The Armenian National Committee (ANC) of Illinois recently concluded four meetings with appropriate staff members to discuss many topics that affect our homeland, continuing its Representative Meeting Initiative that began last December. The meetings were held directly with representatives or staffers from the following offices: Senator Dick Durbin and Rep. Brad Schneider of the 10th district, Rep. Cheri Bustos of the 17th district and Rep. Robin Kelly of the 2nd district.
The ANC of Illinois began its series of meetings on August 3, meeting with Congresswoman Bustos’ staffer Brian Belongia. ANC of Illinois member Kenneth Hachikian led the meeting. The following day, constituents of the 10th district Renee Devedjian and Vartan Seferian held an in-person meeting with Rep. Schneider at his office.
On August 8, Hachikian met virtually with staff member Brandon Difulvio of Congresswoman Kelly’s office. The final meeting was held via Zoom with Senator Durbin’s foreign policy/defense staffer Corey Cowen. While many of these meetings did not require constituents, the ANC of Illinois is always looking for Armenians wanting to engage in helping lobby for our homeland.
Discussions included support around:
- H.R. 7555 – Armenian Genocide Education Act
- H.R. 240 – Calling on Azerbaijan to immediately release all prisoners of war and captured civilians
- Aid to Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) – $50M to Artsakh as part of the FY2023 Foreign Aid Bill
- Aid to Armenia – $100 million to Armenia as part of the FY2023 Foreign Aid Bill
- Azerbaijan – Removing the waiver authority under section 907 of the Freedom Support Act, zeroing out FMF and IMETaid to Azerbaijan
- Including the following language in the body of the Act: No funds appropriated or otherwise made available under this Act may be provided to the government of Azerbaijan for US military or security programs.
While scheduling the meetings and during the actual meetings, the ANC of Illinois sent out an email with an attached memo from the ANCA that highlighted the most recent attack by Azerbaijan on the innocent people of Artsakh that killed two and injured 19. The above legislative actions were stressed.
The responses from all of the representatives were positive, but now we have to see what type of action they take to back up their words. These types of meetings are always beneficial to our cause as we must continue to be vigilant and do what we can to support our brothers and sisters in our homeland by attempting to protect our sovereignty and working for justice. The ANC of Illinois is currently working on scheduling meetings with Bill Foster Il-11, Sean Casten Il-6, Lauren Underwood Il-14, and Mike Quigley IL-5. While we did not meet with Jan Schakowsky Il-9 or Raja Krishnamoorthi Il-8, they have always been friends and both tweeted about the situation in Artsakh.
We are encouraging more constituents to assist the ANC of Illinois in these meetings. If you’d like to participate, email email@example.com.