CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- With hundreds of delegates and alternates in attendance, the California delegation to the Democratic National Convention takes up a big piece of real estate inside Time Warner Cable Arena. Sitting enthusiastically among them Wednesday night was delegate Juliet Minassian of Glendale, attending her first political convention.
“The convention is very educational,” said Minassian, who came to Glendale from Iran about 15 years ago. “You can learn very much, and I have been thrilled to see all these people in here. For me it’s more than I imagined.”
Minassian, 50, a self-employed accountant, said she is the only Armenian-American in the state delegation, but is hopeful she can get others from her community involved.
“They are not as active as they should be,” said Minassian, vice-president of the Glendale Democratic Club. “I think this comes from our culture, because we are coming from countries in the Middle East, and they are not very active in politics in their countries. For myself, coming from Iran, it was very hard as a woman to get involved in politics, especially as a Christian. I know this is the same with other Armenians. This culture has been with us and it will take some time to get everybody involved with the politics here.”
Wearing a green jacket and wide-brimmed hat covered in Obama buttons, she carried a handmade sign that read, “Armenian American 4 Obama” while watching speeches by former President Bill Clinton and Massachusetts U.S. senate candidate Elizabeth Warren. Minassian said she was hopeful that she could bring attention there to the plight of Christian Armenian refugees from Syria and Iraq.
“They have been tremendously under pressure. They have been pushed out of the country. There is nowhere for them to go. They have been living on the mountains,” she said. “I was trying to get that as part of the platform. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to, but I will try to do my best to get attention to that.”
-- Steve Appleford, Times Community News