Astoria, NY.- Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, Senator Michael Gianaris, Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas, and Councilman Costa Constantinides hosted an annual Greek Independence Day Celebration at the Archdiocesan Hellenic Cultural Center in Astoria, on Friday, March 13. Nearly 200 New Yorkers came together to celebrate Queens’ Greek heritage and Greek Independence Day and honor local leaders. Public Advocate Tish James was also in attendance.
The honorees were:
Emanuel Dritsas, Parish Council President of St. Demetrios
John Kaiteris, Executive Director/CEO of HANAC
Joanna Phillips, Local business owner and philanthropist
Dennis Syntilas (Posthumous award)
“Each year we come together to celebrate the contributions Greek-Americans have made in shaping Queens, and each year it seems like we have even more to celebrate,” said Senator Michael Gianaris. “I am proud of how much our community has done to make New York an even better place to live, and that work is personified in our honorees. I extend my thanks to everyone who joined us for this celebration of Greek heritage in Queens.”
The Greek people, including Greek Americans living in the Borough of Queens, have made tremendous contributions to society in numerous fields, including the arts, philosophy, business and government. On behalf of the 2.3 million residents of ‘The World’s Borough,’ I am honored to co-sponsor this Greek Independence Day celebration with my distinguished friends and colleagues in government,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz.
“I was proud to celebrate the 194th anniversary of Greek Independence with my colleagues and neighbors here in Astoria, the center of the Hellenic diaspora in America. These celebrations offer a chance to reflect upon the democratic ideals that bind Greece and America together as lands of liberty,” said Assemblymember Aravella Simotas. “As we mourn the passing of Dennis Syntilas, it is important to recognize him and other Greek-Americans who have contributed their efforts and talents to strengthen our community and our nation.”
Council Member Costa Constantinides said, “I was proud to join in honoring four great individuals at our Greek Independence Celebration. They have promoted Hellenic and Democratic values, and have been great examples of civic engagement and responsibility throughout our community. I commend our honorees and their families for their community service contributions. I thank our co-hosts Borough President Melinda Katz, Senator Michael Gianaris, and Assemblymember Aravella Simotas, as well as all who attended our celebration.”
NYS ASSEMBLY RESOLUTION
Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas introduced a resolution in the New York State Assembly memorializing Governor Andrew M. Cuomo to proclaim March 2015 as Greek History Month in the State of New York, in conjunction with the commemoration of the 194th Anniversary of Greek
WHEREAS, The year 2015 will mark the 194th Anniversary of Greek Independence; and
WHEREAS, This Independence was won on March 25, 1821, when the people of Greece were released from nearly four centuries of rule by the Ottoman Empire under the leadership of the heroic Theodoros Kolokotronis; and
WHEREAS, Under Kolokotronis’s leadership, the people of Greece formally declared their sovereignty, ending a hard-fought 11-year war which finally secured their freedom and garnered recognition as a sovereign country; and
WHEREAS, Throughout history, the Greek people have continuously exhibited this enduring sense of bravery in rising up against oppressors; with Winston Churchill noting in a famed World War II speech that “Until now we used to say that the Greeks fight like heroes. Now we shall say: The heroes fight like Greeks.”; and
WHEREAS, Ancient Greece has shaped modern society by originating the concepts of Logic, Science, Lyrics, Philosophy, and History as well as being the birthplace of democratic ideals, inspiring the notion of participation in government which influenced the framing of the United States Constitution; and
WHEREAS, Greece has continued to enrich our culture in the fields of literature, philosophy and architecture, and has promoted the modern Olympic Games, hosting the first in 1896 and most recently in 2004; we also honor Greek-Americans in New York who have improved our community, shown love for family, and shared with us their traditions to learn and celebrate; and
WHEREAS, The great State of New York has been blessed in many ways, including through the presence of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America; it serves as a beacon of moral and ethical guidance throughout the hemisphere from its Manhattan headquarters; and
WHEREAS, The State of New York is further enhanced by its long-standing partnership with the Federation of Hellenic-American Societies, which continues its tradition of strong leadership within the Greek-American community; and
WHEREAS, It is the sense of this Legislative Body to recognize those New Yorkers of Hellenic descent for their enduring contributions to the educational, social, moral and economic principles that are so deeply ingrained in the fabric of our country and State; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That this Legislative Body pause in its deliberations to memorialize Governor Andrew M. Cuomo to proclaim March 2015 as Greek History Month in the State of New York, in conjunction with the commemoration of the 194th Anniversary of Greek Independence, and to publicly encourage the citizens of New York to reflect upon the contributions of the Greek community; and be it further RESOLVED, That copies of this Resolution, suitably engrossed, be transmitted to The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor of the State of New York, and His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church of America.