TUJUNGA, CA – As a celebration of diversity and appreciation for the growing Armenian American community of the Los Angeles suburb of Sunland-Tujunga, the intersection adjacent to the Bolton Hall Museum was declared “William Saroyan Square,” during the unveiling ceremony at the annual Armenian Arts and Culture Festival on October 19th.
The motion for the square, spearheaded by LA City District 7 Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez, was passed unanimously by the city council with an overwhelming support from the community.
Councilwoman Rodriguez emphasized the importance of recognizing and honoring the vastly diverse and vibrant district, stating that she is proud to represent the hard working and resilient Armenian American community of Sunland-Tujunga.
“Today, I am proud to designate the corner of Valmont and Commerce Avenue for the rest of the world to know as William Saroyan Square,” said Councilwoman Rodriguez. “Let us continue to celebrate the beauty and diversity of our community.”
Present at the event were representatives from the offices of Congressman Adam Schiff, State Senator Anthony Portantino and LA County Supervisor Kathryn Barger. Several community leaders and activists also participated in the historic occasion featuring traditional Armenian music, food, dance and poetry performances.
“William Saroyan made countless contributions to American society through his award winning novels and plays which highlighted the trials and tribulations of minorities living in the United States,” said Sevak Khatchadorian, Chairman of the Armenian Council of America. “Honoring this prolific writer is especially important given the dire circumstances that immigrants are now facing in our current political climate. Saroyan is a source of hope and he exemplifies heroism and courage in the face of bigotry and intolerance,” he added.
Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michael Moore congratulated the community and expressed his solidarity while Armenian Assembly Western Region Chair Mihran Toumajan spoke about the adversities Saroyan faced as the son of Armenian immigrants and how he overcame those obstacles to become a Pulitzer-winning author.
The plaques read: “William Saroyan Square. Award-winning Armenian-American novelist whose writings celebrate the richness of the immigrant experience and speak to the heart and soul of the human story.”