Brooklyn Heights

4th annual International Friendship Day celebrates Brooklyn’s rich heritage

August 8, 2017 By Francesca Norsen Tate, Religion Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The Unity Parade of Flags makes its way to Borough Hall Plaza. Eagle photos by Francesca N. Tate
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Declaring “We are one Brooklyn!” people from more than 80 countries carried their national standards in the Unity Parade of Flags that launched the fourth annual International Day of Friendship in Brooklyn, one of the most diverse parts of the United States.

Borough President Eric L. Adams organized International Day of Friendship in conjunction with the United Nations’ celebration of the same name, which is held on the first Sunday of August each year.

The Unity Parade of Flags participants represented countries ranging from Armenia to Uruguay and Zimbabwe. Chinese dragon dancers and stilt walkers headed the procession. Participants at the close of the parade route then linked hands in a symbolic circle of friendship around the “People’s House.”

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For the first time, this event presented a Global Village, including tents from countries around the world showcasing their cultures, cuisines and customs.

Visitors enjoyed an interactive experience in each of these tents to feel, hear, and see unique cultural artifacts and stories. NY1 News’ anchor and Brooklyn reporter Jeanine Ramirez moderated “Brooklyn Fusion: A Cultural Conversation.”

Panelists Jeffrey Ulysse (U.S.) represented the Americas, Justa Lujwangana represented Tanzania in Africa, Hasiba Haq represented Pakistan in Asia, Wisblaude Thermidor represented Haiti in the Caribbean, Kate Burns represented Ireland in Europe and Bridget Callaghan represented Australia in Oceania.

Ramirez moderated a robust dialogue featuring various immigrant New Yorkers offering their perspectives on how they have kept their culture alive, while assimilating to American life. All five panelists agreed that Thanksgiving is one of their favorite holidays, but varied in how they customize traditional American foods like turkey with their own flavors.

International Day of Friendship marks the signature event in BP Adams’ “Embrace Your Hyphen” campaign that encourages Americans to honor their diversity.  Participants will emphasize the importance of multiculturalism in Brooklyn and its central place as a founding pillar of America.


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