2 weeks ago

Equality Armenia
View on Facebook

2 weeks ago

Equality Armenia

On Thursday March 29, Equality Armenia held its first annual Leadership Council. The forum brought together elected officials, community leaders, and activists to discuss advancing LGBTQ equality in Armenia and also to honor those who have continuously supported Armenian and LGBTQ causes. This year’s honorees were Los Angeles Councilmember Mitch O’farrell, West Hollywood Councilmember John Duran, and Glendale Councilmember Zareh Sinanyan.

The event took place at the renowned Glen Arden Club in Glendale. The venue, built in 1927, was chosen not only for its warm, old-Hollywood charm and friendly personnel, but also as a symbolic confluence for the cities of Los Angeles and West Hollywood. Guests were welcomed at the door by volunteers who ushered them in for an official Equality Armenia photo, after which they mingled with other guests at the grand bar lounge. Live melodies by pianist Sergey Kyosayan, hosted wine bar and decadent hors d'oeuvres created a memorable prelude for the award presentation in the upstairs ballroom.

Equality Armenia Communications Director Vic Gerami opened the ceremonies with a moment of silence for Halo Trust’s de-miners Pavel Akopov, Samson Avanessian, and Marat Petrossian who lost their lives that day in Artsakh from a landmine explosion. Following his opening remarks, Gerami acknowledged a long list of elected officials and dignitaries in the room which included Glendale Mayor Vartan Gharpetian, LA County Tax Assessor Jeffrey Prang, Glendale Councilmembers Paula Devine and Ara Najarian, ANCA Glendale Chair Artin Manoukian, ANCA-WR Board Directors Anahid Oshagan and Joseph Kaskanian, Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur, Lambda Legal Western Regional Director Shedrick Davis, South African Consul Azwifarwi Shadrack Nepfumbada, Armenia School Foundation Chair Moneh Der Grigorian, Glendale Unified School District Board Member Shant Sahakian, Armenian Bar Association Board Member Ara Babaian and GALAS Representative Nicole Yeghiazarian. Also in attendance were members of the media: Cary Harrison of KPFK’s Reality Check, Thom Senzee of LGBTs In The News, Paulo Murillo and Marco Colantonio of WeHo Times, Joan Aghajanian Quinn of Beverly Hills View, and PanArmenian TV Producer Ara Kazaryan.

Next, Gerami welcomed Glendale Mayor Vartan Gharpetian to the podium. In his moving speech, Mayor Gharpetian, assured the audience that Glendale is a welcoming and diverse city where 65 languages are spoken. The Mayor congratulated Equality Armenia for encouraging and facilitating a constructive dialogue in Armenian communities about LGBTQ inclusiveness equal right and equal protection under law. Mayor Gharpetian concluded his speech to a standing ovation by reminding everyone that “LGBTQ rights are human rights and human rights are LGBTQ rights".

Following Mayor Gharpetian, Equality Armenia Executive Director Armen Abelyan addressed the gathered. Abelyan congratulated Equality Armenia Board of Directors, including Director of Resources Karen Mikaelian who couldn't be present due to an illness, and all the volunteers who helped organize the event. After noting Equality Armenia’s recent accomplishments, Abelyan asked everyone to reimagine “Armenia’s LGBTQ problem as an economic stimuli in disguise”. He cited a study of 39 countries conducted by UCLA’s Williams Institute of Law that documented a positive correlation between a particular country’s advancement in LGBTQ equality and their economic growth through increase in tourism and international investments. Abelyan stated that the study defined 8 stages of LGBTQ equality on a spectrum of “being gay is against the law” to full marriage equality, and that each successive stage, each additional LGBTQ right is associated with a $320 to $1,400 increase in per capita GDP. Abelyan added that “Strategic modernization of LGBTQ rights is the most efficient way to present Armenia as more visibly “modern” and attractive to potential employers and tourists.” He concluded his speech with the following: “The future of the LGBTQ community is woven with the future of Armenia. It always has been. Armenia has a window of opportunity to become a leader in the region, we must seize that opportunity for economic prosperity.”

Introducing the first honoree Councilmember John Duran, Equality Armenia Secretary and in-house attorney, comedian Movses Shakarian thanked Duran for commemorating the Armenian Genocide every year at the City of West Hollywood by lowering flags to half staff. Shakarian also spoke of Duran’s efforts in his capacity as Board Chair of Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles to keep the vibrant chorus in their current home, the Alex Theater in Glendale. In his acceptance remarks, Councilmember Duran spoke at length of the significance of community organizing in Armenian communities and the importance of becoming the change we want to see.

Following Councilmember Duran, Equality Armenia Treasurer Yvette Davis introduced our second honoree, Councilmember Mitch O’farrell. Davis enumerated Councilmember O'farrell's longtime involvement in the Armenian and LGBTQ communities - initially as a field deputy to then Councilmember Eric Garcetti and currently as a Councilmember for Los Angeles’ 13th district which includes Little Armenia and parts of Glendale. With great enthusiasm, Councilmember O’farrell congratulated Equality Armenia for showcasing leadership in the community. O’farrell spoke about inclusiveness, the currently ongoing “Armenian gateway” project in Little Armenia and the dedication of the Armenian Genocide Memorial Square at the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Western Avenue. The Councilmember spoke at length about the struggles of the trans community and how we all should stand up and defend our “...trans brothers and sisters.” Councilmember O’farrell concluded his speech by speaking in Armenian; “Բոլորը արժանի էն լիարժեք հավասարության։” which translates to “everyone deserves full equality.”

Last, but not least, Equality Armenia Director of Outreach, Mary Basmadjian introduced Glendale Councilmember Zareh Sinanyan. In her remarks, Basmadjian stated that “As an Armenian and an ally [of LGBTQ] it’s our duty to open the hearts and mind of those in our traditionally conservative culture.” Basmadjian stated that she’s proud of Councilmember Sinanyan for becoming a passionate advocate for LGBTQ rights in the U.S. and in Armenia. In his own remarks, Councilmember Sinanyan spoke about a duty of all Armenians as genocide survivors not to discriminate against those who are different. In referring to the LGBTQ community in Armenia, Councilmember Sinanyan said, “...as a father of 4 children it is important to me that we remind everyone that loving each other is as important as loving our homeland.” It was a perfect end to an evening of reconciliation.

Equality Armenia understands that the struggle continues in Armenia and that there is still a lot that needs to be done in our homeland. Equality Armenia is committed to equality in Armenia, whether in LGBTQ rights, women’s rights or just human rights. Change is possible and we are energized and optimistic in our prospects.

Article originally published in Asbarez News.
... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

3 weeks ago

Equality Armenia

Glendale, California former Mayor and current City Councilmember Ara Najarian is an ally of the LGBT community. He’s one of more than 30 officials who will be attending Equality Armenia’s Leadership Council on March 29th.

Najarian lives in Glendale, is married to Palmira Perez-Najarian, an award-winning journalist and news anchor. They have two college-age children, Alexander and Christopher. Najarian was first elected to the Glendale Community College Board of Trustees in 2003. He is a lawyer. During law school, he worked in the L.A. District Attorney’s Office as a law clerk and then in Washington, D.C. as an assistant to a congressman. He also volunteered and presided as a judge pro tem in several area Superior Courts.

Glendale, California is home to one of the largest Armenian communities outside of Armenia. On March 28, 2017, Najarian voted for a resolution condemning LGBT discrimination in Glendale. The resolution stated that “...the primary responsibility of city government is protecting the rights and safety of our diverse residents, and LGBT people are our neighbors, co-workers, friends, and family."

#Armenian #LGBTQ #Glendale #Mayor
#AraNajarian #EqArLeadershipCouncil
... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

3 weeks ago

Equality Armenia

Glendale, California former Mayor and current City Councilmember Paula Devine is an ally of the Armenian and LGBT communities. She’s one of more than 30 officials who will be attending Equality Armenia’s Leadership Council on March 29th.

Devine and her husband have lived in Glendale for 35 years. Devine has been an Advisory Board Member of Family Promise, Member of Women’s Civic League and Past Board Member of Glendale Healthy Kids. Devine also initiated the CPR Program (Commission Project Rescue) which provides funding for temporary housing for Domestic Violence victims. Through this commission, Devine served on the Safe Family Task Force and the Stop Bullying Coalition.

Glendale, California is home to one of the largest Armenian communities outside of Armenia. On March 28, 2017, Devine voted for a resolution condemning LGBT discrimination in Glendale. The resolution stated “ All people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, should be treated fairly and equally by the laws of the state.”

#Armenian #LGBTQ #Glendale #Mayor
#PaulaDevine #EqArLeadershipCouncil
... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

4 weeks ago

Equality Armenia

Glendale, California Mayor Vartan Gharpetian is an ally of the LGBTQ. He’s a speaker at Equality Armenia’s Leadership Council on March 29.

Gharpetian has been Commissioner of the Glendale Historic Preservation Commission, Chair of the Glendale Housing Authority and a Boardmember of the Glendale Police Foundation. Gharpetian and his wife Armina have been married for 22 years; they have 3 children, all of whom attend Glendale public schools.

Glendale, California is home to one of the largest Armenian communities outside of Armenia. On March 28, 2017, Gharpetian voted for a resolution condemning LGBT discrimination in Glendale. The resolution stated “...that discrimination is bad for business, asserting that strong communities are those that welcome all people and their families, including LGBT people, as employees and customers.”

#Armenian #LGBTQ #Glendale #Mayor
#VartanGharpetian #EqArLeadershipCouncil
... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

4 weeks ago

Equality Armenia

Please join LGBTs In The News with moderator Thom Senzee and Radiant Health Centers for an enlightening panel discussion and audience Q&A about overcoming barriers and disparities in LGBTQ health care. It’s a free event featuring some of the nation’s foremost experts. Lunch will be provided courtesy of Radiant Health Centers. RSVP via lgbtsinthenews.com ... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

1 month ago

Equality Armenia

Join Equality Armenia to celebrate Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian’s birthday and fund-raise for his re-election campaign. Please see below and we hope to see you on Thursday! ... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

1 month ago

Equality Armenia

GMCLA - Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles' new show, “COME AS YOU ARE”, Music from the 90s, is a must-see spectacular at Glendale’s Alex Theatre. Performances are on Saturday March 24th and Sunday march 25th. Don’t miss it, purchase tickets at www.GMCLA.org

GMCLA - Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles
Get ready for a totally tubular weekend of music from 90’s. Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles steps back in time to relive the most radical movies, radio and even the ancient internet. Yes... we're dedicating a love song to dial-up AOL. The nostalgia will have you dreaming in hot pink and neon blue this March 24 & 25. www.GMCLA.org for details
... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

1 month ago

Equality Armenia

Zareh Sinanyan

Zareh Sinanyan was born in the former Soviet Armenia and moved to Burbank in 1988, where he attended Junior High and High School. His family moved to Glendale in 1998. Zareh received his BA degrees in Political Science and History from UCLA and his JD from USC Law School. Since 2001, Zareh has practiced as a civil litigator and currently has a law practice in Glendale. In 2006, Zareh was appointed by the Glendale City Council to the Parks Commission. As a Commissioner, Zareh participated in the upgrading and opening of several parks in south Glendale. In 2008, Zareh was appointed to Glendale’s Community Development Block Grant Advisory Commission, helping the City adeptly navigate through a period of drastic decreases in available Federal block grants. From 2009 through 2011, Zareh chaired the CDBG Commission, ensuring increased collaboration between Commissioners, staff and community organizations seeking grant funding. In April 2013, Zareh was elected to Glendale City Council. From 2013 through 2014, he served as Housing Authority Chairman. Zareh served as Mayor April of 2014 through April 2015, and was the founding Chair of the Glendale Economic Development Corporation. He serves as Vice President of Burbank/Glendale/Pasadena Airport Authority, Board Member of Metropolitan Water District, and Chair of Eco-Rapid Transit Authority
... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

1 month ago

Equality Armenia

Mitch O'Farrell

Mitch O’Farrell has served as Councilmember of the 13th District since July of 2013. Mitch is passionate about safe neighborhoods and improving the quality of life in Atwater Village, East Hollywood, Echo Park, Elysian Valley, Glassell Park, Historic Filipinotown, Hollywood, Little Armenia, Mid-Wilshire/Koreatown, Thai Town and Silver Lake. Years of public service preceded Mitch being elected to the Los Angeles City Council. He brought with him a strong background of working with government on every level. During his three and 1/2 years in office, Mitch has made a strong impact on children and family safety in our neighborhoods, improved commercial corridors while enhancing pedestrian and bicycle safety, and has set the Los Angeles River on a path to environmental restoration and sustainability by pioneering the first permanent revenue stream for long term improvements. Mitch has overseen the production of over 900 units of affordable housing in the 13th District since he took office. An ordinance that he authored will help address the displacement crises gripping the city because of skyrocketing rents by requiring developers to build low cost housing as part of every project that needs an approval through the city. He is reforming City policy to help small, neighborhood serving businesses and collaborating with the entertainment industry to make sure we can grow our signature industry and the good paying jobs that come with it. Mitch lives with his partner of 24 years, George Brauckman, in Glassell Park, and is the first openly gay person to be elected to the 13th Council District seat.
... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

1 month ago

Equality Armenia

John Jude Duran

John J. Duran has been an LGBT activist for over 30 years. He has served as legal counsel for ACT UP protestors, the Los Angeles Needle Exchange and the first cannabis center in the city - the Los Angeles Cannabis Resource Center. He created and co-founded numerous organizations advancing equality including the LIFE AIDS Lobby, ANGLE (Access Now for Gay and Lesbian Equality) and Equality California. He has served on the boards of directors of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles and AIDS Project Los Angeles. He is currently serving as the National Chairman of NALEO - the National Association of Latino Elected Officials. John has served on the West Hollywood City Council since 2001. He has been recognized over the decades as a local, statewide and national leader for LGBT equality
... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook