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NYC Mayor Eric Adams Delivers Remarks at Flag Raising Ceremony for South Africa

April 27, 2023

Mayor Eric Adams: Thank you, Ama, and this is the second time we’ve been able to come here to Bowling Green to raise the flag for South Africa and my love and aspiration for the country. I still remember finally the days of driving from Soweto to Port Elizabeth to Joburg to Cape Town and just seeing a beautiful country and what it represents and the spirit and energy that looking out from Robben Island, a place where Nelson Mandela spent 27 years of being in prison and the 29th year of really acknowledging Freedom Day and what it means and what it represents. And, as the country continues to evolve for so many years of being under the grip of apartheid, that shows the resiliency of the country and what it represents. And, I am so proud to say that I am the second African American mayor. Sometimes when I say I am the second African American mayor, we only focus on the American part.

But let’s be clear, I am African. I am African, and we should not allow ourselves to be ripped apart from the success. So, when you look up and you watch me speak and stand on and fight for what is right, something special should come between what you are feeling and our ancestors that lie on the bottom of the ocean floor. This is a proud moment for them because although you can take away the physical presence, the anatomy of our spirits and our heritage and our lineage, it goes throughout time. It doesn’t end and it doesn’t conclude. It is always here, and so you can hear the cries from the Fort Elmina in Ghana, you can hear it from Goree Island outside of Senegal when we visit there in the Door of No Return.

You can hear it from all along the coast, in the shorelines where our African ancestors were ripped apart. We do them a disservice if we allow ourselves to be enslaved, pulled around away from our aunties and our uncles and our nephews and our countries, and then become so modern that we forget that we are related. We are brothers and sisters and aunt and uncles and nieces and nephews of many generations. It’s time for us to reunite ourselves, so that we can realize that we are one African people and we must continue to understand that in this city we lift up all ethnic groups. It doesn’t matter where your origin is, it matters what you bring here in this country, and make sure that we show respect for each other in the process. And what we can’t do, we have to understand, to learn to listen and speak to each other and not heckle each other because it’s about communicating, not disrespecting.

When we communicate with each other, we learn to appreciate each other. When we yell and talk down to each other, we disrespect the heritage of our country. We don’t need anyone to remind us of all the people who are part of this great country called America. We know that. New York City is the home of some of the largest ethnic groups throughout the entire globe. That is what we represent, and no one understands that more than the mayor of the city of New York. Let’s continue to lift flags, let’s lift each other, let’s make sure that we continue to show the greatness of who we are as New Yorkers. So on behalf of the City of New York, I want to give this proclamation. I, Eric Adams, mayor of the City of New York, and African, is saying now, therefore I dedicate today in this proclamation, Thursday, April 27th, 2023, in the City of New York, South African Freedom Day. Congratulations to you.
NYC.gov official video

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