Sen. Bernie Sanders meets with representatives of the Armenian-American community.

Sen. Sanders Meets with LA Armenian-American Representatives


LOS ANGELES — Representatives from the Armenian Council of America (ACA) along with the Armenian Assembly of America, Southern California Armenian Democrats (SCAD), and the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) met with Senator Bernie Sanders on November 16 to discuss key issues of importance to the Armenian American community ahead of the 2020 presidential primary.

ACA Board Member Harry Unell gave a brief introduction of the organization and explained the scope of work and mission of ACA. “We have worked on legislation from Genocide recognition to the formal recognition of Artsakh, including advocating for democracy in Turkey and Azerbaijan, as their democracy directly impacts Armenia,” said Unell.

“ACA also has a legal aid program which aims to assist citizens and non-citizens who are economically challenged or below the poverty line, including providing resources for undocumented Armenians currently residing in the U.S.”

Christine Aghakhanian, ACA Board Member, thanked Sanders for his support of U.S. economic aid to Armenia. She reiterated the enormous strides the Armenian government is making towards economic equality and transparency of government in light of the recent Velvet Revolution and urged Sanders along with his colleagues in the Senate to continue their support.

“We hope, if elected,  you will be the first U.S. President to visit Armenia,” Aghakhanian added.

During the meeting Sanders was gifted an Armenian Genocide Centennial forget-me-not flower pin which he wore during the rally attended by thousands at Woodrow Wilson High School immediately following the meeting.

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“Overall we had a very productive meeting with Senator Sanders who is genuinely interested in hearing about the needs and concerns of our community,” said ACA Chairman Sevak Khatchadorian. “We look forward to continued dialogue with his office” he added.

“We had a productive conversation with Senator Sanders, discussing a range of issues of concern to the Armenian American community in the Western United States,” remarked ANCA-WR Vice Chairman Raffi Kassabian, Esq. “We thanked the Senator for his historic and principled support for genocide recognition as a co-sponsor of S.Res.150 and urged him to advocate for honest genocide recognition and justice in the Senate in light of recent efforts in the Senate to enforce Turkey’s gag-rule,” he continued. “In light of past presidential candidates’ empty promises, the community has restructured its form of advocacy and expects all candidates to deliver discrete actions that manifest themselves prior to Election Day instead of after taking office.”

As a member of the U.S. House of Representatives (1991-2007) and U.S. Senate (2008-Present), Bernie Sanders has supported Armenian Genocide legislation, efforts to secure Turkey’s return of confiscated Armenian and other Christian churches, voted to restrict financial assistance and military sales to Turkey, signed Senator Bob Menendez’s letter opposing cuts to U.S. aid for Artsakh de-mining, and supported Section 907 restrictions on U.S. assistance to Azerbaijan due to its ongoing blockade and aggression against Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh.

The California Democratic Party presidential primary will be held on March 3, 2020.


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