By Michelle Hagopian
ANCA Eastern Region Executive Director
The Armenian National Committee of America used to have a regular column in the Weekly that both hit the high points of what the organization was accomplishing and encouraged the community to become active. It was called the “ANCA Desk,” and I’m happy to announce it has returned.
Nothing has really changed, per se. There are still key issues affecting Armenian-Americans here and abroad. We still have individuals and groups who are vital to the success of what we do. Maybe the one thing that has changed most since the last ANCA Desk was published is the explosion of the web and social media. The ANCA is everywhere—and that’s exactly what we need.
I’m a month into my new role as executive director for the ANCA Eastern Region, and it’s been a whirlwind experience thus far. I’ve loved every minute of it, from discovering archived material, to participating in protests of the Safarov release in major cities, to visiting our local communities. Part of my job is to boost outreach by trying to recruit new activists, especially those in the younger demographic.
I want to use this week’s column for that purpose. Armenians of all ages, I’m looking at you.
Getting involved in the ANCA and in Hai Tahd has never been easier than it is today. The advent of the internet and smartphones has made us more accessible than ever. In the past four weeks, I’ve already received a dozen e-mails from people from Florida to New Hampshire wanting to make their voices heard with the ANCA.
You don’t need to be an expert to help out. If you have a particular area of interest (genocide recognition, Nagorno-Karabagh independence), that’s great. If you don’t and just want to learn more, that’s fine too. We’re here to provide a voice to all Armenians regardless of background. Why not help us get more in touch with your community? We rely on our local chapters to propel our organization. The ANCA is a grassroots movement because of the success and work ethic of our locals.
As an AYF-YOARF Central Executive member, I’m also going to make an appeal to my fellow AYFers and potential members. Get involved. The ANCA can help with more than you know. I can’t tell you how many papers I wrote in high school and college about the Armenian Genocide that involved me using ANCA resources or consulting with a local activist.
As a Mid-Westerner recently displaced to the East Coast, I’ve come to understand how different the two regions truly are. But what we have in common is a passion to create change. I want to reassure any Mid-West readers that I will constantly seek out your opinions and stay true to my roots (and I’ll try to sneak in visits when possible).
So you’re interested, but where do you go from here? Reach out to us. Visit with your local chapter or send me an e-mail. Read the Weekly for updates in your own community. There’s a lot going on for Armenians right now, including, but not limited to, protesting Ramil Safarov’s release, Nagorno-Karabagh recognition, a heated election season, combatting Azeri aggression, and a huge fundraiser for the ANCA Eastern Region—our annual banquet. This year, it will be held in Mahwah, N.J., on Dec. 1.
There’s no time like the present. Why let others speak for you when you can use your own voice? Make yours heard by advancing the Armenian cause today.