FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 10, 2008
MAYOR BLOOMBERG LAUNCHES FIFTH ANNUAL IMMIGRANT HERITAGE WEEK WITH RECEPTION AT GRACIE MANSION
Celebration Nearly Triples Events throughout Five Boroughs
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs Commissioner Guillermo Linares kicked off Immigrant Heritage Week 2008 today with a reception at Gracie Mansion. Immigrant Heritage Week, celebrated from April 14 through April 20, honors the experiences and contributions of the millions of immigrants who have shaped our City for generations with multi-cultural events throughout the five boroughs. This year, the weeklong celebration will feature 130 events hosted by community organizations, museums, and public libraries, more than tripling the number of events from previous years. At today’s reception, Mayor Bloomberg honored two immigrant human rights activists, Ninaj Raoul and Simon Deng, whose resilience and determination on behalf of immigrants worldwide is emblematic of the city’s vast immigrant population. The Mayor was joined at Gracie Mansion by Deputy Mayor for Legal Affairs Carol Robles-Roman, The New York Times Executive Director of Community Affairs and Media Relations Diane McNulty, and civic, religious and business leaders from across the City’s immigrant communities.
“The events of Immigrant Heritage Week are designed to honor our city’s long history as the world’s second home,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Today, New York continues to be a gateway for people who want to work hard and create a better life. Our diversity is our City’s greatest strength and we have an obligation to make sure this city remains a beacon of opportunity for all the different cultures, languages and religions that make up New York.”
“Immigrant Heritage Week reminds us of the history of those immigrants who came to this great City before us and laid the foundation on which we stand today,” said Commissioner Linares. “And with our diversity and talents, immigrants continue to demonstrate that we are the driving force behind an even brighter future for New York City.”
“The New York Times is honored to once again support Immigrant Heritage Week, and to recognize the immigrant communities that make New York the dynamic city it is,” said Diane McNulty, Executive Director of Community Affairs and Media Relations at The New York Times.
Among the family programs, cultural celebrations and multi-day workshops scheduled for this year’s Immigrant Heritage Week celebration are:
Mayor Bloomberg honored the following Immigrant Heritage Week awardees for their work in immigrant communities:
Ninaj Raoul is a community organizer and the executive director of Haitian Women for Haitian Refugees (HWHR). Co-Founded by Raoul in 1992, HWHR’s mission is to assist Haitian refugees in the Brooklyn/New York area with legal and immigration assistance and advocacy for the Haitian community.
Simon Deng is a native of the Shiluk Kingdom in Southern Sudan. A survivor of child slavery, the Sudanese immigrant is a leading advocate to end the genocide in the Sudan. In 2006, he was invited to speak at the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva and launched the Sudan Freedom Walk campaign to call for an end to slavery and genocide in Sudan.
The New York Times Community Affairs Department sponsored the celebration at Gracie Mansion. Immigrant Heritage Week partners include: Western Union, ConEdison, CitiBank, iKobo, 1-800-Mattress, BPD Bank, Lino Press, Titan Worldwide, New York Community Media Alliance, Fresh Concentrate, and WNYC New York Public Radio. For more information on Immigrant Heritage Week, please visit http://www.nyc.gov or call 311.
Stu Loeser / Evelyn Erskine (212) 788-2958
Wil Cruz (MOIA) (212) 788-9964
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