Printer Friendly Format Email a Friend

PR- 135-05
April 11, 2005


Honoring Four Outstanding New Yorkers

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs Commissioner Guillermo Linares today announced the beginning of Immigrant History Week 2005. Immigrant History Week honors the generations of immigrants whose energy and vision continue to make New York City the "World's Second Home." This year, Immigrant History Week is celebrated from April 12th through the 18th, encompassing April 17th - the day in 1907 when the most number of immigrants were processed through Ellis Island. At the reception, Mayor Bloomberg honored four remarkable individuals for their commitment to improving conditions for immigrant New Yorkers. The Mayor was joined by Deputy Mayor Carol Robles-Roman and The New York Times Community Affairs Group Director Diane McNulty. Civic, religious and business leaders from across the City's immigrant communities also joined in the festivities.

"From the earliest Dutch settlers, every immigrant community has left its mark on New York," said Mayor Bloomberg. "It is impossible to imagine New York without the immigrants who have always been at the center of our neighborhoods and industries, and who continue to make New York a global crossroads. We are all grateful for the enormous contributions that immigrants have made - and continue to make every day - to our City, and it is a pleasure to honor these four outstanding individuals."

"If New York City is the capital of the world, it's because of the strength and continuing contributions of its immigrants," said Commissioner Linares. "The history of immigrants in this City is one of struggle, success and most of all, inspiration. I am privileged to work with our newest New Yorkers."

"Immigrant New Yorkers are inextricably linked with the past, present and future of our City," said Diane McNulty. "The New York Times is happy to play a role in recording and honoring the contributions of immigrants here."

A series of events throughout the city will explore the trajectories of immigrant groups and highlight a variety of traditions. These events include a panel discussion at the Museum of the City of New York on the Jewish and Dominican perspectives in Washington Heights; an Indian film festival; and Greek music and theater presentations.

Honorees included:

Napoleon Barragán
A native of Ecuador, Napoleon Barragán came to the United States in 1969. He opened a furniture store in Jamaica, Queens; 25 years later, from that furniture store, Mr. Barragan demonstrated the drive and marketing genius that created Dial-A-Mattress. Mr. Barragan is committed to helping immigrants and others advance through his a one-on-one language exchange learning program in his home of Queens.

Marina Kovalyov
Marina Kovalyov is highly regarded as a business and cultural leader in the Russian community worldwide. She is an editor in-chief of the largest Russian language entertainment and lifestyle magazine and today, she hosts a weekly Russian language radio show, which airs in the tri-state area.

Larry Lee
Larry Lee is a distinguished leader of the Asian American community. He is the founder and chair of the Board of Trustees of the Shuang Wen Academy, the first Mandarin and English dual language and dual culture public school in the nation. Since its inception, Shuang Wen Academy/PS 184M, has been ranked in the top ten of all NYC public schools on the State fourth grade reading and math literacy tests.

Marie Marthe Saint Cyr
Marie Marthe Saint Cyr, born and raised in Haiti, is a social worker. Ms. Saint Cyr was the Director of the Haitian Coalition on AIDS in New York City and developed the first program for women in Brooklyn called "Women and AIDS Resources Network" (WARN). Responding to the needs of the constituency she serves, she became the first Haitian Deputy Commissioner in New York City under the Dinkins administration.

New York 1 reporter Shazia Khan served as mistress of ceremonies and helped present awards to the honorees. The New York Times Community Affairs Department is the Media Sponsor of Immigrant History Week. For more information about Immigrant History Week, please visit or call 311.


Edward Skyler / Silvia Alvarez   (212) 788-2958

More Resources
Watch the video in 56k or 300k