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AYF leads Greater Washington, D.C. vigil in solidarity with “Tavush for Homeland” movement

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AYF leads Greater Washington, D.C. vigil in solidarity with “Tavush for Homeland” movement




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Bethesda, Md.—The Armenian Youth Federation – Youth Organization of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (AYF) Washington, D.C. “Ani” Senior Chapter organized a powerful vigil and rally in support of Armenia’s growing “Tavush for the Homeland” movement, calling for an immediate halt to the illegal surrender of Armenian lands to Azerbaijan’s genocidal Aliyev regime.

The May 8 candlelight vigil took place at the historic “Khatchkar” monument located at Soorp Khatch Armenian Apostolic Church, as Archbishop Bagrat Galstanyan and the “Tavush for the Homeland” protesters arrived in Yerevan, welcomed by tens of thousands of supporters from across Armenia.

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“The Tavush region Primate Bagrat Srpazan has issued a rallying call for unity – demanding the Armenian nation stand up and stop the Pashinyan government’s capitulation of Armenian sovereign land – of our homeland and our heritage,” began evening emcee, Homenetmen D.C. Scout and AYF “Ani” Chapter secretary Mary Markarian. “Greater Washington Armenians are gathered here tonight, along with our compatriots in Chicago, Boston, Detroit and Los Angeles, followed by our brothers and sisters in New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia and Providence to say, ‘We are Tavush strong.’”

ARF Sebouh Gomideoutiun member Aram Balian condemned the Pashinyan government’s unilateral concession of Armenian “lands we have lived on for thousands of years, for false promises from a genocidal dictator who is determined to eradicate every last Armenian – including all of us here tonight.” He characterized the “Tavush for the Homeland” movement as “not one of foreign agents, revolution or radicalism. It is one of rationality. It is a plea for stability and cohesion in the face of evil, of treason, of genocidal intent. It is an ask, no, a demand for unwavering strength in the guardianship of our nation, our land, our homeland – in defense of Tavush, Syunik, Lori, Yerevan and more.”

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AYF Washington D.C. “Sevan” Junior Chapter chair Meghri Aguilian, in a poignant message shared in Armenian, called the surrender of our strong position in Tavush “illegal and a betrayal of our nation.” She quoted remarks by Archbishop Bagrat Galstanyan at a May 6 rally: “This will be the beginning of our eternal journey. Armenia is an eternal truth! Armenia has one value – its highest value – and that is its eternity.”

ANCA National Grassroots Director Gev Iskajyan sent an inspirational word of hope from the Greater Washington, D.C. Armenian community: “To the people of Artsakh who have lost their homeland, to the people of Armenia who feel disenfranchised, distraught or downtrodden, know that as long as we are here, you will never be voiceless. As long as we are here, you will never be without a fight. As long as we are here, and even though the world may turn its back on you, you will never be alone.”

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Markarian highlighted the united support for the “Tavush for the Homeland” movement from His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, and His Holiness Aram I, the spiritual leader of the Holy See of Cilicia of the Armenian Apostolic Church. Homenetmen D.C. Scout and AYF D.C. “Sevan” Junior executive member Sevak Stepanyan and St. Mary’s Armenian Church Youth Organization (ACYO) member Daniel Gevorgyan Poliquin then read solidarity statements by Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian, Prelate of the Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of the Eastern U.S., and Bishop Mesrop Parsamyan, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church of the Eastern U.S.

ARF Sebouh Gomideh member Areni Margossian shared the ARF Eastern Region Central Committee statement, expressing solidarity with the movement. “We stand with our brothers and sisters in preventing Pashinyan’s planned May 15 handover of our lands to the genocidal Aliyev regime and support efforts to replace the Pashinyan regime with the patriotic, honorable and resilient leaders our homeland needs and deserves,” read Margossian.

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Noting that the illegal surrender of Armenian lands to Azerbaijan not only undermines Armenia’s viability but endangers Armenian cultural heritage, Markarian invited AYF D.C. “Sevan” Junior and Homenetmen D.C. Scout Victoria Penenian to recite Mikael Nalbandian’s immortal poem “Azadoutioun” (Freedom) and asked AYF D.C. “Ani” Chapter members and professional musicians Alexandra and Lilia Yaralian to perform a beautiful piece by Gomidas on the kanoun.  Soorp Khatch Armenian Church Board of Trustees chair and choir director Anahid Dardarian ended the evening, leading participants in renditions of “Der Voghormia” and “The Lord’s Prayer.” The solidarity rally was blessed with the robust support of the Homenetmen D.C. Scouts, who sang the U.S., Armenia and Artsakh anthems and stood at attention throughout the program.

That same evening, in front of the Armenian Embassy, one of Pashinyan’s infamous border posts, which was first spotted in Tavush, was seen again, this time with the message, “Save Tavush.” “Neither Pashinyan nor his administration have the right to hand over our homeland piece by piece to the enemy. United, we demand the end to the surrender of sacred soil,” stated an AYF D.C. “Ani” social media post.

A Greater D.C. community message to the Embassy of Armenia: #SaveTavush

Video highlights from the AYF D.C. vigil are available here, and the vigil was live streamed on the AYF D.C. “Ani” Chapter Facebook page.

AYF DC "Ani" Chapter

Founded in 1942, the AYF Washington DC “Ani” and “Sevan” chapters work to unite Armenian youth and organize activities in the DC, Maryland and Virginia area. The chapter has a Senior (“Ani”) and Junior (“Sevan”) chapter. The Washington DC “Ani” chapter sets out to achieve its goals and objectives throughout the year and hosts events like joint meetings between DMV juniors and juniors in Armenia, protests and other forms of political activism, an annual chapter anniversary dinner and fundraisers to benefit the homeland. The AYF-YOARF’s five pillars (athletic, cultural educational, political, social) guide the chapter and help keep its membership active and at the forefront of the Armenian cause at all times.

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AYF DC "Ani" Chapter
AYF DC "Ani" Chapter

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Washington, D.C

Congressmen join city leaders to discuss next steps for direct flights from San Antonio to Washington, D.C.

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Congressmen join city leaders to discuss next steps for direct flights from San Antonio to Washington, D.C.


SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio city leaders including Mayor Ron Nirenberg will join Texas Congressmen at the San Antonio International Airport on Friday to talk about the next steps in getting direct flights to Washington D.C.

A press conference is scheduled to take place starting at 1:30 p.m.

The event will be livestreamed in this article and on KSAT’s YouTube page. Delays are possible; if there is not a livestream in this article, check back at a later time.

The focus will be on getting direct flights to Reagan International Airport. Based on the number of daily passengers currently traveling each way between the two airports, DCA is one of the largest unserved markets from the San Antonio International Airport.

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Last week, the US House House voted to pass this year’s Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act, which opens five new slots for airports across the U.S.

A press release said city leaders and others have been trying for more than a decade to secure a nonstop flight from San Antonio, which is officially recognized as Military City USA, to our nation’s capital.

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, U.S. Representative Chip Roy and U.S. Representative Joaquin Castro will join Stephen Neuman, the vice president of global government affairs for American Airlines and Jesus Saenz, director of airports, for the city of San Antonio Aviation Department.

Copyright 2024 by KSAT – All rights reserved.



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Washington, D.C

Debate over potential bike lanes on Connecticut Avenue in DC continues

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Debate over potential bike lanes on Connecticut Avenue in DC continues


Connecticut Avenue is considered one of the busiest channels to get through D.C.

“It is dangerous, it’s fast, and it’s deadly,” said Elizabeth Kiker, the Executive Director of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA).

The future of the thoroughfare is up for debate with the possibility of adding bike lanes back on the table.

Last year, the mayor reversed course, and the plan was postponed by the D.C. Department of Transportation.

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The move stunned WABA members.

READ MORE | DC pauses proposal to put bicycle lanes on Connecticut Ave. after major pushback

“This process happened,” Kiker said. “This process included ANCs. It included community members. It included businesses, and it was voted on and it was done, and it was budgeted, and then it was stopped. That’s not fair. That’s not how you run a city.”

However, the chance for barrier-protected bike lanes going in on Connecticut Avenue was given a new life when new language was approved by the Committee on Transportation and the Environment.

“The chairman of the transportation committee, Charles Allen, and Matt Frumin slipped in language in the budget recommendation report that requires any safety improvement on not just Connecticut Ave. but any road to have protected bike lanes or else they withhold all the funds for safety improvements,” said Lee Mayer, President of Save Connecticut Avenue.

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He said this could mean that the D.C. Council’s transportation committee could block all capital improvements to Connecticut Avenue and any street if bike lanes are not included.

7News reached out to Committee Chair Allen’s office.

They said the language has been misinterpreted.

In a statement, Allen’s office wrote:

“The language approved by the Committee on Transportation and the Environment preserves full funding for the project, including 5% to create an alternative design. It does restrict construction from advancing on Conn Ave that does not include protected bike lanes (option C from the many years of discussion includes protected bike lanes). The clause “or any other capital project for the same or similar purpose” was inserted to prevent DDOT from simply renaming or attempting to skirt the law and advance construction. This language clearly applies only to the Conn Ave Street Safety Project and does not apply to other safe streets projects around the District.”

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Still, both sides of the debate remain uncertain of the future and tell 7News they’ll work to plead their case with councilmembers ahead of the vote.

“This is going to hurt the mayor’s plan for revitalization for downtown,” said Mayer.

“It’s going to be massive congestion up and down Connecticut Ave. and people are not going to want to go there,” he added.

“We don’t know what they’re going to say, but we hope they say this is back on the way they said it would be,” said Kiker.

The DC Council will vote on the matter twice. The first vote is set for Wednesday, May 29. The second vote will happen on July 12.

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Between those votes, the public can ask questions during a virtual meeting on June 3.



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Larsen Applauds $24.2 Million for Northwest Washington Fish Passage Projects

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Larsen Applauds $24.2 Million for Northwest Washington Fish Passage Projects


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-02), the lead Democrat on the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, announced a total of $24.2 million in recommended funding for three Tribal projects to remove and replace fish barrier culverts and restore access to healthy habitat for migratory fish, including endangered salmon populations, in Northwest Washington.

“Thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act, the Tulalip, Swinomish and Sauk-Suiattle Tribes and their partners have the critical funding they need to improve fish passage and foster salmon recovery in Northwest Washington,” said Larsen. “I will continue to champion robust federal funding to improve salmon habitat connectivity and boost resiliency to ensure Washington meets its treaty obligations to Indian Tribes.”

The awards are recommended under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Restoring Fish Passage through Barrier Removal Grant and Restoring Tribal Priority Fish Passage through Barrier Removal Grant initiatives, which are funded through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act.

Three WA-02 Fish Passage Projects Recommended for Funding

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NOAA recommended a total of $24.2 million in grant funding for three projects in Washington’s Second District:

One grant under the Restoring Fish Passage through Barrier Removal Grant initiative:

  • $11.7 million for the Tulalip Fish Passage Collaborative I
    • The Tulalip Tribes will work with partners to plan and construct multiple barrier removals in several watersheds in the Stillaguamish and Snohomish Basins, part of the South Whidbey Basin in Puget Sound.
    • This work will support several salmon and steelhead species that are of economic, recreational, and cultural importance to the Tulalip Tribes and other members of the local community.
    • By removing or replacing undersized and aging culverts with structures designed to withstand climate change, these efforts will also help protect the community from flooding.

Two grants under the Restoring Tribal Priority Fish Passage through Barrier Removal Grant initiative:

  • $9.2 million for Tulalip Fish Passage Collaborative II
    • The Tulalip Tribes will work with partners to remove multiple fish passage barriers at priority streams in the Stillaguamish and Snohomish Basins, part of the South Whidbey Basin in Puget Sound.
    • This effort will open significant habitat to access by threatened Puget Sound Chinook and steelhead, as well as Puget Sound coho. It will also benefit Southern Resident killer whales, a NOAA Species in the Spotlight, by supporting their prey.
    • Climate change considerations will be incorporated into the barrier replacements, to help prevent flooding and increase community resilience.
  • $3.3 million for Skagit Basin Tribal Priority Fish Passage Implementation
    • The Skagit River System Cooperative, which provides natural resource management services for the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community and the Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe, will remove or replace seven culverts that block fish passage in the Skagit and Samish watersheds. They will also assess the feasibility of one additional fish passage project.
    • This project will support tribal capacity to develop and engage in fish passage projects and provide a hands-on opportunity for tribal members and youth to participate in habitat restoration.

Additional Information

NOAA is recommending nearly $240 million in funding for 46 fish passage projects this year, as well as an additional $38 million in funding in future years. Total demand from all four of the NOAA Fisheries Office of Habitat Conservation Round 2 competitions is $3.5 billion, more than 6 times the amount of funding available.

For more information on NOAA’s announcement and fish passage initiatives, click here.

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