ANCA-Western Region 2013 Annual Report
ANCA-WR Mission Statement
The Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region is the largest Armenian American grassroots advocacy 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 ANCA-WR works to promote understanding regarding issues of concern to the Armenian American community.
ANCA-WR Board chairperson Nora Hovsepian
Board Chairperson’s Message
I have had the privilege of serving as the Chair of ANCA WR for two years now though I have served in different capacities within the organization off and on since the 1980’s. In that time not a day has gone by that I was not inspired by the work that is done here and the devotion and perseverance of the people who do it. From the dedicated and committed volunteers who serve on the Board of Directors and various committees, to our donors and supporters, staff and interns, the ANCA is not just a community organization, but a family that digs its roots deep and expands its branches far – to fortify, advance and give voice to the Armenian-American community.
We have come a long way, and as our community has grown and evolved, we have grown and evolved with it to make sure its needs are met. Our programs have expanded, our staff has increased, and our reputation and initiatives have become a model for others.
The work of our local chapters has now come to include many community service initiatives like free legal clinics, community town hall forums, voter education and registration, pathways to maximize civic engagement in all levels of government, media response mechanisms, and other means by which our community can fully integrate, all the while continuing to stay true to our mission of fighting for Armenian Genocide recognition and reparations, helping Armenia and Artsakh develop and prosper, and working hard to ensure the safety and security of our Homeland against all threats. This multi-disciplinary approach is more important than ever as it is part of a long-term approach in ensuring that we have thriving communities across the region that will help bring justice and accountability in all levels of government while simultaneously helping to advance the Armenian Cause overall.
In the past two years, we have also created an Advisory Board composed of our elder statesmen who had the vision to create and develop this organization and from whose institutional memory, collective wisdom and diverse experience we have greatly benefitted. We are deeply grateful to them, and to all of those who have supported the organization over time and helped us to get to where we are today.
Despite the difficult economic climate, and the many challenges it has brought, we have been able to continue and expand our work because of such support and backing of our community. The many accomplishments we have achieved this year are the result of this partnership and teamwork. As we move forward, I know we will only be building on the strong foundation that has been set, stone by stone, for so many years.
By standing together and continuing to develop mechanisms to strengthen and amplify our community’s voice, I know we will reach even greater heights of distinction and accomplishments as we continue to strive toward our ultimate goals.
In Common Cause,
Nora Hovsepian, Esq.
Chair, ANCA Western Region
ANCA-WR Board members meet with Calif. Governor Jerry Brown
Strengthening The Grassroots
Powering Up Our Local Chapters
Recognizing that our strength lies in the incredible work conducted by our local chapters in their respective communities, one of the major undertakings of the ANCA Western Region in 2013 has been to strengthen and work more closely with our local chapters. Through allocation of additional resources and support from the ANCA WR Board liaisons and staff, our local chapters are able to with greater ease successfully implement programs and initiatives.
The ANCA WR now works alongside with local chapters toward cultivating relationships with local public officials and entities, is more involved in community activities and community development, and helps promote grassroots activism on a local level to be utilized at the state, regional and national levels in advancing the Armenian Cause. The results of this effort in the past year have been incredible, as we have witnessed existing and new chapters become more organized, active and proactive in addressing issues in their local communities.
Expanding Our Reach Through Town Halls
In an effort to educate and remain in close ties with existing ANCA local chapters and establish new chapters in the region, the ANCA WR conducted a number of town hall meetings in Idaho, Texas, Arizona, San Diego, Seattle, Nevada among other locations.
Given the incredible response by local community members to attend the town hall meetings and their eagerness to start a local chapter or become involved with an existing one, the ANCA WR will continue to host similar community gatherings to engage communities outside of its headquarters base in Los Angeles, CA.
Making Our Community’s Voice Heard Through Hye Votes
In 2012, the ANCA WR launched the very successful Hye Votes initiative as a region wide, non-partisan program to engage community members in the electoral process. The Hye Votes efforts in coalition with our local chapters, a network of non-profit organizations, student groups, and community members, are intended to register and encourage the community to vote in the Elections while also serving as a source for voter information.
For the 2012 Presidential Elections, the 2013 Los Angeles Mayoral Elections, and more recently for the Montebello City Elections, Hye Votes along with area specific ANCA WR local chapters, coordinated a multi-faceted civic participation campaign designed to walk first-time and disadvantaged voters through the entire political process. The components of the campaign included: voter registration, voter education, voter mobilization, voter assistance, voter research, voting rights advocacy and get-out-the-vote efforts.
The aforementioned combined with on-the-ground field organizers, advertising, direct mail, trainings, phone banking, and canvassing resulted in over 5,500 additional registered Armenian voters and unprecedented turnouts in the Elections by the Armenian-American community. Given the success and the importance of the initiative, the ANCA-Western Region is currently in the midst of establishing a Hye Votes task force to be comprised of representatives from local chapters to continue implementing the initiative across the region.
California state and local officials during the ANCA-WR trip to Armenia
Elevating Awareness And Advocacy
2013 has been an extremely busy year for the ANCA WR in the area of legislative affairs. We continued to stand strong on issues of importance to the Armenian-American communities by working closely with our national office on proper recognition of the Armenian Genocide through the Armenian Genocide Truth and Justice Act that was recently introduced in the US House of Representatives, calling upon the White House and Congress to prominently display the Armenian Genocide Orphan Rug at the Smithsonian, activating our grassroots to voice opposition on US strikes against Syria, and advocating for foreign aid to Armenia and Artsakh.
Moreover, in order to have a stronger presence in the CA State Capitol and take proactive steps in minimizing the recent efforts of infiltrating the CA legislature by the Turkish and Azeri lobby, the ANCA Western Region hired a Legislative Affairs Director to educate elected officials, hold regular meetings, cultivate relationships, and work on policy issues as they relate to the benefit of the Armenian communities in the region, Armenia, and Artsakh.
All the while, our local chapters took on demanding proper representation in their city institutions, opposing electrical fee hikes that would heavily impact the livelihood of the Armenian-American residents in their region, partnering with their school districts to ensure that Armenian parents and students with language barriers were able to successfully navigate the education system, and serving as the bridge between issues in city departments and their Armenian-American constituency.
Meetings With Officials
The ANCA WR held more than 150 meetings in 2013 with just state and federal level elected officials to educate and advocate on issues of concern to the Armenian-American community. This high volume number of meetings does not include those held with local elected officials, appointed high level administrators, any meetings held by the ANCA National Headquarters, or the local chapters of the ANCA WR.
Groundbreaking Delegation Trip To Armenia And Artsakh
In an effort to establish direct ties between U.S. elected officials and the Homeland by providing policymakers with a first-hand understanding of the rich Armenian history and culture, the ANCA Western Region helped organize a delegation of prominent city and state officials for a 5 day in-depth visit to Armenia followed by a two day visit to Artsakh. The groundbreaking trip, which took place from September 17 to September 24, 2013 was hosted by the Governments of Armenia and NKR, and facilitated by the Consul General of Los Angeles in coordination with the California State Assembly and the City of Los Angeles.
The delegation included CA State Assembly Speaker John Perez, Assemblymembers Katcho Achadjian, Cheryl Brown, Adrin Nazarian, Scott Wilk, Los Angeles City Councilmembers Bob Blumenfield and Paul Krekorian, Assemblymember Nazarian’s Chief of Staff Dan Savage, Councilmember Krekorian’s Chief of Staff Areen Ibranossian, Communications Director Jeremy Oberstein and Director of Planning and Land Usage Karo Torossian, ANCA WR Chair Nora Hovsepian, and ANCA WR Executive Director Elen Asatryan. The ANCA WR intends to organize similar trips on an annual basis.
2013 ANCA-WR Advocay Day in Sacrament
Advocacy Day In Sacramento
On April 15, 2013, the ANCA WR hosted more than 200 activists from all over California for its annual Advocacy Day and for the Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide in the California State Legislature.
Community activists of every age spent the entire day advocating issues concerning the community by educating their legislators about the consequences of the denial of the Genocide, while viewing the month-long exhibit of Armenian American inventors that have contributed to the well-being of the American population. Participants also observed the State Assembly’s and State Senate’s commemorations which recognized various community groups including the ANCA WR. The day’s events were highlighted by passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution in both chambers of the State legislature.
In order to bring together large segments of the Armenian-American community to hear and interact with political candidates at the local, state, and federal levels of government, the ANCA WR organized numerous town-halls and debates during elections. The most successful of these forums/debates was the Berman and Sherman debate as it was the first time we watched incumbent congressmen debate issues of importance to Armenian-Americans that was also aired live nationwide.
ANCA-WR Executive Director Elen Asatryan speaks to college students about Hye Tad
Investing In The Future
ANCA WR Internship Program
Acknowledging the importance of providing a pipeline of support to the next generation of our community’s leaders, the ANCA WR re-launched its internship program for the 8th year in May 2013, while our Glendale Chapter kicked off its 7th year, and our Crescenta Valley chapter established one for their region. This selective, part time, leadership training program provides high school and college students as well as recent college graduates an opportunity to gain an in-depth understanding of community issues as well as advocacy efforts on the local, regional, and federal levels. During their tenure, interns are given valuable opportunities to interact with public officials, develop leadership and advocacy skills, represent the ANCA WR at community and media events, organize various grassroots campaigns and events, work with staff, Board members, committee members, and local ANCA chapters as well as attend weekly educational lectures. The multi-faceted internship compounds professional skill-building with networking opportunities to promote well-rounded individuals to serve in our community and on future ANCA Western Region and local chapter committees. The program hosts spring, summer, and fall sessions.
ANCA Leo Sarkisian Internship Program
In that same spirit, the ANCA WR also sponsored two local students to participate in the prestigious ANCA Leo Sarkisian Internship Program in Washington, DC. The Internship program, now in its 29th year, provides Armenian American youth leaders from the across the U.S. an opportunity to learn first-hand about the inner workings of the American political system during its eight week training session in the nation’s capital.
ANCA WR-AYF Mentorship Program
In the summer of 2013, ANCA WR partnered with the Armenian Youth Federation Western Region to establish a mentorship program for the youth in the area. Through this new program, ANCA Professional Network members are paired with AYF members to assist them with such matters as choosing a college, college applications, professional development, and professional internships.
Path To College Program (PTC)
Originally launched by the ANCA Glendale Chapter in 2007, the PTC program consists of a series of forums organized to educate the non-English speaking immigrant Armenian population about the multitude of opportunities available to secondary school students. Though the program is geared toward the non-English speaking immigrant population, it is open to all students and parents who need assistance.
The objective of the program is to increase high school retention and admission to college. The forums cover such topic matters as high school graduation requirements, 4 year plan, English Language Development classes, the college application process and deadlines, financial aid, SAT & ACT college admission exams, how to write personal statements, and the difference between community colleges and 4-year universities. Given the success and the need in our communities for such services, the ANCA WR brought the PTC program on the regional level to help organize similar forum across the region using the Glendale model.
ANCA Grassroots Conference
In 2013, the much anticipated Grassroots Conference returned Thanksgiving Weekend, bringing together 31 expert panelists and more than 550 hundred activists from all over the world to analyze issues related to the Armenian Cause and to develop and promote new avenues of leadership and advocacy. The ANCA Grassroots Conference has been established as a bi-annual event.
ANCA-WR Annual Gala Banquet
The premier annual fundraising event for the ANCA-WR, the 2013 Annual Banquet Gala was attended by more than 1,000 activists, supporters, donors and public officials who came together to acknowledge the work of the organization and to pay homage to the 2013 honorees Primate of Artsakh Archbishop Barkev Martirosyan, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Legendary Coach Jerry Tarkanian, Lifelong Philanthropist Manas Boujikian, Assemblymember Katcho Achadjian, and Activist and Filmmaker Ara Soudjian for their contributions to the Armenian Cause.
ANCA-PN Destination Weekend
The inaugural event was successfully held in October, 2012, in Las Vegas, Nevada, and will hereafter be organized bi-annually, alternating years with the ANC Grassroots Conference. The locale will change each year with the goal of bringing together young Armenian professionals from all over the world to network, share ideas, identify mentors, socialize, and share their interest in the Armenian Cause.
ANCA-WR Board of Directors and staff
How does all of this happen? It’s Simple… Through Grassroots Efforts
Because we have a proven track record and the work we do is so critical, we have hundreds of dedicated community members across the region who serve on our regional and local boards, committees, and subcommittees, while others graciously contribute financially to make our programs and initiatives possible. No matter the size of the group or task being completed, all of our dedicated volunteers play a vital role in helping us fulfill our goal of educating, motivating and activating our community, all the while demanding accountability, proper representation, and justice from our representatives.
2 Ways You Can Help
We rely on region-wide monetary donations for the bulk of our operating funds. No matter how large or small. Every donation helps keep our lights on and fuels our advocacy, community outreach, civic engagement, youth, and development programs. A $15 donation allows us to purchase a case of paper, while a $100 donation covers the monthly bill of keeping our community informed of issues that are important to them through monthly e-newsletters.
You can be sure that we will stretch every dollar of your donation and ensure that your voice will be heard through local, state, and federal government agencies and grassroots action on the issues that matter to you most.
4 Ways To Donate
1. ANCA WR
2. Become a monthly ANCA WR donor.
3. Earmark Your Donation to the ANCA WR Initiative You Care About Most. Note: Contributions, gifts, and dues to the ANCA WR are not tax deductible. They support our effective, citizen-based advocacy efforts.
4. Make a tax-deductible gift to the ANC WR and help us continue our education and community outreach efforts.
Visit www.ancawr.org/donate to contribute today.
2. Get Involved
Contact us at: ANCA Western Region
104 N. Belmont, Ste. 200, Glendale, CA 91206
ANCA WR LOCAL CHAPTERS
75 E. Santa Anita Ave., Burbank, CA 91502
2348 Ventura St., Fresno, CA 93721
2633 Honolulu Ave., Montrose, CA 91020
211 W. Chestnut St. Ste. 302, Glendale, CA 91204
2242 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91107
(626) 356-3674 Ext.103
San Fernando Valley East
San Fernando Valley North
San Fernando Valley West
San Gabriel Valley
ANCA WR BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Nora Hovsepian, Esq., Chair
Steve Artinian, Treasurer
Garo Madenlian, Esq., Secretary
Arpie Jivalagian, Esq.
Raffi Kassabian, Esq.
Patil Aslanian, AYF Central Executive Liaison
ANCA WR ADVISORY BOARD
Seto Boyadjian, Esq., ANCA National Board Member
Steven Dadaian, Esq.
Raffi Hamparian, ANCA National Board Member
Levon Kirakosian, Esq.
ANCA WR STAFF
Elen Asatryan, Executive Director
Tereza Yerimyan, Government Affairs Director
Haig Baghdassarian, Esq., Legislative Affairs Director
Armine Der Grigorian, Accounting
Talar Malakian, ANCA-Glendale Executive Director
Nare Kupelian, ANCA-San Gabriel Valley Executive Director
Patil Derderian, ANCA-Crescenta Valley Executive Director
Ani Nazaryan, Banquet & Grassroots Coordinator
ANCA WR GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS COMMITTEE
Armen Garabedian, Esq., Chair
Raffi Kassabian, Esq., Board Liaison
Arpie Jivalagian, Esq., Board Liaison
ANCA WR PROFESSIONAL NETWORK
Linda Adran, Chair
Raffi Kassabian, Esq., Board Liaison
ANCA WR EDUCATION COMMITTEE
Alice Petrossian, Chair
Berdj Karapetian, Board Liaison
HYE VOTES TASK FORCE
Karo Khanjian, Board Liaison
ANCA WR CHAPTER DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE
Garo Madenlian, Esq., Board Liaison
ANCA WR NEAR EAST RELIEF CENTENNIAL COMMITTEE
Ayk Dikijian, Esq., Chair
Nora Hovsepian, Esq., Board Liaison
ANCA WR SPECIAL EVENTS COMMITTEE
Aida Yeghiazarian, Chair
Pattyl Aposhian-Kasparian, Board Liaison
ANCA WR FUNDRAISING & MARKETING COMMITTEE
Aida Dimejian, Chair
Steve Artinian, Board Liaison
ANCA WR INTERN ALUMNI COMMITTEE
Tatev Oganyan, Co Chair
Tamar Thomassian, Co Chair
Educate Motivate Activate