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Armenians Confronted at Anti-Bias Event

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Leaders of the Armenian American community joined Friday to denounce prejudice but felt it firsthand soon after the news conference concluded.

An unidentified woman approached one of a dozen leaders present and chastised him.

“Do you have to speak out?” she asked Raffi Hamparian, governmental affairs director for the Armenian National Committee’s Glendale chapter.

“You think you own Glendale,” she said, in reference to Armenian Americans. “You try to get away with everything you can. We’re fed up with you too.”

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The woman declined to give her name and left without elaborating on her comments.

For Hamparian, it was just another example of “the recent wave of anti-Armenian sentiments and actions in the city of Glendale.

“We were having a press conference about intolerance and here was such a bold manifestation of an individual who is so filled with hate,” he said. “More than being angry, I was saddened by it.”

The event, held in front of St. Mary’s Armenian Apostolic Church on Central Avenue, was prompted by recent vandalism at a building for Armenian American Boy and Girl Scouts.

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A spray-painted swastika and pentagram were found Saturday on a wall of the Homenetmen Armenian General Athletics Union and Scouts building at 544 W. Broadway. Vandals also defaced two vans parked nearby.

Police have classified the incident as a hate crime.

A $500 reward for information leading to the vandals is being offered by the Armenian American Action Committee.

Community leaders from such groups as the Armenian Society of Los Angeles and the Armenian Youth Federation called for Glendale officials to publicly condemn the incident and asked for the creation of a high-profile human relations committee.

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“The fabric of Glendale . . . is being threatened and torn apart by the ignorance and bigotry of a minority of citizens,” Hamparian said during the news conference.

“And so we have gathered here today to positively declare that the Armenian American community has and will continue to play a positive role in the city of Glendale.”


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