader for women’s rights. From her efforts to end the epidemic of sexual assault in the military and on college campuses, to closing the gender pay gap, the Congresswoman has been a powerful champion for women during our time in Congress,” she added.
“As an Armenian-American, [Jackie Speier] has championed the United States-Armenia relationship throughout her years as a public servant from her time as a County Supervisor in northern California through her tenure in the California Legislature, and now as a senior member of the House of Representatives. She has helped advance humanitarian assistance to Armenia and Arsakh, steadfastly supported Congressional affirmation of the Armenian Genocide, and promoted projects to bring together American and Armenian civil societies. I have seen, first-hand, the impact U.S. engagement has meant to Armenia and the region,” Rep. Tulsi Gabbard told the Assembly.
“Today, young Armenian-Americans can look to her example of determination and dedication to America and the communities she has and continues to serve. It is the same spirit that brings you together today – from across the country – to make your voices heard in the hall of Congress. Your activism empowers the Armenian Assembly to continue its mission of promoting public awareness of the important issues impacting Armenian-Americans and ensuring Congress take an active role in building stronger bridges between America and Armenia,” she continued.
Rep. Jamie Raskin said: “…I join you in spirit to celebrate Armenia’s remarkable political transition and commitment to democracy. I would also like to join you in recognizing my sensational and ubiquitous colleague, Congresswoman Jackie Speier, who has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to solidifying democracy in Armenia and to strengthening relations between our two countries.”
“As co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues, Congresswoman Speier has been a fierce advocate for humanitarian assistance to Armenia and Artsakh and has highlighted the importance of strong U.S.-Armenia relations. She has also worked to educate the world about Armenia’s history in an effort to prevent future atrocities,” he added. “I am grateful for Congresswoman Speier’s leadership and her work to bolder the U.S. Armenia partnership.”
“This is a well-deserved tribute to Congresswoman Speier for her commitment to the pursuit of strong U.S.-Armenia relations. With over a decade of service in the House of Representatives, Congresswoman Speier has remained committed to solidifying the Republic of Armenia’s democracy and her leadership has been vital in developing stronger ties between our two countries,” Rep. TJ Cox told the Assembly. “I’d also like to extend my deep appreciation to the Armenian Assembly for your ongoing efforts to strengthen the bilateral relations between the Republic of Armenia and the United States. The Armenian Assembly has been a partner since its inception and your leadership has helped engage us as elected officials with the critical needs facing the Republic of Armenia and the Armenian-American community in the United States.”
In addition to elected officials in the House and Senate, the President of the Republic of Armenia, Dr. Armen Sarkissian, and the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia, Nikol Pashinyan, extended their written compliments to Congresswoman Jackie Speier on this auspicious occasion.
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.