By Emil Sanamyan
“Tonight we are all Armenians!” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) declared as she began her address at the annual congressional commemoration of the Armenian Genocide on April 21.
“We are tired of the [Genocide denial] story being sold but we are not tired of the fight for the truth,” Pelosi insisted as she spoke in front of some 200 people, mostly Armenian Americans.
Speaker noted the importance of last month’s House Foreign Affairs Committee vote on the Armenian Genocide resolution that “insisted on the truth” and expressed hope that the vote was “of some comfort” to Armenian Americans.
Pelosi added that she and other supporters of affirmation would not rest until the federal government clearly recognizes the Armenian Genocide, but she made no specific commitments about bringing the House resolution to vote, a move that is opposed by the Obama Administration.
She also referred to last year’s court decision in California that referred to the U.S. government position as justification for denying Armenian Americans an opportunity to collect on WWI-era insurance policies of their ancestors.
The event organized by co-chairs of the Armenian caucus Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), included House Majority leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Howard Berman (D-Calif.).
Other members included two Reps. of Armenian descents Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), key Genocide resolution resolution sponsors Reps. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) and Ed Royce (R-Calif.), as well as Reps. Lois Capps (D-Calif.), Jim Costa (D-Calif.), David Dreier (R-Calif.), Elliott Engel (D-N.Y.), Scott Garrett (R-N.J.), Rush Holt (D-N.J.), Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), George Miller (D-Calif.), Steve Rothman (D-N.J.) and Bobby Scott (D-Va.).
The event also featured remarks by Armenia’s Ambassador to U.S. Tatoul Markarian, Artsakh’s Representative Robert Avetisyan, and invocations by the Armenian Church clergy, including Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan who offered an opening prayer for the House of Representatives earlier in the day.