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Transcript: Mayor Eric Adams Delivers Remarks and Raises Flag for Colombian Independence Day

July 20, 2022

Commissioner Manuel Castro, Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs: Viva Colombia! No, now, we got to try that again. Viva Colombia! Thank you so much, Arthur, and thank you to the Bowling Green Association for this incredible partnership, more than anything to celebrate and uplift our immigrant communities. I am so proud to be the Commissioner of the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs, and stand here with you with our Colombian brothers and sisters to celebrate their Independence Day in a location so important to the United States Independence Day and to democracy across the world.

Commissioner Castro: So before we get started, I'd like to acknowledge Consul General Susana Berenguer, who's here with us today. I'd like to acknowledge our commissioner of the Mayor's Office of International Affairs, Commissioner Mermelstein. Our commissioner of the Community Affairs Unit, Commissioner Kreizman, and our colleagues in city government who are either Colombian immigrants or children of immigrants, José Bayona, executive director of the Office of Ethnic and Community Media; Dr. Jonathan Jiménez, executive director of NYC Cares; and of course, un amigo, Alfonso Lopez of the City Legislative Affairs. I am also here with Assembly Member Catalina Cruz, Assembly Member Natalia Fernandez, State Senator Jessica Ramos. And Council Member Jennifer Gutiérrez.

Commissioner Castro: So now, I'd like to introduce Commissioner Mermelstein of the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs to share a few words.

Commissioner Edward Mermelstein, Mayor’s Office of International Affairs: Thank you, Commissioner Castro. My name, as the commissioner mentioned, is International Affairs Commissioner Edward Mermelstein. I am the commissioner for the Mayor's Office, your new Mayor Adams and I am so happy to join all of you, and our administration, and as mentioned, Consul General Barringer, the Bowling Green Association, and all of you who are celebrating the 212th anniversary of Colombia's independence. The Colombian consul has been an essential partner to our office, and we look forward to leveraging this relationship for the benefit of all New Yorkers. New York City is proud to be home to more than 100,000 Colombian nationals who are all a key part of New York City's fabric.

Commissioner Mermelstein: Colombians contribute tremendously to all sectors of New York City. The beauty of the Columbian culture can be seen across the five boroughs, especially in Jackson Heights, Queens, also known as Little Columbia. I look forward to working with the consulate and the Columbian community to achieve Mayor Adams' vision of a safer and more prosperous New York City. Thank you all, and congratulations once again.

Commissioner Castro: Thank you, Commissioner Mermelstein. Up next, I'd like to introduce to you Columbia's Consul General Susana Berenguer.


Commissioner Castro: Thank you so much for your words, Consul General, and a few words in Spanish for our Colombian community. [Speaks in Spanish]. And so with that, I'd like to introduce to you José Bayona, executive director of the Office of Ethnic and Community Media.

José Bayona, Executive Director, Office of Ethnic and Community Media: Gracias. Okay. [Speaks in Spanish]. And now, I want to say just a few words in English. As a Colombian person, as the highest ranking Colombian official in the Adams administration, I'm very proud to be here today with all of you, people from Colombia, elected officials, and city officials. And I want to just let you know that this is a historic moment for Colombians in New York City, and we are going to remember this forever, and I will see you here next year. Thank you.

Commissioner Castro: Gracias, José, and now it is my pleasure to invite up to share a few words, our senator for the State of New York, Jessica Ramos.


Commissioner Castro: Gracias, senadora. And I'd like to invite Jennifer Gutierrez, Council member for District 34, just to say hello and a few words.


Commissioner Castro: And next I'd like to invite Catalina Cruz, Assembly member for district 39.


Commissioner Castro: Que vivan los Colombianos. Que vivan los latinos. Y que vivan los inmigrantes. And now, it is my honor to introduce to you the mayor of the City of New York, Mayor Eric Adams.

Mayor Eric Adams: Thank you. Good to see you. Yes. Good to see you. Thank you. Thank you. Such an important day, 212th celebration, and we are in area code 212. As we do that celebration, this flag raising here in this community, and two of my amazing elected officials that are from Colombian ancestry. This is a proud day for them. When we raise the flag here at the heart of our financial strength here down at Bowling Green, it sends a real message for the entire rich, prosperous Columbian community that you matter. We see you. We recognize how much you have done for this city, and I think a great reflection of that is Little Colombia in Jackson Heights, where you get great culture, food, music, sound, and great development in that community, so this is a significant day for us.

Mayor Adams: When you look at the great uprising in Bogota that inspired this amazing moment, this amazing day, you should be so proud of your contribution, not only to your homeland of Colombia, but your adopted homeland of America and what it represents, so I am here to simply say that. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, and let's continue to be the diverse city that we are, where everyone comes to find a way to experience this great American Dream that we have. Let's raise this flag. Let's raise our spirits. Let's raise our city and country. Thank you very much.

Commissioner Castro: And now please join us in raising the Colombian flag for the first time in the City of New York. Mayor?


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