(Above: NECO President, Irma Helene derStepanian with our nine newly naturalized citizens holding up their commendations awarded by NECO.)
In an effort to honor the true spirit of Thanksgiving, the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations-NECO, hosted a pre-Thanksgiving luncheon honoring new Americans in the Great Hall on Ellis Island.
NECO worked closely with two New York immigration advocacy organizations:Immigration Advocacy Services and the New York Immigration Coalition to identify new Americans with compelling and meaningful stories to share.
Recently naturalized Americans from: Serbia, Algeria, Cyprus, Colombia, Cuba, Taiwan, Bolivia, Mali and Antigua and Barbuda, were among those who toured Ellis Island and shared a pre-Thanksgiving lunch as they expressed their gratitude and joy at becoming American citizens.
NECO Chairman, Nasser J. Kazeminy said, "We thought that hosting a gathering of newly naturalized citizens would be a wonderful welcome to America and to our tradition of Thanksgiving. It also perfectly complimented NECO’s message to embrace diversity, foster tolerance and show respect for all of our citizens regardless of race, ethnicity or faith. These 21st Century citizens are part of America’s future and sharing a Thanksgiving meal in the Great Hall was an excellent reminder to all that the American dream remains alive and well."
Some 12 million immigrants passed through Ellis Island during the time of its operation, from 1892 to 1954. Over 100 million Americans, about one-third of the current U.S. population, can trace their ancestry to immigrants who first arrived in America at Ellis Island before dispersing to points all over the country.
Several media outlets joined us for this event, including Darla Miles of Channel 7 WABC-NY, CBS News Radio, NY1 Noticias and other publiciations serving New York’s extensive ethnic communities. Several pictures taken by the Associated Press are below, as well as on our Facebook page which can be veiwed at : www.facebook.com/NECO.org
Links to press:
CBS NewsRadio--audio only
WABC--video that aired Thursday Nov. 19 at 6:00pm
NY1--Spanish Broadcast – Video that aired Thursday, Nov. 19th & 20th