The Truth And Accountability League, in partnership with the L.A. County Commission on Human Relations’ L.A. vs. Hate, will hold an in-person town hall “Stand TAAL to Hate” on Thursday, May 4, from 6-8 p.m.
This free event with RSVP is open to the public and is being held at the Glendale Central Library, 222 E. Harvard St. in Glendale.
The town hall will feature an open panel discussion with city officials, experts and community leaders, including the L.A. County Commission on Human Relations Executive Director Robin Toma, Glendale Mayor Daniel Brotman, Police Chief Manuel Cid, Chief of Staff Joseph Iniguez from the L.A. County district attorney’s office, State Commissioner Sam Kbushyan and West Hollywood Mayor Sepi Shyne.
Moderated by TAAL’s founder and chair Vic Gerami, the goal of the meeting is to bring awareness, educate the public and discuss solutions to the rising anti-Armenian racism, Armenophobia and propaganda through questions and discussion with participants.
“The recent anti-Armenian flyers posted around L.A. County — home to hundreds of thousands of Armenian Americans — remind us that we must be vigilant about racism, hate acts and propaganda. It’s unfathomable that on the heels of the Armenian Genocide anniversary, Armenians are terrorized by flyers around schools and churches that call for the extermination of Armenians,” Gerami said.
“But we mustn’t allow the hate of a few to create division, pin us against each other and get us stuck in the problem. The Truth And Accountability League is focused on the solution. We want to bring together, not only members of the Armenian community, but everyone to create awareness, educate and find answers. Our panel of leaders and experts will discuss ways to handle malice that aims to victimize, dehumanize and diminish us. Hate acts affect everyone, regardless of ethnic background, race, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity. TAAL’s town hall is a forum to empower everyone.”
The two-hour event is a part of TAAL’s comprehensive and integrated Community Outreach Campaign to address the rise in anti-Armenian hate crimes the last three years, including the anti-Armenian flyers posted in Glendale on March 31 and similar ones in Beverly Hills in January that called for the massacre of Armenians.
“The Armenian American community is such an essential part of our L.A. County community, but the amount of discrimination and negative stereotyping they’ve experienced is too often understated because it is underreported,” Toma said. “I look forward to sharing the data we collect on acts of hate in our county, and most importantly, what we are doing with L.A. vs Hate to increase reporting and eradicate hate in all our cities and neighborhoods.”
“Stand TAAL to Hate” is a town hall to benefit every group that has experienced racism, been subject to hate crimes and defamation, along with L.A.’s Armenian community, which has been a target of such acts more frequently in recent years. With its nearly 40% Armenian community, Glendale is the perfect crossroad for such an event.
“I am proud to be the mayor of Glendale, a city rich with diversity, including one of the largest Armenian diaspora communities in the world,” Brotman said. “The Jewel City has zero tolerance for racism, hate acts and defamation. I strongly condemn the recent anti-Armenian flyers and work with Glendale Police and community leaders to find the perpetrator.
“I’m honored to be a panelist for the Truth And Accountability League’s town hall. I applaud Vic Gerami and his team for launching a community outreach campaign to create awareness, educate and empower not only the residents of Glendale but all of L.A. County.”
“As district attorney of Los Angeles County, home to more than 200,000 Armenians, I’m immensely proud to represent the largest Armenian population in the United States and the greatest number outside of Armenia itself,” District Attorney George Gascón said. “Our Armenian community makes tremendous academic, artistic, altruistic and many other contributions to our region.
“These hate-filled flyers that incite violence are abhorrent and must be condemned. My office takes hate crimes very seriously, filing 86% of the hate crime cases referred to us, far above the statewide average of 54%. I commend TAAL for becoming an antidote for the poison that is racism and holding this important town hall to promote equality and protect human rights.”
Cid said he looks forward to participating in the upcoming town hall.
“Coming together to discuss hate, accountability and transparency is a powerful act of solidarity and progress. This will be a great opportunity to educate our community on the efforts law enforcement is making to address these challenges, as well as to learn, share, and work together towards a more equitable future,” Cid said.
Kbushyan, an Armenian American, believes in tackling the problem head-on. The state commissioner has been a longtime community organizer and member of Mayor Karen Bass’ transition team.
“It’s been shocking to see anti-Armenian flyers advocating genocide against Armenians in Glendale and across L.A. County,” Kbushyan said. “We must all condemn this bigotry in the strongest terms. While our families and loved ones in Armenia and Artsakh are under assault by Azerbaijan, L.A. County’s Armenian community is being terrorized by hate, defamation and propaganda.
“Vic Gerami and his team at the Truth And Accountability League have taken a proactive step in organizing a town hall in Glendale to create a safe place for the community to address this ongoing matter. I look forward to being on the panel and serving the greater L.A. community.”
The audience will have a chance to submit questions in writing before the start of the town hall. Guests must RSVP through Eventbrite: TAALTownHall.Eventbrite.com.
Elected officials who would like to attend and have special requests and members of the media interested in interviews should contact Gerami at (310) 880-8563 or email@example.com.
For additional information, visit TruthAndAccountabilityLeague.org.
First published in the April 29 print issue of the Glendale News-Press.