Armenian Assembly Prioritizes Congressional Resolution on the Armenian Genocide

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As the 116th Congress begins, the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) prioritizes passage of a congressional resolution on the Armenian Genocide as minority communities continue to be persecuted and targeted. Across the Middle East and other parts of the world, vulnerable minorities are facing the preconditions of genocide, or have already been subjected to gross violations of human rights. Just this week, Armenian schools in California were vandalized when trespassers hung Turkish flags. The Assembly has called for universal condemnation of this hate crime and urged a swift investigation to hold the perpetrators accountable.

“We have heard from our members and the community’s concern and frustration with the status quo regarding the semantic gymnastics which the Executive Branch, and recently some courts, have gone through to avoid using the term Armenian Genocide. They are not only embarrassing but also dangerous in a time where we see the risk of genocide in the same region and around the world increasing, as well as an increase in hate crimes. Since President Ronald Reagan clearly used the term Armenian Genocide, successive presidents have been afraid to reaffirm the United States record so clearly. It is a dysfunctional situation that needs to be corrected, and once again we will turn to Congress to reflect the will of the American people and be faithful to the principles that make this country great,” stated Assembly Co-Chairs Anthony Barsamian and Van Krikorian.

“The United States has officially recognized the Armenian Genocide since the time of the 1948 Genocide Convention. The subject is covered in the training for United States foreign service officers, exhibited in the U.S. Holocaust Museum, confirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, and taught in schools and universities around the country. A perfect example is the landmark case in Massachusetts to continue teaching the facts of the Armenian Genocide and other crimes against humanity in public schools across the state, for which the Assembly filed an amicus brief, and, with the support of teachers, students, and survivors, defeated Turkish efforts to remove it from Massachusetts classrooms,” the Co-Chairs added.

According to the Early Warning Project of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM), Turkey is ranked 8th among countries with the highest risk of committing mass killings, with an 11.2 percent chance of committing new mass killings during 2019. Turkey has been in the top 15 in each of USHMM’s past three annual assessments.

“We are watching history repeat itself as minorities are facing genocidal persecution, and in some cases carried out by Turkey. We must act now before Turkey attempts to commit another genocide in the region, this time against the Kurdish population in Syria. By holding Turkey accountable for the genocide committed by Ottoman Turks in 1915 – the first Genocide of the 20th Century – then Erdogan’s like-minded genocidal attacks today would be checked and stopped,” Assembly Co-Chairs also stated.

“Events around the world and even in the United States today only confirm the dark thinking of Hitler in his speech inscribed on the walls of the Holocaust Museum: ‘Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?’ It is time for passage of a new Armenian Genocide Resolution for America’s sake and for the victims past and present,” they concluded.

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.


NR# 2019-004

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Elected Officials and Community Gather at Armenian Assembly’s Annual New Year Event

PASADENA, CA – Elected officials and a cross-section of the Armenian American community of southern California, including Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) members and supporters, gathered on January 13 to celebrate the new year at the home of Assembly Southern California Regional Council (SCRC) member Al and Diane Cabraloff. The Cabraloffs generously opened their home to over 125 members and guests for an evening filled with good cheer and delectable food to usher in a new year of effective advocacy on pro-Armenian issues on Capitol Hill and in California’s State Capitol in Sacramento.

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Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) with Diane and Al Cabraloff

Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-CA-27), California State Senator Anthony Portantino (D-25), California State Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian (D-46), and Los Angeles County 5th District Supervisor Kathryn Barger participated in the gathering, shared remarks, and presented certificates of recognition to Al and Diane Cabraloff for their exemplary work in the Armenian community and in light of their contributions for the greater good of humanity.

“I’m always pleased to stand with my friends in the Armenian American community. I’m proud of the strong relationship between the U.S. and Armenia, and I appreciate the important part the Armenian Assembly of America has played in helping to promote and strengthen that relationship. I’m committed to continuing that relationship, including continued support for foreign aid to Armenia, a new double-tax treaty to encourage growth in both countries, and an official recognition of the Armenian Genocide which will finally put our country on the right side of history,” Rep. Chu said. The Congresswoman is a Member of the U.S. House Appropriations Committee, and a dedicated champion of consistent U.S. foreign assistance to the Republic of Armenia, as well as continued humanitarian and de-mining aid to the Republic of Artsakh.


Paul Hachigian, Dr. Gary Nishanian, Nicole Nishanian, Diane Cabraloff, Lily Balian, Colette Nishanian, Sosy Hachigian, and Grace Hachigian

“It was such a pleasure to kick off the New Year with the Armenian Assembly of America. I am always appreciative of opportunities to spend time with this terrific organization and its hardworking and caring members. It’s truly an honor to represent the largest Armenian community in the County of Los Angeles,” said Supervisor Barger.

On an annual basis during the month of April, Supervisor Barger and fellow supervisors formally salute Armenian Americans making a positive impact in Los Angeles County, in addition to officially commemorating the Armenian Genocide, in partnership with a wide array of community organizations, during a Board of Supervisors session. Notably, in December 2018, Supervisor Barger spearheaded a $1 million contribution from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors for the future Armenian American Museum in Glendale, California.

State Senator Portantino chairs the California State Senate’s Appropriations Committee and serves as the founding Chairman of the State Senate’s Select Committee on California, Armenia and Artsakh Mutual Trade, Art and Cultural Exchange. In 2018, Senator Portantino secured state funding for six full scholarships available to American University of Armenia student candidates to attend the University of California’s Hastings College of Law.

State Assemblymember Nazarian chairs the California State Assembly’s Committee on Aging and Long-Term Care. In 2017, Assemblymember Nazarian authored the landmark Divestment from Turkey Act, which received broad, bipartisan support in both chambers of the California State Legislature.

Other officials and staffers in attendance included California State Assemblymember Laura Friedman (D-43); Mayor of the City of Pasadena Terry Tornek; the Honorable Dickran Tevrizian, retired Senior Judge of the United States District Court for the Central District of California; former California State Assemblymember Steve Samuelian; Board Member of the Pasadena Unified School District Roy Boulghourjian; Mary Hovagimian, representing Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA-28); Garo Manjikian, representing California State Assemblymember Chris Holden (D-41); Jack Kayajian, representing City of Los Angeles Attorney Mike Feuer; Z. Greg Kahwajian, member of the County of Los Angeles Civil Service Commission; and Harout Semerdjian, member of the City of Los Angeles Human Relations Commission.

Al and Diane are dedicated members and supporters of the Armenian Assembly. Al is a long-time member of the Assembly’s SCRC, which regularly meets with elected officials to educate them on policy priorities for Armenian Americans residing throughout southern California.

During a brief program, Assembly Western Region Director Mihran Toumajan welcomed Assembly members and guests to the gathering and served as the master of ceremonies. Assembly Board of Trustees member Lisa Kalustian delivered a presentation on the Assembly’s advocacy, community outreach, and summer internship programs’ achievements in 2018, and encouraged attendees to get involved with the Assembly through membership, volunteerism, and political activism.

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SCRC member Jim Melikian, OCRC member Nicole Nishanian, SCRC member Flora Dunaians, SCRC member Michelle Kezirian, Board member Lisa Kalustian, Diane Cabraloff, Western Region Manager Aline Maksoudian, SCRC member Helen Haig, Lily Balian, Western Region Director Mihran Toumajan, Diyana Danielian, and SCRC member Al Cabraloff

Southern California-based leaders of the Armenian Assembly in attendance at the gathering included Board of Trustees members Lisa Kalustian and Talin Yacoubian; SCRC members Flora Dunaians, Helen Haig, Michelle Kezirian, Jim Melikian, and Margaret Mgrublian; and Orange County Regional Committee members Sosy Hachigian, Christine Kotchian, and Nicole Nishanian.

“The Armenian Assembly is grateful to Al and Diane Cabraloff for warmly welcoming a diverse group of members and friends of the Assembly to their beautiful home. The Cabraloff family’s generous hospitality compounded the positive and forward-looking vibes permeating at the gathering. The Assembly intends to harness the constructive energy of the gathering in its advocacy, outreach, and policy planning work in 2019,” stated Western Region Director Toumajan.

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.


NR# 2019-003

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