July 23, 2008
NEW YORK - Armenian American supporters of Democratic Presidential hopeful Barack Obama gathered in Manhattan last week for the first of a series of grassroots forums, to discuss key community concerns to be included in the Democratic Party platform. "Campaigning and Cabernet," organized by NY and NJ "Armenians for Obama" and the Armenian National Committee of America, Eastern Region (ANCA-ER) was part of the Democratic Party's "Listening to America: The Democratic Platform for Change," an innovative effort to increase voter participation in the Democratic Party decision making process.
"The NY-NJ Armenians for Obama were proud to host the first of over a dozen platform meetings in key swing states and traditional Armenian American strongholds - from Pennsylvania, to Michigan to New Mexico, Arizona and California," said Sarine Adishian. "Whether it is Armenian Genocide recognition or strengthening U.S.-Armenia relations, our community plays an important role in bringing positive change to the U.S. commitment to human rights and sound foreign policy."
More than 50 activists from the New York and New Jersey communities gathered for the evening of socializing and a lively open forum discussion. Speakers included Obama for American Tri-State Finance Committee member Jeff Kurzon, ANCA ER Director Karine Birazian, and Outreach Coordinator Ani Hagopian. All three had an opportunity to discuss different aspects of involvement within the Obama campaign, voter registration efforts and the November 4th general elections overall.
"Active participation in the political process -- on the presidential, congressional or local campaign levels - is the core element to ensuring a leadership responsive to community concerns,"commented ANCA ER Director Karine Birazian. "The platform meeting served as an excellent opportunity for Armenian Americans to exchange ideas about the Democratic platform and learn how they can get more involved in the presidential campaign, as we approach the critical vote this November."
ANCA ER Outreach Coordinator, Ani Hagopian gave an educational update to attendees about the role of a platform in party politics and the importance of voting this coming election. "Beyond the platform, we have to make sure that we all vote. Voting is the most powerful tool we have to make our voices heard and to take a stance on issues we believe in. There are enough Armenian-American votes in crucial swing states across the country to play a decisive -- as long as everyone votes on November 4th," commented Hagopian.
In January, Senator Obama issued a strong statement to the Armenian American community calling for passage of Armenian Genocide legislation and pledging to end U.S. complicity in Turkey's denial of that crime against humanity. "The facts are undeniable," stated Sen. Obama in his January 19 statement. "An official policy that calls on diplomats to distort the historical facts is an untenable policy. As a senator, I strongly support passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution (H.Res.106 and S.Res.106), and as President I will recognize the Armenian Genocide."
Armenians for Obama is a nationwide voter registration, education, and mobilization effort dedicated to electing Barack Obama President. Based in Los Angeles, and with chapters and affiliates in all 50 States, Armenians for Obama will harness the energy and enthusiasm for Barack Obama's candidacy to ensure record high Armenian American turnout in critical battleground states. For more information visit www.armeniansforobama.com