SAN FRANCISCO, CA – City Hall in San Francisco will be lit in the colors of the Greek flag in honor of the 200th anniversary of the start of the Greek War of Independence on March 25, Taso Zografos, President of the United Hellenic American Societies of Northern California (UHAS), told The National Herald via email on February 24.
“We got the Greek flag to be flown at City Hall for five days straight and City Hall to be lit up on March 25,” Zografos said, adding that the effort was on behalf of and to show support for the “new” Consul General of Greece in San Francisco Socrates Sourvinos who began his tenure in October 2020.
Meron Foster, Senior Protocol Officer at the San Francisco Mayor's Office, confirmed the details via email that City Hall would be lit in blue and white on March 25, and the Greek flag flown March 24-29. Foster also noted that a City Proclamation commemorating the day will also be sent to the Consul General the week before the celebration of 2021 Greek Heritage Week.
When asked how long the process took, Zografos told TNH, “The planning process took around 30 days (4 weeks) to work with local government staff to coordinate for the flag raising – in support of and collaboration with the Office of the Consul General of Greece in San Francisco, Socrates Sourvinos.”
He continued, “Typically, a City likes to receive a formal request from the Consulate, and under normal conditions and circumstances, such requests are routinely accommodated without much need for local community additional support. However, under the pandemic, as most government employees are working remotely, getting access to City staff and communications with them is and has been challenging. We were able to leverage our long established and maintained positive relationships with City staff to get special accommodations for our request.”
“Persistence and perseverance paid off – along with collaboration and teamwork with the Consul General,” Zografos said.
About the pandemic's effect on the how the 200th anniversary of Greek Independence will be celebrated by the Hellenic community in Northern California, Zografos told TNH, “Yes, the pandemic has affected our ability to fully celebrate as we have in the past, but on a positive note has also forced us to explore new methods and ways to celebrate. For example we are working on a plan to also have the S.F. Ferry Building, the top of the Salesforce Building, and the Santa Monica Pacific Ferris Wheel, and other City Halls, and significant landmarks also illuminated in Greek Blue and White which is something new that we had not pursued in the past.”
Zografos said, “Another example is that while UHAS was focused on Northern California in the past, we are now actively collaborating with organizations across the entire State of California to work together as a United California Greek Community. We continue to adapt under challenging times and evolve for the betterment of our Greek community and to continue to preserve our Greek culture, heritage, and traditions. To paraphrase a quote from Kolokotronis, we have experienced many challenges over time, but, here we are, still alive and thriving.”