Today kicks off Immigrant Heritage Week, established by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg in 2004.
Bloomberg, a grandson of Russian immigrants, established the week to celebrate the experiences and contributions of immigrants to New York City and the vibrant life stories New Yorkers have to tell.
This year, you can visit the StoryCorps booth in Foley Square from April 11-17 to share your story of coming to America. StoryCorps is a national, nonprofit organization with a mission to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of our lives.
The StoryCorps interviews will provide a unique opportunity for New Yorkers to tell their stories of immigration, and reflect on their families’ journeys and dreams. StoryCorps will record 48 interviews during immigrant Heritage Week at the Foley Square StoryBooth and at the Queens, Brooklyn and New York Public Libraries. These stories, which aim to help build cross-cultural bridges of communication, understanding, and respect among New Yorkers, will be captured in a Digital Tapestry online to display the diverse history of our City’s residents. To make a booth reservation, call 646-723-7027 and mention “Immigrant Heritage Week”. Don’t miss this opportunity to share your story!
In addition, this year the Immigrant Heritage Week will feature One NYC One Nation, a civic engagement initiative for immigrant New Yorkers intended to improve the relationship between city government and immigrants who are often unaware of city services available to them.The programs will focus on various issues involving civic engagement, such as becoming more invovled with their children’s schools, participating in city-run English study programs, help with opening bank accounts, college readiness seminars and financial literary sessions.
The program also seeks to identify a new wave of leaders in immigrant communities who have ideas for reshaping their neighborhoods to better suit the changing populations. The mayor’s office is teaming up with the Coro New York Leadership Center to offer small grants to 20 immigrants, who will receive leadership training and help in creating community development projects. The hope is to cultivate a group of potential leaders to represent communities whose voices are seldom heard.
What were some things you needed help navigating when you first arrived to the United States?