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AHEPA: Past, Present, and Future

On April 2, 2015, our newspaper celebrated its 100th anniversary. More than 40 of those years under my personal responsibility.

Although seven years have passed since then, I remember very clearly the awe that came over me when I realized the magnitude of the phenomenon.

AHEPA is now celebrating its 100th anniversary.

This is no small thing. On the contrary, it is another triumph of American Hellenism. It is prime proof of the determination to integrate into U.S. society, but not to discard Greek identity.

AHEPA’s mission has changed since 1922, when a handful of immigrants met in Atlanta and founded this organization to protect themselves from discrimination and violence.

Who were these people? It is good, it is a matter of duty, to know their names (I take them from an AHEPA entry in our English edition The National Herald, dated July 16-22).

Harry Angelopoulos and John Angelopoulos, who were likely brothers as were George Campbell and James Campbell, Nicholas D. Chotas, George A. Polos, S. J. Stamos, and James Vlass. As we can see, they had already Americanized their names.

As noted by the contributor to our English edition, Professor Alexander Kitroeff, who wrote a book for the 100th anniversary of AHEPA, one of the reasons for its success is its ability to adapt and face its problems.

We also see this from the fact that having long ago achieved its goal of Americanizing its members, it is now undertaking the opposite effort to Hellenize them and develop a closer relationship with Greece.

It would be helpful if they dared to play an even more leading role in the Greek-American community.
This is now AHEPA’s great challenge.

And its next great opportunity.


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