As I mentioned in my previous blog, I was not always a person who cared about anyone else or wanted to strengthen my Armenian roots. My life was filled with challenges I thought I could never overcome. I would have never imagined in a million years that I would pursue a major in political science and transfer to a university. There is one person who has truly influenced me to think critically about issues that affect society in various aspects.
The day I walked into a class taught by Professor Gordon Alexandre and his History 118 course, my whole perspective on life changed. Before taking this course I did not have a strong understanding of these types of issues. I sat down with Professor Gordon(Gordy) one day and asked him what he majored was in college. He told me that he majored in political science. I started to conduct research on professions dealing with this major. I learned that there was an array of professions dealing with political science. Thus, I changed my major from Criminal Justice to Political Science. Taking History 118 at Glendale Community College helped me pave a path towards a better understanding of my own cultural history and of the struggles my people had to face before and after the Armenian Genocide. This course ignited a latent passion within me,about issues of poverty and injustice in the United States and across the world.
My passion to find ways to contribute my knowledge in social issues influenced me and helped me choose my current major. As I started reading various books on Armenian history, I wondered if there was a person who was fighting for issues of poverty and injustice for Armenians, as I do. I found out there were a lot of Armenians who did this throughout history. The one person I felt that stood out on issues of fighting poverty and injustice for Armenians was a very influential Armenian named Vahan Cardashian. Born in Caesarea around 1880, Cardashian arrived in the United States in 1902. He graduated with a law degree from Yale in 1908 and he went on to open a successful legal practice in New York. Cardashian was a man who set the groundwork for Armenian political advocacy in the United States. Cardashian was most well known as the founder of the American Committee for the Independence of Armenia (ACIA) and pioneered today’s Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA). Cardashian’s hard work helped implement President Woodrow Wilson’s push for a viable Armenia in the Treaty of Sevres, official White House recognition of the Armenian Republic, and the blocking of American ratification of the Treaty of Lausanne. Cardashian, a person who chose to be the exception and stand up for the rights of all Armenians in a one man show and had fought to his last breath in 1934, to ensure that Armenian justice is served. I hope one day I stand out as much as Vahan Cardashian has and leave my foot prints in Armenian history as well. I believe this internship will not only give me the tools to make this possible but will help me lay out the blue prints to what Vahan Cardashian started more than 80 years ago.