Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Mark-Viverito, Commissioner Agarwal Kick-Off 14th Annual Immigrants Heritag

Launch of Immigrant Resource Guide to serve as roadmap for new New Yorkers

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs Nisha Agarwal today kicked off the City’s annual celebration of NYC’s immigrant communities with Immigrant Heritage Week 2017. The citywide celebration, which runs from April 17-23, features a rich collection of over 60 events and programs across the five boroughs. The theme for 2017, “Immigrants are New York: Upholding our Values,” showcases how New York City values are informed by the contributions, successes and struggles of NYC’s myriad and vibrant immigrant communities yesterday and today, and how essential it is to preserve those values in today’s immigration climate.

“New York is a city of immigrants, and Immigrant Heritage Week is a celebration of our values. We will continue to stand strong as an open and welcoming city, and this week’s civic and cultural events are a demonstration of that fact. In response to growing vitriolic attacks on the character of our immigrant communities, we are doubling down in our commitment to the people that help make New York the greatest city in the world,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

“The City Council is thrilled to help host New York City's 14th Annual Immigrant Heritage Week,” said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “At a time when immigrant communities are under attack, it is more important than ever to stand united and celebrate the contributions and importance of the immigrant identity in the United States. I'm proud to work with Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Agarwal to honor the struggles, accomplishments, and contributions of immigrants in New York City and across the country.”

“This year’s Immigrant Heritage Week is a time where we can all come together to cherish and share our immigrant stories,” said Commissioner Nisha Agarwal of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. “So many of us can trace our roots to a different town, city, or place but we’re all united by our common identity as New Yorkers. This celebration of our civic pride, cultural production and vibrant communities is our opportunity to come together and remember our shared histories at a moment when immigrants nationwide are under extreme scrutiny.”

Immigrant Heritage Week 2017 will include over 60 community events across the five boroughs, ranging from events offering practical information to immigrant New Yorkers about their rights to cultural celebrations across the city. The annual week of celebration was established in 2004 to honor the experiences and contributions of immigrants in New York City, the ultimate city of immigrants. Every year, Immigrant Heritage Week runs from April 17–23, marking the day in 1907 when more immigrants entered through Ellis Island than any other date in the city's history. This year’s hallmark events include:

International Mother Language Celebration – Tuesday, April 18: Join the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs for a gathering and series of short performances by groups representing a cross-section of Queens’ linguistic diversity in an evening honoring the many languages that call the borough home.

IDNYC on the Go! – Wednesday, April 19: IDNYC on the Go! will be going to Jackson Heights’ Diversity Plaza, where local stakeholders will join Commissioner Nisha Agarwal of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs and residents to celebrate the diversity of New York City’s immigrant communities. This event is part of a series of IDNYC pop-up enrollment centers throughout the City during Immigrant Heritage Week


Telling Immigrant Stories Through Theatre – Saturday, April 22: City and Theatre leaders will engage in panel a discussion on how art, and specifically theatre, can be an inclusive venue for immigrant storytelling.

As part of Immigrant Heritage Week, the City is rolling out a second edition of our resource and referral guide to serve as a roadmap to City services for new New Yorkers, introducing them to programs and resources like IDNYC, education, health care, and public safety. The updated guide will include additional information on a variety of topics, including health care options, financial empowerment and small business services. The new resource guide will be available in a variety of languages, but will be immediately available in English.

Immigrant Heritage Week’s events and announcements complement existing programs and supports offered by the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs that serve all immigrants, regardless of immigration status. In the last year, the de Blasio Administration has taken a variety of steps to protect immigrant communities, as well as to ensure that they know their rights at a time of increased fear surrounding national immigration policy and enforcement. In addition to hosting Know Your Rights forums across the five boroughs, the City has updated and reaffirmed its privacy protocols on schools and public health care facilities. NYC Health + Hospitals recently rolled out a series of immigrant health care rights forums to provide information to immigrant New Yorkers about their right to medical care, regardless of immigration status or ability to pay. DOE announced expanded immigration guidance, including a detailed protocol for responding to law enforcement requests from federal agencies, and supports for the city’s public schools and public school families. IDNYC—the official New York City identification card—recently reached over 1,030,000 cardholders, improving access to City services for countless New Yorkers. The City’s legal services initiative ActionNYC continues to provide free, high-quality legal assistance to immigrant New Yorkers.

“In honor of Immigrant Heritage Week, Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) is thrilled to offer free admission all day on Thursday, April 20th,” said MOCA President Nancy Yao Maasbach. “As a proud member of the IDNYC program, MOCA recognizes and welcomes the rich diversity of immigrants’ contributions and values to this nation.”

“Just as much as NYC is a global financial center, it is also a city of small businesses and immigrants. The neighborhoods and the cultural landscape here are inextricably shaped and driven by small enterprises and the unparalleled diversity,” said John Wang, organizer of the Queens International Night Market. “The popularity of the Night Market, which has featured vendors representing over 60 countries in the last two years, is a real testament to the value of immigrants and diversity.”


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