Armenian group is approved for a float in next year’s Rose Parade
By André Coleman 03/12/2014
Organizers of a local Armenian-American group are keeping plans for a Rose Parade float close to the vest.
In a letter dated March 5, the Tournament of Roses invited the Armenian American Rose Float Association (AARFA) to participate in next year’s Rose Parade. The AAFA is led by former District 4 City Council candidate Chris Chahinian.
“It is my pleasure to extend an invitation to the Armenian American Rose Float Association, Inc. to participate in the 126th Rose Parade,” the letter reads.
The letter is signed by Richard L. Chinen, president of the 2014-2015 Tournament of Roses and was copied to John Reitnouer, chair of the Float Entries Committee, and L. Monique Sims, Tournament of Roses director of Sponsor Services and Licensing.
Sims confirmed on Tuesday that the letter was legitimate and that plans are in progress for the float, but she would not comment on the float’s theme or planned design.
When contacted by the Pasadena Weekly, Chahinian would not confirm or deny if the float would be designed to commemorate the Armenian Genocide.
The Genocide — also known among Armenians as The Great Crime — began in 1915 and, by the time it ended eight years later, 1.5 million Armenians had been hanged, poisoned, drowned or marched into the desert to die at the hands of soldiers from the Turkish Ottoman Empire. Along with the Jewish Holocaust and the enslavement of African Americans, it remains one of the darkest episodes in human history, and one which the Turkish government denies to this day.
“This float is about sharing our inspiring story with the world through the Rose Parade in Pasadena,” Chahinian told the Weekly without elaborating.
Chahinian made headlines last year during a public feud with former Mayor Bill Paparian over plans for an Armenian Genocide Memorial. The two men led different groups, each hoping to erect a memorial. The feud became so heated that City Manager Michael Beck sent out an email calling for the two sides to settle their differences.
The city chose the memorial submitted by Pasadena Genocide Memorial Committee (PASAGMC), which includes Paparian, former Pasadena Police Chief Bernard Melekian and former state Assemblyman Anthony Portantino of La Cañada Flintridge.
Paparian and Melekian did not return phone calls seeking comment for this story.