August 23, 2022
Commissioner Manuel Castro, Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs: Thank you so much, Arthur, and thank you so much to the Bowling Green Association for this great partnership that allows us to uplift our immigrant communities in New York. I am proud to be here to celebrate Ukrainians' independence. But I'm also proud to have, for this last several months, been working with Ukrainians and the Ukrainian community here in New York, assisting Ukrainian New Yorkers apply for much needed Temporary Protective Status, which allows Ukrainians to remain here, access work permits and legal status in the United States and also support Ukrainian families bring their loved ones from abroad to New York. Over 10,000 Ukrainians have applied for the Uniting for Ukraine program. In New York, we are here ready to support you and your families, come to New York and be with your loved ones through this crisis. So again, thank you so much to the community for your partnership and we look forward to continuing to work with you and support Ukraine through these difficult moments. Thank you so much.
Commissioner Edward Mermelstein, Mayor’s Office of International Affairs: Thank you so much, Arthur. And thank you very much, Consul General Holubov for being with us and leading us today. As commissioner of international affairs, I am so happy to join Mayor Adams and members of our administration, the Bowling Green Association, and all the consul generals that are with us today to celebrate the 31st anniversary of Ukraine's independence.
Commissioner Mermelstein: This moment is especially significant. As Ukraine continues to deal with the horrific and unjust invasion, New York is proud to be home to more than 150,000 Ukrainians. Every one of you contributes immensely to the city. As a proud Ukrainian American who came to New York as a refugee, I am honored to stand with this community to celebrate this day with all of you. While our community is going through a lot of pain, New York City continues to be proactive in its support.
Commissioner Mermelstein: For that, I want to thank the mayor of New York City, Eric Adams, for his great leadership. I'd like to thank him for committing not just words, but funds and many other city resources to support our community. I look forward to leveraging our strong relationship with the consulate to ensure that we serve the needs of Ukrainians already in New York City, as well as the displaced families arriving daily. I also stand ready to work with our administration, the consulate and the Ukrainian community to achieve Mayor Adams' vision of a New York City for all. Congratulations to my fellow Ukrainians on this milestone. I'd like to now introduce the mayor of the greatest City of New York, the greatest mayor, Mayor Eric Adams.
Mayor Eric Adams: Thank you. Thanks so much, commissioner. When you look through my administration, you see the rich, the pride, the tradition, and the understanding of our office by having Commissioner Mermelstein, the first Ukrainian citizen to head our international affairs. The timing was appropriate. Throughout the war, he has been a top advisor as we looked through the horrific actions that are taking place on Ukrainian soil. We are clear on this. New York City is the Kyiv of America. We have the largest Ukrainian population right here in New York City.
Mayor Adams: As the commissioner mentioned, over 150,000 residents of Ukrainian ancestry live here in New York City. So it's an honor to stand here in solidarity of your 31 years of independence and raise this flag. It is to raise the spirit of the Ukrainian people and my good friend, the consul general, has been a real symbol of that strength. From the time that the bombs burst on the soil of Ukraine, he has stood up and represent the country here in New York with a level of strength, bravery, compassion, and commitment that you could expect from any consul general during these difficult times.
Mayor Adams: We know this city being an international city, each time something plays out on the international stage, it plays out on the streets of New York City. We realize that this city's a city of immigrants. As I swore in men and women from 24 different countries that became American citizens today, this is a city that the dream of America comes alive every day. The Ukrainian people have been part of that since the 17th century when the first Ukrainian American first arrived here, to the families that live in Little Ukraine and Lower Manhattan. It may be called Little Ukraine, but the people there have big hearts. They're very much part of the greatness of this city. We know the impact of this war has devastated many, has created a great level of pain, but we know how to turn pain into purpose and fortify our strength together as one.
Mayor Adams: As our commissioner mentioned, it started with the $2 million allocation to ensure that we can help those who are here. But to go further and give the legal representation, coalesce with our nonprofits, coordinate with those who want to give back in a real way. We take our hats off to President Zelensky. He has clearly shown the resiliency of the Ukrainian people and we want him to know that this flag that we raise is a symbol of that strength, is a symbol of what we stand for. And it's a symbol of what we fight for. God bless America. God bless this city. God bless and lift up the Ukrainian people. Thank you very much.
Mayor Adams: This proclamation is given to the consul general but the Ukrainian people. Whereas the Ukrainian people have long enhanced life in our diverse city, they will continue to play a key role, as we take bold steps to come back stronger from the pandemic, grow our economy and forge a safer, fairer, more prosperous future for all. I look forward to the many years our vital Ukrainian community will continue to invigorate the five boroughs, as we write, as we unite to get stuff done and rebuild, renew, and reinvent our global city. Now, therefore I, Eric Adams, mayor of the City of New York, do hereby proclaim Tuesday, August 23rd, 2022 in the City of New York as Ukrainian Heritage Day. Congratulations.