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New York City launches Immigrant Heritage Week to celebrate rich diversity, legacy

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In a vibrant display of cultural pride and unity, the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) has inaugurated the 20th annual Immigrant Heritage Week with the theme “Celebrating the City of Immigrants.”

This commemoration, spearheaded by Commissioner Manuel Castro, pays homage to the enduring contributions of both longstanding and recent immigrant communities in New York City.

Originating in 2004, Immigrant Heritage Week honors a significant date in the city’s history—April 17, 1907, when a record-breaking 11,000 immigrants arrived through Ellis Island. Today, this event serves as a testament to the city’s identity as a global melting pot.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams extolled the city’s immigrant population, remarking, “New York City is the greatest city in the world because we are the immigrant capital of the world.”

He emphasized the indispensable role immigrants play in enriching the city’s tapestry of cultures and traditions, citing Immigrant Heritage Week as an occasion to recognize and celebrate this diversity.

Deputy Mayor of Health and Human Services Anne Williams-Isom echoed these sentiments, urging New Yorkers to embrace the programming throughout the week. “Our city is made vibrant by our diversity,” she noted, emphasizing the beauty and resilience immigrants bring to the community.

Commissioner Castro emphasized the theme of resilience, acknowledging both historic immigrant communities and the newest arrivals who continue to shape the city’s narrative. “From Ellis Island to now, New York City is proud to be a destination for so many to achieve their American Dream,” he affirmed.

MOIA’s centerpiece for Immigrant Heritage Week is a signature illustration showcasing the diversity and unity of immigrant New Yorkers across generations. This visual celebration underscores New York City’s enduring legacy as a beacon for immigrants pursuing prosperity and freedom.

Throughout the week, MOIA will spotlight city and community events that honor the immigrant experience, building up to the national celebration of Immigrant Heritage Month in June. Last year’s initiative, featuring 21 illustrations representing diverse immigrant neighborhoods, will continue this year, highlighting enclaves like Little Africa in the Bronx, Little Manila in Queens, and Chinatown in Manhattan.

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