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Lawyer Ognyan Gavrilov with a new mission – to unite the Bulgarian community in California and the surrounding US states

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Photo: private library

A story worthy of a film plot - this is how we can briefly describe the life of Bulgaria’s Ognyan Gavrilov who has built a successful life for himself overseas. The year was 1999. As soon as he graduated from the Mathematical High School in Sofia, Ognyan Gavrilov left for the land of unlimited opportunities. Today, he is one of the best lawyers in the Sacramento area, California, working in his own law firm with offices in Sacramento and Los Angeles. Happily married to a Chinese woman and father of two children who bear the beautiful Bulgarian names Nayden and Rada, Ogyan Gavrilov tells us more in an interview for Radio Bulgaria:

"The legal practice has been working since 2009 with a team of 20 people. Our clients include financial and state institutions, international companies, as well as private individuals," Gavrilov says.

He does not hide his pride that in 2020 he was chosen as Advocate of the Year in the Sacramento area among 14,000 colleagues by CCTLA (Capitol City Trial Lawyers Association).


Numerous lawsuits have left a serious mark in his law practice, but Ognyan highlights one with a wide public response:

"In 2020, I had to sue the governor of California as, because of the pandemic, he closed restaurants and hair salons because they allegedly contributed more to the spread of the infection than other public places and businesses. Thanks to this lawsuit, these facilities in the Sacramento area opened three and a half weeks earlier than those in the rest of the state. "

In Bulgaria, the activity of a trial lawyer is little known, because for the needs of the judicial process here, the presence of such a person is not necessary. Thanks to his authority and his position as vice president and co-founder of the Slavic-American Chamber of Commerce, Ognyan Gavrilov achieved another triumph - he managed to declare a Slavic Heritage Day in California, and the date is May 24, the Day of the Slavonic Alphabet and Culture in Bulgaria. This happened in 2013.

Sergei Terebkov, head of Slav-American trade chamber, Dr. Pen of the California local parliament and Ognian GAvrilov (left to right) with the proclamation of May 24 - Day of Slav Heritage

"It's still a working day, but it's my project, which I'm glad I was able to accomplish," the lawyer proudly admits, adding:

"The Slavic American Chamber of Commerce unites Poles, Ukrainians and Russians and their businesses, as well as businesses of other nationalities eager to work with the Slavic community. The Slavic community in the state numbers over 1 million people. In Sacramento alone, there are about 200,000 people”.

Ognyan Gavrilov devotes a significant part of his time to various causes uniting the Bulgarian community in the region. He was recently elected president of a new non-governmental organization that will bring together Bulgarians from all 13 states that fall within the district of the Consulate General of Bulgaria in Los Angeles. Although still in the process of being established, the organization has already identified initiatives to make the Bulgarian community more recognizable among Americans. Their plans include building a monument to the Cyrillic alphabet, holding a Bulgarian film festival in Los Angeles, as well as annual awards in the field of culture, education and science. The work on the monument is in the most advanced phase - a model was created by the sculptor Bronislav Likomanov, the Bulgarian consulate is expected to coordinate the authorization for the place where it will be placed.


"We are working with the consulate for a Bulgarian film festival”,  explains Ognyan Gavrilov. “We expect them to help us find films. I organized a similar event in 2013-14 in San Francisco and the main problem was finding movies. Unfortunately, film festivals are a losing initiative financially and they don't make money. We, who are the basis of the non-governmental organization, will be the sponsors again. I guess it will be within 2-3 days, and now we plan to add a prize for the participating productions."

Ognyan Gavrilov hopes that this idea will be implemented within a few months. The regulation on awards in the field of culture, education and science is already being worked on. The winners will probably be determined by a jury, which will choose between nominations proposed by Bulgarians in the consular district, Ognyan Gavrilov explains.


English version Rositsa Petkova

Photos: private library
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