Annual Armenian Caucus Capitol Hill Remembrance Draws Standing-Room-Only Audience of Community Leaders, Coalition Partners
WASHINGTON—Members of U.S. Senate and House taking part in the annual Capitol Hill remembrance of the Armenian Genocide stressed that the United States, as a matter of national policy, should be working toward a truthful and just recognition of this crime, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
During the evening remembrance program, legislators raised serious concerns, on a bipartisan basis, regarding the dangerous modern day implications of continued official U.S. and international indifference to a century of unchecked anti-Armenian violence and genocide, even amid warning signs of renewed atrocities against Nagorno-Karabagh Republic (NKR/Artsakh).
“We want to thank each of the legislators who joined us today, and the many more who are working to stop official U.S. complicity in Ankara’s genocide denials and bring an end to the Administration’s troubling silence in the face of Azerbaijan’s reckless military escalation against Nagorno-Karabagh,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “Sadly, we are seeing today—in Azerbaijan’s attacks all along the Nagorno-Karabagh line-of-contact—the results of longstanding U.S. appeasement of Turkey and international indifference to Azerbaijan’s anti-Armenian aggression, even amid clear warning signs of renewed atrocities.”
A prominent theme was the escalation of Azerbaijan’s attacks against Nagorno-Karabagh, which claimed several hundred Armenian and Azerbaijani lives between April 2 and 5. Constant ceasefire violations continue to undermine peace in the region, with three members of Artsakh’s defense forces killed in just the last two days. Members of Congress called for zeroing out military aid to Azerbaijan, with many urging an increase in assistance to Artsakh in light of recent violence.
The annual Capitol Hill observance of the Armenian Genocide was organized by the Congressional Armenian Caucus in cooperation with the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia, Office of the Republic of Nagorno-Karabagh in the U.S., and Armenian American organizations.
Among the federal legislators offering remarks were Senator Robert Menendez (D-Calif.), Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) and Robert Dold (R-Ill.) as well as, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.), Select Committee on Intelligence Ranking Democrat Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Armenian and Assyrian American Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), Judy Chu (D-Calif.), Katherine Clark (D-Mass.), Jim Costa (D-Calif.), Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.), Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.), John Sarbanes (D-Md.), Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), Dina Titus (D-Nev.), and David Trott (R-Mich.). Also in attendance were Rep. David Brat (R-Va.), Hellenic Caucus Co-Chair Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.), Tony Cardenas (D-Calif.), Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission Co-Chair James McGovern (D-Mass.), and Armenian Genocide Resolution lead author David Valadao (R-Calif.).
Capitol Hill veteran and Greater Washington D.C. community activist Elise Kenderian Aronson served as Mistress of Ceremonies for the evening, inviting clerical leaders His Eminence Oshagan Choloyan, Prelate of the Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of Eastern U.S. and Rev. Fr. Tatev Terteryan of St. Mary Apostolic Church to offer the benediction and invocation. Also offering keynote remarks were His Excellency Grigor Hovhannissian, ambassador of the Republic of Armenia to the U.S., and the Honorable Robert Avetisyan, Nagorno-Karabagh representative to the U.S.
Armenian Americans were joined by representatives from the Hellenic, Assyrian and Kurdish communities at the observance, including Ted Katsoubas from the Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC); Steve Oshana, Executive Director of A Demand for Action; and, Dasko Shirwani of the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) among many others.
An ANCA pictorial review of the annual Armenian Genocide observance is available on Facebook.
In addition to live video offered on the ANCA Facebook site during the event, the ANCA will be posting individual remarks from the event throughout the week on its Facebook page, website, and via twitter.