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Participants in the Celebrate Immigrants event placed the flags of various countries on the art installation "I Love Philly" on June 4. Photo: Jensen Toussaint / AL DÍA News
Participants in the Celebrate Immigrants event placed the flags of various countries on the art installation "I Love Philly" on June 4. Photo: Jensen Toussaint / AL DÍA News

Philadelphians celebrate immigrants in Love Park

On June 3, the city kicked off National Immigrant Heritage Month with an interactive art installation, “I Love Philly,” to showcase where immigrants and their…

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National Immigrant Heritage Month was started in June 2014 to celebrate immigrants and their contributions to the country and Philadelphia has set up 24 events for the month.

On June 3, the city hosted an interactive art installation titled “I Love Philly”  which gave participants the opportunity to place a flag from a country of their heritage. The Office of Immigrant Affairs organized the event in partnership with FWD.us, a bipartisan political organization that works to protect the rights of immigrants.

To start the event, city and community leaders spoke about the importance of immigrants. Miriam Enriquez, the director of the Office of Immigrant Affairs, said she is excited to see people engage with the art installation, which will be up all June, and the message it sends.

“Not only will this send a message of love to all of our immigrant communities, it will also send a message that we want you here, you are welcome here and we are happy that you have chosen Philadelphia as your home.”

Mayor Kenney spoke about how Philadelphia is proud to be a welcoming city for all immigrants.

“We are all proud of being a city that welcomes all regardless of where you came from, when you got here or what language you speak.”

He also spoke of his own family’s experience coming to the country from Ireland because they were starved out of their homeland; at the time, they were undocumented and unwanted immigrants.

Other speakers included Kathryn Ott Lovell, the Commissioner of Parks and Recreation of Philadelphia and Peter Boogaard, the Director of Communications for FWD.us.

Next, the Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers, a Chinese group based in South Philly presented a piece about immigration. The choreographer, Kun-Yang Lin, an immigrant from Taiwan said:

“The piece that we were performing today is called Home S. 9th Street, but actually it's a metaphor exploring the immigrant's journey and then exploring their Americanness and exploring that we are the nation of immigrants.”

Karely Hernandez, regional community director for FWD.us and daughter of immigrants from Mexico, spoke about how the art installation is a way for people to see where immigrants are from.

“What we want to do is we really want to be able to have a visual representation of Immigrants. We really understand and see what immigrants are in Philly so celebrate their heritage,” she said.

Terlenda Lassiter, a first-generation American who parents are from Costa Rica, placed the country’s flag with the phrase “Pura Vida.”

As part of the event, AL DÍA News asked participants what they thought about immigrants. Two high school students provided some hope for children who are in detention facilities in the U.S.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

AL DÍA asked two high school students at the #celebrateimmigrants event if they could tell kids in a detention facility anything, what would it be? (ES) AL DÍA preguntó a dos adolescentes en el evento #celebrateimmigrants que le dirían a los niños en centros de detención para inmigrantes. Este es su mensaje: @juggieprincess (EN) I know it’s tough right now, but you have to stand strong because I believe that the right thing will become what you need and whatever you are going through right now something good will happen. The bad things that are happening, like parents being taken away from or being withheld from them, is something that is horrible and I wouldn’t wish it on anybody and I just want to give you strength through all this. And we love you. (ES) Yo sé que es muy difícil pero necesitas permanecer fuerte porque creo que las cosas buenas se van a dar. Lo que tú necesitas y sin importar lo que sea que estés pasando, algo buena pasará. Las cosas negativas que están sucediendo, como los hijos que no pueden estar con sus padres porque son retenidos, es algo horrible. Yo no sé lo desearía a nadie, solamente quiero darte la fuerza para superar todo esto. Y te amos. . . @zipporahis18 (EN) If you grow up and you get an education, you can make it not just for yourself, but for them and for everybody that you left behind in your hometown and just know that everybody is praying for you. (ES) Si creces y obtienes una educación puede lograr tener una vida mejor. No solamente para ti, para tu familia y todos lo que tuviste que dejar atrás. Solo recuerda que todos están rezando por ti. #celebrateimmigrants #TheNewAmerican

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The event lasted from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. and is one of the many events Philadelphia has to celebrate immigrants this month. Check out the full list here

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