TARZANA, Calif. – Fifteen-year-old Lori Talero-Kazandjian is committed to the safety and security of the children and families of the Republic of Artsakh. And so, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic stay-at-home order, this San Fernando Valley, CA Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) “Sardarabad” Chapter Junior decided to take action.
Inspired by the Armenian National Committee of America’s (ANCA) #SaveArtsakhAid campaign, Talero-Kazandjian prepared a 90-second video encouraging one and all to join her in becoming an ANCA Rapid Responder to help make sure that U.S. Senate and House Appropriators include at least $1.5 million in Artsakh assistance in the Fiscal Year 2021 foreign aid bill. U.S. funding would support The HALO Trust’s Artsakh de-mining efforts and rehabilitation programs like those provided by the Baroness Cox Rehabilitation Center.
“Working together with the ANCA, we can, we must, and we will succeed in continuing U.S. support to achieve a #MineFreeArtsakh,” said Talero-Kazandjian in her video, which was sent to over 100,000 ANCA advocates via email and posted on the AYF Western US and Eastern US, as well as ANCA’s social media channels.
“Lori’s passionate support for Artsakh freedom and commitment to continued US support for a #MineFreeArtsakh is an inspiration to us all,” said ANCA Government Affairs Director Tereza Yerimyan. “With the Senate and House set to vote on FY2021 foreign aid priorities in the next several weeks, now is the time to visit anca.org/aid and ensure the life-saving de-mining work and rehabilitation efforts continue in Artsakh.”
Talero-Kazandjian’s effort builds on a nationwide ANCA-led campaign which has resulted in over 30 U.S. Senators and 75 U.S. Representatives urging continued funding for Artsakh de-mining efforts and much-needed rehabilitation services. The Congressional action comes amid increased Azerbaijani government lobbying efforts hoping to stop U.S. support for Artsakh under cover of the ongoing pandemic. Yerimyan has worked closely with the ANCA regional offices and local teams, as well as The HALO Trust which has carried out the Artsakh de-mining efforts for close to 20 years, to ensure that facts surrounding life-saving programs are shared broadly on Capitol Hill.
The U.S. House Appropriations Committee is set to introduce its FY2021 foreign aid measure in the next two weeks, with the Senate version of the bill to be unveiled in June. Pro-Artsakh advocates are encouraged to visit anca.org/aid and take action to ensure continued aid for life-saving de-mining efforts and rehabilitation programs.