Go Ahead and Change Maryland to Artsakh Street
Los Angeles is always changing, and the Armenian-American community of Glendale has more than earned a chance to leave it’s mark.
If there’s one thing about Los Angeles that is inescapable, is that it is always changing.
You know what? That’s okay.
Crenshaw used to have restrictive convenants where Black people couldn’t rent or live. It soon became one of the blackest parts of the city, not so charmingly known as “The Jungle”. To this day, the culture of the Crenshaw revolves around African-Americans. Crenshaw is gentrifying but that part of the city remains black.
The area around Union Station was the original Chinatown. When the station was built, Chinatown shifted northward. When the 110 Freeway was built, they shifted it again. When the Immigration Laws finally allowed new Immigrants freedom to go where they wanted, they found cheap land in what was formerly very Latino San Gabriel Valley and Alhambra.
Wilshire, the Miracle Mile near Downtown used to be the swingingest, most happening part of the City, with the Coconut Grove, and the Original Brown Debry. Now it’s Koreatown.
Little Tokyo, Rancho P.V., Torrance, Sawtelle; Cities change. New people move in, they make changes. They leave their mark.
Glendale was once the home of the KKK. We were once a place where if you were Black after Dark, you would be stopped by Police and told to be on your way…or else. This city has changed. Clearly for the better.
Maybe people don’t think of Glendale as an “Armenian City” but I certainly do. It’s 37% Armenian, and growing. Armenian Culture now pumps through our collective hearts. Armenian Food feeds the body, our togetherness nourishes the soul.
You know what? That’s okay. That’s better than okay. Our Armenian friends and Neighbors have earned their to leave their mark on this city.
Now, I am not Armenian, and I am a Maryland Native; born and raised. You know what? We’ll be okay. Maryland has a State named after it after all. As long as we keeps steady supply of Crabcakes, Pit Beef Sandwiches, Old Bay Seasoning, Tiger Sauce and Orioles Baseball, losing out to Artsakh is something I think we can handle.
The bottom line is Artsakh deserves to have a street named for it. Armenian Soldiers have died for Artsakh. Valera and Razmela Khalapyan were murdered in cold blood by Azeri Troops for no other reason than being home one April night.
The Armenian-American community here in Glendale has been very active in supporting Artsakh. They’re sending money. They’re supporting Armenian Troops in the field, sending them equipment, hosting education opportunities at Tumo. They’re hosting events highlighting travel and the regonial culture of Shushi. Renaming the Street Artsakh street is a small gesture on its face, but it will let the people of Stepanakert know that Glendale thinks about them every day.
One day soon, there will be a new group of residents in Glendale, new immigrants, new thoughts and ideas. With them will come a new vitality, a wind and spirit of reinvention, and those people will likewise earn the right to make the changes they want to see. I hope when the Armenian-American community are the old guard of Glendale, they remember these times.
I think they will.
So, Glendale, my Armenian friends and neighbors, I encourage you to make this change. It’s your mark to leave, and let us leave it in Artsakh’s honor.