MIAMI, FL – Earlier this month, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez and Boynton Beach Mayor Steven Grant joined Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and other mayors from across the United States in signing a bi-partisan letter to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo calling on the U.S. to recognize the free and democratic Republic of Artsakh (formerly Nagorno-Karabakh Republic), and to condemn Azerbaijan military attacks on Artsakh and Armenia.
“As proud representatives of Armenian American communities across our country, we share their deep concerns about the violence being inflicted upon Artsakh, the growing number of civilian casualties, and the involvement of regional actors like Turkey and Iran,” the October 9, 2020 letter states. The mayors raised the “credible reports of Turkey paying Syrian mercenaries to fight in Artsakh as well as American-made F-16s sold to Turkey flying in Armenian airspace,” with the Secretary.
The letter also calls on the Secretary of State to “publicly support H.Res.1165, a bipartisan resolution introduced by Reps. Jackie Speier, Adam Schiff, and the Congressional Armenian Caucus that condemns Azerbaijan’s attack on Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) and denounces Turkey’s participation and escalation of this offensive.”
The letter is significant for three reasons. 1) The letter clearly refers to Nagorno-Karabakh by its proper Armenian name, Artsakh, on two occasions, hence the signatories recognize the Armenian state’s existence which Azerbaijan denies. 2) The signatories to the letter condemn Azerbaijan for launching another war in the South Caucasus and denounce Turkey’s role in the latest provocation, an important step as some try to draw a false equivalency between Azerbaijan (the attacker) and Armenia. 3) The mayors also acknowledge the historical fact of the Armenian Genocide, the first time that a Miami mayor has ever done so. Boynton Beach first acknowledged the Armenian Genocide back in 2017.
“It was wonderful to work with Armenian American community leaders in South Florida and across the country over the last few weeks to help bring local governments forward to stand with the people of Artsakh and Armenia as they defend their ancestral homeland from Azerbaijani and Turkish terrorism,” stated FLArmenians.com Editor Taniel Koushakjian. “Thank you Mayor Suarez and Mayor Grant for your local leadership here in South Florida,” Koushakjian said.
A copy of the letter is below.
WASHINGTON, DC – For the first time in more than 30 years, this week the U.S. House of Representatives is set to hold an up-or-down vote on the Armenian Genocide Resolution (H. Res. 296), a bipartisan measure locking in U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide, the first genocide of the 20th century. If adopted, this resolution would strike a powerful blow against the gag-rule Turkey has long enforced against genuine American remembrance of the Armenian Genocide.
Following Rules Committee passage yesterday, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) announced that the H. Res. 296 would be on the House docket on Tuesday, October 29, 2019, setting up a potential vote as early as this afternoon.
“We applaud the action taken by the Rules Committee led by Chairman James McGovern (D-MA), the remarks by Committee Member Donna Shalala (D-FL) and the powerful testimony by House Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel (D-NY) along with Representatives Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Anna Eshoo (D-CA),” stated Armenian Assembly of America Executive Director Bryan Ardouny. Yesterday’s “adoption of the rule for H.Res. 296 sets the stage for a historic vote on the House floor,” he said.
ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian called the resolution a “signal” to Turkey “that Washington won’t be bullied, U.S. policy can’t be hijacked, and American principles are not for sale.”
In addition to Armenian American organizations, major Greek American and Assyrian organizations are supporting the measure as they have since the beginning, one of the largest Christian groups in the U.S. the National Council of Churches, and once again Jewish American leaders from the Anti Defamation League and American Jewish Committee have strongly endorsed U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide.
“The Armenian community of Florida is uniquely positioned to play a decisive role in passage of H. Res. 296, the Armenian Genocide Resolution in 2019,” stated FLArmenians.com Editor Taniel Koushakjian. “Florida is now the third largest state in the U.S., the home of the Winter White House, and boasts one of the fastest growing Armenian communities in America. Let’s all make our voices heard today. Get on social media, send an email to your friends, and pick up your phone and dial your Congressman today!”
Call Your Representative’s DC Office This Morning –– Vote Could Happen This Afternoon
Yes, it’s it’s really happening. The U.S. House of Representative, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), is set to vote on the Armenian Genocide Resolution as early as this afternoon. It has over 140 cosponsors.
Here is a list of Florida’s Congressional delegation and their DC office phone numbers. If you don’t know who your Congressman is, click here to find out. We’ve also written a sample phone script for you, just scroll down.
Seven (7) of Florida’s 27 Members of Congress are cosponsors of the Armenian Genocide Resolution, they are in bold. Reps. Lois Frankel (D-FL) and Charlie Crist (D-FL) just signed on this morning –– joining original cosponsors Reps. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Ross Spano (R-FL), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL), and Donna Shalala (D-FL) –– indicating they are likely to vote in favor of the resolution.
Call your Congressman/woman and ask them to VOTE YES on H. RES. 296. If he/she is a cosponsor, be sure to thank him/her for their cosponsorship!
Matt Gaetz (R-FL-1): (202) 225-4136
Neal Dunn (R-FL-2) (202) 225-5235
Ted Yoho (R-FL-3): (202) 225-5744
John Rutherford (R-FL-4): (202) 225-2501
Al Lawson (D-FL-5): (202) 225-0123
Michael Waltz (R-FL-6): (202) 225-2706
Stephanie Murphy (D-FL-7): (202) 225-4035
Bill Posey (D-FL-8): (202) 225-3671
Darren Soto (D-FL-9): (202) 225-9889
Val Demings (D-FL-10): (202) 225-2176
Daniel Webster(R-FL-11): (202) 225-1002
Ross Spanno (R-FL-15): (202) 225-1252
West Coast Florida
Gus Bilirakis (R-FL-12): (202) 225-5755
Charlie Crist (D-FL-13): (202) 225-5961
Kathy Castor (D-FL-14): (202) 225-3376
Vern Buchanan (R-FL-16): (202) 225-5015
Greg Steube (R-FL-17): (202) 225-5792
Francis Rooney (R-FL-19): (202) 225-2536
Brian Mast (R-FL-18): (202) 225-3026
Alcee Hastings (D-FL-20): (202) 225-1313
Lois Frankel (D-FL-21): (202) 225-9890
Ted Deutch (D-FL-22): (202) 225-3001
Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL-23): (202) 225-7931
Frederica Wilson (D-FL-24): (202) 225-4506
Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL-25): (202) 225-4211
Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-FL-26): (202) 225-2778
Donna Shalala (D-FL-27): (202) 225-3931
Sample Phone Script
Hello, my name is (Your Name) and I am calling from (Your City).
H.Res.296, the Armenian Genocide Resolution, is coming up for a vote on the House floor this week and when it does I urge you to VOTE YES.
It’s about time America spoke honestly about the Armenian Genocide. The world knows the truth. 49 U.S. States including Florida acknowledge the Armenian Genocide. This vote is important for many reasons. Do the right thing and vote YES when it comes up for a floor vote.
My family, friends and the local community will be watching this vote on C-SPAN and I look forward to seeing you cast your YES vote on this measure.
Don’t have time to make a call? Click here to send a pre-written email to your Representative. All you have to do is click here, enter your address, and click twice.
After you take action, forward this email to 3 friends, coworkers, or family members and tell them why it’s important to you!
If you use social media today, be sure to use the hashtags #ArmenianGenocide and #FLArmenians.
BOCA RATON, FL – On Tuesday, April 16, a group of local and national human rights activists, community leaders, elected officials, religious leaders, teachers and students gather in Sanborn Square for “Together We Remember: The Future of Our Past,” reported Florida Armenians.
David Estrin, Founder and CEO of Together We Remember, organized the second annual universal commemoration program in Boca Raton. “April is Genocide Awareness Month,” Estrin said. “So it’s important that we all come together this time of year to commemorate our past and take action for the future,” he said.
The program began with the reading of names of victims of various genocides, including the Armenian Genocide, as well as victims of hatred, bigotry, discrimination and gun violence in the world. Arsine Kaloustian, Chairwoman of the South Florida Armenian Genocide Commemoration, Inc. (AGC) read the names of genocide victims. Lonny Wilk, Senior Associate Regional Director, Anti-Defamation League-Florida read the names of victims of hatred, bigotry, discrimination and gun violence. A local student from the Boca Raton Interfaith Youth Association read the names of lynching victims in Florida.
Congressman Ted Deutch (D-FL), whose district includes the cities of Boca Raton and Parkland, gave the keynote address. His remarks focused on the meaning of “Never Again” today and how individuals learn from one another and take collective action.
The program also featured musical interludes from Shine MSD, students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
The program also featured an expert panel of religious leaders, community activists, and academics who discussed their respective community’s experience with genocide, violence, and hatred. Panelists included Liz Vocasek, Associate Education Director, Anti-Defamation League-Florida; Rev. Fr. Andrew Sherman, Pastor of St. Gregory’s Episcopal Church of Boca Raton, Florida; Taniel Koushakjian, Editor of FLARMENIANS.com; Darren Levine, Teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School; and Rabbi Leonid Feldman, Temple Beth El in West Palm Beach, Florida. The panel was moderated by Antonella Regueiro, Assistant Professor at Lynn University.
To conclude the program, participants were encourage to take action in their own way. Some took action by writing to their elected officials from their smart phones. Others shared stories and pictures on social media to amplify the message. Some pledged to write letters to their local newspapers.
At the end, everyone listened to the stories of each other, engaged with people they had never met, and people came together to say in one voice: “We Remember” and “Never Again.”
For more photos, check out the Florida Armenians Facebook Page Photo Album.