New York.- Greek and Greek Cypriot Americans recently held a fundraiser reception in support of Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama and running mate Joe Biden. More than 120 people joined the grassroots effort, “New York Greek Americans and Friends for Obama-Biden ʼ08.” The event was held Thursday, September 25, 2008 at the Olympic Tower Atrium Café in New York City. Special guest speaker was Assemblyman Michael Gianaris (D-NY).
The eventʼs highlights included greetings from noted Greek American developer, philanthropist, and Democratic party activist Angelo Tsakopoulos, who said he was very happy and encouraged to see young Greek Americans taking an interest in public affairs. Assemblyman Gianaris told guests that he had spoken to Senator Obama about this event and that Obama was very pleased that this event was another element in the multicultural foundation of this presidential campaign. Obama acknowledged the gifts of Hellenes to mankind and the contributions of Greek Americans in making America the greatest country in the world.
Mr. Gianaris stressed the importance of political activism both for the Greek American community and for America. He shared his personal story of his involvement in the 1988 Michael Dukakis presidential campaign and how that became the springboard for his life in politics. He strongly encouraged supporters to go to key battleground states like Pennsylvania and Florida to campaign for Obama-Biden.
Speaker Dr. Dean Lomis, former Chairman of the American Hellenic Institute (AHI) and friend of Senator Biden highlighted the Obama-Biden support of Greece and Cyprus stressing how as a member of the United States Senate Barack Obama has supported Greek American community positions on Greece and Cyprus. Dr. Lomis detailed Joseph Biden support and leadership on vital issues for more than 30 years. An Obama campaign field organizer in New Jersey, Ted E. Anastasiou also addressed the guests. “I donʼt think it any small coincidence that Greek Americans, whose heritage has contributed so much throughout history and brought about such positive change in this country and the world, are openly receptive to Senator Obama’s campaign for change,” Anastasiou declared.
Fundraiser event hosts Dean Sirigos, Olga Alexakos, co-hosts and chairpersons are leaders and members of numerous Greek American organizations. Event host Jeff Kurzon is affiliated with Armenians for Obama and Obama NYC. Sirigos stated that their purpose was “to show our support for Obama-Biden and their promises of change to make our government more responsive to the needs of its people, to make our people truly secure through a harmony of power and principle, and to better project our values and ideals around the world, especially the bedrock principles of our support for Greece and Cyprus: the rule of law, democracy based on majority rule with minority rights guaranteed, and the peaceful settlement of disputes.”
He also pointed out the need to demonstrate how important it is for Greek American professionals of all ages to take an interest in public affairs, to give us the voice in public affairs that our community needs and deserves.
“We are leaders in every profession and field of endeavor but in public affairs, with only a few bright exceptions, we are not even on the radar. Maybe this event will lead to a flexible and effective network that can be mobilize in times of need to work with the traditional Greek American organizations.”
Dean Sirigos criticized the policies of the various Republican administrations towards Greece and Cyprus.
“Perhaps Iʼm being too blunt, but facts are facts and this is a partisan event—we are democrats. Unless Olympia Snowe is elected President and God knows she would have been a superior vice presidential choice for John McCain, NO republican administration will EVER attempt to create a proper balance in U.S. relations with Greece, Turkey and Cyprus. The godfather of republican national security strategy and foreign policy is Henry Kissinger. We know the role he has played in our history and in the years after he served as Secretary of State he helped to build the Turkish lobby through protégés like Richard Perle and the lobbying firm International advisors.”
Olga Alexakos thanked the guests for attending “the wonderful and important opportunity for New York area Greek Americans to rally for an Obama-Biden ticket and to make a vital contribution to this important campaign.” Alexakos and Sirigos thanked several benefactors for their generosity and support including Dr. Ana Maria Trilliouris, Sultana Glyptis Rehnberg, The Lekas family, Michael and Alice Halkias,of the Grand Prospect Hall, Nick Tsoulos and Nick Pashalis of Avra Estiatorio, Dino and Vasilios Bakakos of the Lafayette Grill and Bar, Stella and Sam Catechis of Stellar Importing, and Gus Theodoro of Gusʼs Place. Future events will be announced on the web site: nygreekamericansforobama.com.
Featured speakers were introduced by Mistress of Ceremonies Dorothy Poli. The evening concluded wilth a musical performance by Blue Note recording guitarist Spiros Exaras accompanied by vocalist Fay.