Category Archives: Press Release
FL Armenians Press Release
TALLAHASSEE, FL – Yesterday, the Florida state Senate adopted SR 1878, the Armenian Martyrs Remembrance Day resolution to mark the 98th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, reported Florida Armenians. Armenian-Americans from Miami and Boca Raton joined members of the local Tallahassee Armenian community to mark the historic day.
“It’s like a weight lifted off my back,” stated Margaret Atayants, a student at Tallahassee Community College. “I’m grateful to the Florida Senate for honoring and recognizing the victims of the first genocide of the twentieth century,” she said.
Senator Jack Latvala (R-Pinellas) introduced SR 1878 and spoke in favor of the resolution on the Senate floor. He then recognized Armenian-American community members observing the historic moment from the gallery.
“The entire St. Hagop Armenian Church community of the Gulf Coast is thankful for the efforts of our elected officials,” stated Rev. Fr. Hovnan Demerjian, pastor of St. Hagop Armenian Church. “Each time a genocide recognition resolution is introduced and passed, a small bit of justice is served for victims of the Armenian genocide and all victims of genocide and mass-atrocities,” Fr. Demerjian said.
In 2006, Florida Governor Jeb Bush issued an official proclamation recognizing the Armenian Genocide. However, the Florida legislature had not affirmed this crime against humanity until yesterday.
“This is a historic day for Florida and for all Armenian-Americans,” stated Taniel Koushakjian. “On behalf of the entire Florida Armenian-American community, we thank Senator Latvala, Senate President Gaetz and the entire Florida Senate for their leadership on this important human rights issue,” stated Koushakjian.
Florida Armenians would also like to recognize and give special thanks to Rana Brown, Henry Petraki and the Atayants family for their steadfast efforts and support.
A Series of Fortunate Circumstances
By Dr. George Kamajian
FLArmenians Guest Contributor
Tampa Bay, FL – Florida, our 3rd largest state, has long been underrepresented when it comes to organized Armenians. Sure, there have been Hye’s basking in the Sunshine State for decades. The traditional Interstate-95 corridor from Boston to Miami sprouted numerous colonies of Armenians from Jacksonville to Ft. Lauderdale. Churches soon followed in Miami and Boca Raton with a smattering of a few mission parishes when the Armenian populations were deemed too small to support a church. Although Armenians have made their presence known in Florida business and sports (think Garo Yepremian from the undefeated 1972 Miami Dolphins) for years, their numbers are still anemic when compared to Philadelphia, Boston or Detroit.
When the western part of the state opened up with Interstate-75 a funny thing happened. There was an Armenian imprint in Tampa that went beyond anything their brothers and sisters could brag about up north. There, in the middle of downtown Tampa was the landmark Armenia Avenue with a sign as big as any on Interstate-75. A familiar name welcomed weary tourist from up north. How? Who was this powerful, rich or politically connected Armenian that made this happen?
Unfortunately, according to the local historical society Armenia has nothing to do with the name of a road in Tampa.
“Armenia Avenue was actually originally called Armina Avenue,” said Rodney Kite-Powell, Curator of History at the Tampa Bay History Center. Kite-Powell says cigar factories used to line this avenue. There are a lot of streets named after the cigar factories that they were near,” Kite-Powell explained. “And so, the Armina cigar factory was right along Armenia — or Armina — Avenue.”
So how’d we get from A-r-m-i-n-a to A-r-m-e-n-i-a?
“Somewhere along the line, either a sign painter messed up, or somebody just kept consistently messing up the pronunciation, and Armina became Armenia,” Kite-Powell said.
Now for the good news….it’s going to stay Armenia avenue forever.
Dr. George Kamajian is a member of the St. Hagop Armenian Church Parish Council and resides in Indian Shores, Florida.
By Carole Meghreblian
FLArmenians Naples Contributor
Last month, the Armenian Church of Southwest Florida (ACSWFL) mission parish collected $1,067 as part of the Diocese’s Department of Mission Parishes food drive for children in need.
The funds were donated to the Harry Chapin Food Bank of Ft. Myers, in memory of the children who were victims of anti-Armenian pogroms in Azerbaijan (1988-89) and the war in Nagorno-Karabagh (1991-1994).
The Harry Chapin Food Bank serves five counties in southwest Florida: Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry, and Lee. In 2011, they distributed 15 million pounds of food and other grocery items valued at $24.9 million, to more than 160 non-profit partners who serve more than 30,000 people monthly. This is a first-time collection for the ACSWFL, and they intend to make it an annual event.