African-Americans in New York City gathered at the Gracie Mansion — the Mayor’s residence to celebrate the second edition of the African Heritage Reception, and to hear how much they mean to America despite Washington’s anti-immigrant agenda.
Mayor Bill de Blasio’s made the reception as warm as possible.
“This is the people’s home. You’re always welcome here,” said Chirlane McCray, the city’s First Lady as she welcome the participants.
Chirlane McCray, New York City First Lady
According to her, all the 50 nations on the African continent were represented at the event which had a packed tent of African communities in New York City.
Identifying with the crowd, First Lady regretted her inability to trace her ancestors to their roots in Africa, though she knew her grandmother by name could have been a Ghanaian though by DNA the old woman was a Cameroonian.
“Does it really matter?” she said.
Crowd shouted “No.”
“What really matters to me is I have family and friends here in New York City who are from all over the countries in Africa,” she told the cheering crowd. “We’re New Yorkers. We are in this together.”
She added that the reception is some sort of reassurance for the people of African descent.
“It’s our way of telling you we have your back.”
Mayor de Blasio couldn’t hide his excitement either as he described the celebration as the best party in New York that night.
He also commended his son, Dante and First Lady, especially her Thrive New York City Initiative for those with mental and emotional disturbances.
New York City Mayor, Bill de Blasio and his son, Dante
To the Mayor, that program and others are the city’s way of saying “thank you” to its African communities.
‘If you want to understand the greatness of America, one of those things you do is visit Africa,” he said.
“You will learn how the traditions and cultures of people brought to America centuries ago, against their will, made us great.”
Then he made a statement he described as very important: America should learn to say thank you to Africa. For the past or present.
He noted he always thinks of Africans when he sees teachers, artistes, entrepreneurs, restaurateurs in New York City.
According to him, African entrepreneurs in the city are training new businesses three times the rate others are doing, making the city stronger, better, and more resilient.
He too has a regret: Washington’s anti-immigrant agenda.
The Mayor described it as a shame ‘Washington’ s making it harder for immigrants to be counted in America—it’s denigrating, discounting immigrants.
But because New York City needs everyone to be counted, de Blasio said the city will be different.
“We will not let them degrade Africans here. We will not let them denigrate immigrants that come in here,” he said.
He made the crowd take a simple oath—that they will make their communities to be counted.
“You are all deputies now,” he declared again, amidst cheers.
To end the program, de Blasio honored Somali-American Iman with a proclamation declaring Sept 26, 2019 as Iman Day.
The historic event, according Mayor Bill De Blasio who made the proclamation, was the first of its type, and it is going to be a permanent mark in the annals of New York City.
New York City is one of the most immigrant-friendly cities in the US.
Watch the full video below.