ARAMAC ACTIVISTS IN COLORADO CARRY THE CAUSE
Washington, DC – Colorado’s engagement with the Armenian Genocide
dates back to the founding of Rocky Mountain High’s Near East Rescue
Committee during World War I. Influential community leaders, prompted
by coverage of the Ottoman Empire’s directed death marches and
massacres of Christian Armenians, took action to help the survivors.
Today, that same humanity, awareness, and dedication remains in place,
and is growing.
For the last decade Colorado’s General Assembly and Governors
have reaffirmed the Armenian Genocide as Armenians around the world
commemorate the Meds Yeghern. As further evidence, and perhaps unique
to Colorado is its consecrated ‘khatchkar’ designed by Western Slope
architect Varouj Hairabedian and officially installed on Colorado’s
State House grounds.
Colorado’s extraordinary Armenian Genocide record has, more recently,
found a federal presence. In 2005, the Armenian Assembly of America
(Assembly) Western Region Director visited district offices across
the state and assisted the community in introducing the Colorado
Delegation to the overall significance of reaffirming the Armenian
Genocide. Today, Colorado activists rely on the Rocky Mountain
Hye Advocate (RMHA), founded by the Assembly’s Armenian-American
Action Committee Colorado (ARAMAC-CO) chair, Pamela Barsam Brown,
for political news and updates. Ms. Barsam Brown was recruited as an
Assembly activist by the late Jirair Hovnanian in 1996.
Colorado has seven House Members in addition to its two Senators. This
last April, RMHA solicited Commemoration statements from every
delegation member. Both Senators and five House Members released
testimonials to RMHA. Each statement was released as a Special
Announcement RMHA e-newsletter and distributed to its statewide
membership, Colorado human rights groups, state media, and the entire
Presently, Colorado boasts five co-sponsors on the Armenian
Genocide resolution, H. Res. 304; five Armenian Caucus members;
and one original co-sponsor of the Protection of Christian Heritage
in Turkey resolution, H. Res. 306. In years past, Colorado has been
one of only a few states to have their entire delegation cosponsor
legislation reaffirming the Armenian Genocide.
Last month, RMHA hosted a community “meet and greet” luncheon with
Rosemary Rodriguez, State Director for Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO).
Barsam Brown explained; “Rosemary played a pivotal role with the
Senator in communicating our anti-genocide advocacy message. We wanted
to express our deep appreciation for her patience and dedication.” The
gathering included activist leaders from political, anti-genocide,
human rights and environmental organizations; state elected officials;
retired former educators now public school volunteers; a University of
Colorado Boulder professor; local artists, writers, and musicians; a
Boulder Community Hospital oncology psychologist; a Boulder YWCA Board
member; a Boulder Chamber of Commerce member; a Colorado Chautauqua
Association Board member; a Colorado Parole Board member; a Boulder
Library Board member; and several independent small business owners.
ARAMAC-CO activists will continue their outreach efforts with freshman
Representative Scott Tipton (R-CO), the lone Colorado Member not aboard
the Armenian Genocide resolution and not on the Congressional Caucus
on Armenian Issues. The district’s previous Member was a two-term
Armenian Genocide resolution co-sponsor.
Last week, Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) joined over 20 of his colleagues
in speaking at the 20th Anniversary Celebration of the Independence
of Armenia on Capitol Hill. Rep. Lamborn is a member of the Armenian
Caucus and is an original cosponsor of H. Res.. 306.
Ms. Barsam Brown commented on Colorado’s advocacy success explaining,
“Our work at the federal level is an outgrowth of the remarkable
activism of the Armenian Genocide Commemoration Committee and our
state-wide ARAMAC activists. Our joint success is a testament to the
power of grassroots advocates working together and achieving results
ARAMAC is the grassroots arm of the Armenian Assembly of America
which supports grassroots activism and anti-defamation. Established
in 1993, ARAMAC is the largest, independent, Armenian-American
Established in 1972, the Armenian Assembly of America is the largest
Washington-based nationwide organization promoting public understanding
and awareness of Armenian issues. The Assembly is a non-partisan,
501(c)(3) tax-exempt membership organization.