New ANCA of Missouri Marks Progress in Eastern Region


On April 28, the ANCA Eastern Region expanded its presence in the Midwest with the announcement of the newly formed ANCA of Missouri. The announcement was made at the St. Gregory Armenian Apostolic Church genocide commemoration event in Granite City, Ill., to a crowd of 85 people.

The new committee is the second in the metropolitan St. Louis area, joining the ANC of Southern Illinois, which has been active for many years.

As someone who was born and raised in Granite City, I am beyond proud of my home city. This announcement marks a huge victory for the ANCA Eastern Region because it shows just how much we are expanding.

The ANC of Southern Illinois has long been led by my uncle, Steve Hagopian. As most of us know, though, when working with elected officials it is best to hear from constituents in their own districts. The ANC of Southern Illinois only had so much reach with Missouri politicians; thus, a need for an ANCA of Missouri was identified awhile back.

The ANC of Missouri will be led by brothers John and Jake Varadian, as well as John Donjoian, all three of whom have a long track record of serving the local community, as members of the St. Gregory Church Board of Trustees and as alumni of the Armenian Youth Federation. They also all live in the greater St. Louis metro area, which means they have a feel for local and state politics and can start mobilizing others nearby.

The Granite City Armenian community is strong when it rallies around a cause, and the formation of this new local ANC will pay huge dividends for both the local community and the Eastern Region. It gives us new connections in a state (Missouri) where the ANCA has been relatively quiet. Because Illinois is such a large state, the two local ANC’s there, Southern Illinois and Northern Illinois, have enough to worry about, so the ANC of Missouri will have plenty to focus on as it hits the ground running.

The announcement shows how vast our reach is in the Eastern Region. With 31 states in our jurisdiction, there is much work to be done and we always need new activists. The ANC of Missouri has already met and is undertaking ANCA initiatives that can produce quick results.

All it takes is a few determined individuals to start advocating for the Armenian cause. We’ve got them in far-flung places—from Louisiana to Ohio, from Maine to Florida. Every state has value for the ANCA Eastern Region because there are countless projects (and potential projects) to tackle related to Hai Tahd.

I’ve said it before: Our local ANC committees are our bread and butter. We would not be an Eastern Region without the scores of people who make up our local communities. There’s only so much I can do as director of the region; the rest comes from you.

The ANC of Missouri announcement is a big deal. We look forward to reporting on their accomplishments and welcoming other new local ANCs to the region.

If you want to join ANCA Eastern Region efforts or want to create a new local ANC, e-mail me at Armenian Americans need more voices to represent them at every level. Make yours heard today.

Michelle Hagopian

Michelle Hagopian

Michelle Hagopian is the chairwoman of AYF-YOARF Central Executive. She has served as the executive director of the Armenian National Committee of America, Eastern Region.

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