ALBANY – Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris and New York’s Greek-American state legislators introduced a resolution (J.2116) commemorating the anniversary of Greek Independence. March 25th marks the date when Greece declared independence from the Ottoman Empire. In addition to Senator Gianaris, Greek-American Senators Andrew Gounardes and James Skoufis were leaders in advancing the Senate resolution.
Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris said, “As the son of Greek immigrants, I hold very close to my heart the Greek-American experience. This is a wonderful time to recognize the sacrifices of those who came before us and to celebrate the Greek values that have influenced so much of the world.”
Senator Andrew Gounardes said, “As a proud fourth-generation Greek-American, I’m honored to celebrate the Greek Independence Day by making March Greek History Month and highlighting the special role that Hellenism plays in the fabric of our state. On this 201st anniversary of Greece’s independence, it’s important that we honor our legacy while also looking towards the future, and manifesting the important contributions that the Greek community provides to our city. As Greek-Americans, we have an obligation to be active civic participants and to embody the Greek word ‘philoxenia’, meaning love of strangers, that is so ingrained in the Hellenic culture.”
Senator James Skoufis said, “I want to wish the entire Greek diaspora a wonderful Independence Day! As a first-generation Greek-American who has benefited from and now works to uphold the ideals of democracy, I couldn’t be more proud of Greece’s enduring legacy within government, medicine, philosophy, science, and more. When our courageous ancestors took destiny into their own hands two centuries ago, they set the stage for the independent and persevering spirit the diaspora continues to embody today, including the bravery of my own father and grandparents who came to the U.S. to begin anew. I am proud to join my colleagues in co-sponsoring today’s resolution.”
The Greek-American legislators will hold a virtual celebration of Greek heritage on Thursday, March 24 at 6:30 pm. The event will be livestreamed on Senator Gounardes’ Facebook page. The event will recognize Greek-Americans who have contributed substantially to the New York community. The keynote speaker will be Endy Zemenides, Executive Director of the Hellenic American Leadership Council.
Greek Independence Day is a national holiday in Greece, commemorating the start of the Greek War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire in 1821. This year’s occasion marked the 201st anniversary of Greek independence.
Senator Gianaris is the first Greek-American to hold elective office in New York and has been active in promoting stronger relationships between the United States and Greece and, as a first-generation American, improving the experience of new immigrant communities.
To view Senator Gianaris’ speech on the resolution click here.