SAN FRANCISCO, ANTELIAS – On the afternoon of Friday, October 21, 2011, His Holiness Catholicos Aram I arrived at San Francisco City Hall where he met with Mayor Edwin Lee and staff.
Alongside Mayor Edwin Lee were Supervisor Sean Elsbernd, Mrs. Charlotte Schultz (Director of Protocol for the State of California), and Mr. Mark Chandler (Mayor’s International Director).
His Holiness was joined by H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, Councils members, Pastor of St. Gregory Church, and members of Board of Trustees and Pontifical Visit committee.
His Holiness stated that San Francisco is a special city and that he was glad the Armenian community is a part of the progress of the city. He continued, saying that the local is a basis for the national and global, that roots come from the local and a nation is built from activism of the local community. Speaking on the Armenian Genocide, His Holiness stated that prevention of genocide should be a priority for communities and nations. Genocide doesn’t belong to the past, it is a present issue. The Armenian Genocide should be taken as a bitter experience. The rights of our people were violated and we struggle with the restoration of our rights. In conclusion, His Holiness stated that it is our expectation that our leaders of this country take the issue of Genocide recognition very seriously.
Mayor Lee stated that he was excited and honored for the visit of His Holiness. He added that diversity is key and it is the allure of San Francisco.
The meeting concluded with an exchange of mementos.