May 5, 2015, Baton Rouge, LA – Atlas Foundation of Louisiana, a state with a relatively small Turkic American population, hosted members of the Louisiana Legislative Spouses Auxiliary over a luncheon. Spouses of 14 Louisiana state legislators attended the event, which served as a platform for the introduction of the rich traditions, cultures and history of the Turkish people and Anatolia. The guests praised Atlas Foundation’s activities in Louisiana, and noted that these activities deserved recognition for promoting mutual respect, peace and companionship among communities.
The event took off with President of Atlas Foundation, Emrah Aktepe’s presentation about Anatolian and Turkic history. The Q&A session of the presentation drew much of the attention, as many guests asked questions about recent turmoil in Turkey, events which are understandably confusing to those who do not follow Turkish politics regularly. Mr. Aktepe answered these questions by reiterating his faith in the Anatolian people’s dedication to democracy, and said that he expected Turkey to overcome these issues.
State Representative J. Rogers Pope and his wife, Pat Pope, who headed the delegation from Louisiana Legislative Spouses Auxiliary, thanked Atlas Foundation for its public service. The Popes noted that this was a first event of its kind organized by the Turkic American community in Louisiana, and urged the organizers to continue it in the coming years.
State Senator Gerald Long and his wife Rose Long, who bear a family name that has significant influence in Louisiana, shared their experiences and thoughts about their trip to Turkey in 2014. Rose Long noted that they visited Istanbul and Izmir and were astounded by the richness of Anatolian heritage.
Various Anatolian dishes were served during the event, all of which were made by Atlas Foundation volunteers, moreover, some of the guests received Turkish lokum as early presents for Mother’s Day, which was around the corner when the luncheon took place.