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PR- 117-06
April 17, 2006


Immigrant History Week Honors the Contributions and Rich History of Immigrants in New York City

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) Commissioner Guillermo Linares today kicked-off Immigrant History Week at Gracie Mansion.  Immigrant History Week, introduced by Mayor Bloomberg in 2004, celebrates the generations of immigrants who have made New York City great, through a week of dynamic cultural activities including a children's workshop, theater performances and photos exhibits.  This year's Immigrant History Week begins today April 17 - the same day in 1907 that saw the largest number of immigrants in history pass through Ellis Island - and ends on Sunday, April 23.  Mayor Bloomberg was joined by Deputy Mayor Carol Robles-Roman, The New York Times Community Affairs and Media Relations Executive Director Diane McNulty and actor John Leguizamo. Civic, religious and business leaders from across the City's immigrant communities also joined in the festivities.

"New York is a city of immigrants - which means we all have something to celebrate during Immigrant History Week," said Mayor Bloomberg. "Whether it's a story from 1806, 1906 or 2006, we are all connected to the journeys and aspirations of immigrants. We may speak in many different languages, but we share common hopes and dreams for ourselves, our families and our City."

"Immigrants have shaped almost every brick, cornerstone and foundation in our City," said Commissioner Linares. "From the immigrants who built our transportation infrastructure in the early 20th century to the newest New Yorkers who help drive our economy today, our City's success rests on people who come from all over the world to make the American dream a reality."

"Immigrants continue to re-define what it means to be a New Yorker," said Diane McNulty. "The New York Times is happy to be a part of a campaign that speaks not only to our City's history, but to how integral immigrants are to all facets of life here."

During the week long celebration, more than 30 activities will take place throughout all five boroughs. From readings with distinguished authors to dance performances and tours, New Yorkers will be able to learn and experience how immigrants have helped shape our City. 

Among the events scheduled for this year's celebration are:

  • "From Irish to Dominican," a reading with award-winning authors Frank McCourt and Angie Cruz (April 20).

  • "Tracing our Immigrant Stories," a presentation and discussion on the historical documents that piece together NYC's immigrant history (April 21).

  • "Americans in Turbans: An Inside Look at NYC Sikhs," a multi-media and arts festival (April 22).

  • "Folk Influences on Jazz," a dance workshop demonstrating how dances from different immigrant groups influenced the development of Jazz. (April 23).

At the reception, Mayor Bloomberg also honored two outstanding New Yorkers and an organization for their dedication to empowering immigrant New Yorkers. The evening's honorees were:

Flor Bermudez
Ms. Bermudez advocates for immigrants as the executive director of Esperanza del Barrio, a membership-led organization based in East Harlem that assists low-income Latino/a immigrants and their families through grassroots organizing, political/legal education and leadership development.

Zeinab Eyega
As the executive director and Founder of Sauti Yetu (meaning Our Voices in Swahili) Center for African Women, Ms. Eyega has worked to help health-care providers better understand the needs of NY's African communities.

ROC-NY: Restaurant Opportunities Center 
The Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York (ROC-NY) is dedicated to winning improved conditions for restaurant workers and raising public recognition of their contributions to the city.

PBS anchor Rafael Pi Roman joined Mayor Bloomberg in presenting awards to the honorees.  The New York Times sponsored the celebration at Gracie Mansion. Immigrant History Week partners include Western Union, Con Edison, New York Community Trust, Goya, Citibank, Lower East Side People's Federal Credit Union, and 1-800-Mattress. MOIA collaborated with the three public library systems and an array of organizations on Immigrant History Week, and with grupohuracán and the MTA on a citywide ad campaign. 

For more information about Immigrant History Week, please visit or call 311.


Stu Loeser / Silvia Alvarez   (212) 788-2958

Erica Gonzalez   (Immigrant Affairs)
(212) 788-9964

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