“Weaving a Tapestry of Us”: NYC Celebrates Immigrant Heritage Week
By Meg Pierce, Policy and Communications Advisor, Mayor’s Office for International Affairs
The City of New York is the ultimate city of immigrants. With a total population of 8.5 million, NYC is home to 3.1 million immigrants, the largest number in the City’s history. Immigrant New Yorkers speak over 200 languages, own over half of our small businesses, and are integral to NYC’s ability to thrive.
Recognizing the significant contributions immigrants make to our economy, society, and culture, NYC has long been a champion for the rights of immigrants and refugees. Our city continues to affirm its commitment to the international dialogue around migration, including being a strong advocate for the Global Compact for Migration and the Global Compact on Refugees adopted by the United Nations last year.
Each year, New York City holds a week-long celebration of our collective immigrant heritage — Immigrant Heritage Week (IHW). This year marks the 15th annual IHW celebration, which kicks off on Monday, April 15, and runs through Sunday, April 21.
Organized by the NYC Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA), the week celebrates the legacy of April 17, 1907, a day when 11,000 immigrants entered the United States through Ellis Island. More immigrants arrived to the United States via Ellis Island on April 17, 1907 than any other day in history.
IHW includes free and low-cost public events that build cross-cultural understanding between New Yorkers, and celebrates the histories, unique cultures and myriad contributions of New York City’s immigrant communities.
Through panel discussions, educational forums and workshops, cultural programming and community conversations, the week seeks to empower all New Yorkers to celebrate our city’s great diversity.
The 2019 IHW theme is “Immigrant New York: Weaving a Tapestry of Us.” This year, MOIA solicited theme submissions from the public for the first time. Theme submissions were accepted in multiple languages, in line with MOIA’s mission to promote immigrant inclusion and equity. Those submitting theme suggestions were encouraged to include their own personal interpretations of the relationship between immigration and the identity of NYC.
The contest winner — Luisa Maxine Sanchez — is the daughter of proud Garifuna parents who immigrated from Honduras and settled in Harlem 50 years ago. Sanchez worked closely with fellow immigrant New Yorker Eugenia Mello, an illustrator and graphic designer, to design this year’s theme name and logo.
During IHW and every day of the year, NYC is proud to stand with our neighbors. This week is not only an opportunity to celebrate our diversity, but also to reaffirm our commitment to our city values of fairness, inclusion and cooperation.
For more info on IHW, and to view the calendar of public events, click here.