William Saroyan Square

24 Oct 2019

A square at the crossing of Commerce Avenue and Valmont Street in Tujunga-Sunland neighborhood in Los Angeles has been dedicated to Pulitzer Prize-winning author William Saroyan at the annual Armenian Arts and Culture Festival on October 19th.

Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez uncovered the plaque, which reads: “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.”

The motion for the square, spearheaded by LA City District 7 Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez, was passed unanimously by the city council with overwhelming support from the community.

Present at the event were representatives from the offices of Congressman Adam Schiff, State Senator Anthony Portantino, and LA County Supervisor Kathryn Barger. Armenian Assembly of America Western Region Director Mihran Toumajan addressed a sizable crowd of Armenian Cultural Festival participants at the unveiling of Willliam Saroyan Square. Several other 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 spoke about the adversities Saroyan faced as the son of Armenian immigrants and how he overcame those obstacles to become a Pulitzer-winning author.