Gianaris & NY’s Greek-American Legislators Intro Resolution on Bicentennial

ALBANY – New York State Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris and New York’s Greek-American state legislators on March 23 introduced a resolution commemorating the 200th anniversary of Greek Independence. March 25th marks the date when Greece declared independence from the Ottoman Empire. In addition to Senator Gianaris, Greek-American state legislators include Senator Andrew Gounardes, Senator James Skoufis, Senator Daphne Jordan, Assembly Member John Lemondes, and Assembly Member Michael Tannousis.

Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris said, “As the son of Greek immigrants myself, I hold very close to my heart the immigrant experience. This is a wonderful occasion to recognize the sacrifices of those who came before us and to celebrate the values of our Greek heritage. The shared experience of our diverse immigrant neighbors who call New York home is one we should all appreciate.”

Senator Andrew Gounardes said, “As a proud fourth-generation Greek-American, I'm honored to celebrate the Greek Independence Day by making March Greek History Month and highlighting the special role that Hellenism plays in the fabric of our state. On this 200th anniversary of Greece’s independence, it’s important that we honor our legacy while also looking towards the future, and manifesting the important contributions that the Greek community provides to our city. As Greek-Americans, we have an obligation to be active civic participants and to embody the Greek word ‘philoxenia’, meaning love of strangers, that is so ingrained in the Hellenic culture.”

Senator James Skoufis said, "I join my colleagues and the entire Greek diaspora in celebrating Greece's 200 years of independence. Greece's enduring legacy includes democracy, medicine, philosophy, science, and the Olympics – and, today, we commemorate our courageous ancestors who broke their Ottoman shackles to give birth to modern Greece. As a first-generation Greek-American whose father and grandparents came to the United States to begin a new life, I'm a proud member of the diaspora and proud co-sponsor of today's New York State Senate resolution.”

Senator Daphne Veras Jordan said, “This year marks the 200th anniversary of Greece’s independence, a true milestone that I am proud to celebrate and honor with my Senate colleagues, millions of Greeks, and so many Greek Americans. March 25 – Greek Independence Day – commemorates the start of the War of Greek Independence in 1821, a day of history and destiny for the nation. As a second generation Greek American, I’m incredibly proud of my family’s connection to Greece where our roots run deep and strong. My father’s parents hailed from Mytilene and Evia, and my mother’s parents were from Skoura and Kastania. My father’s full name was ‘Democritos Demitri Venizelos Veras.’ His name ‘Democritos’ recognizes the notion of Democracy so long rooted in Greek history. The significance of ‘Venizelos’ is because Sophocles Venizelos, the Prime Minister of Greece at that time, christened my father and was his Godfather. My grandfather was a key figure in the creation and construction of the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation in Scranton in 1926 and our family proudly carried forward all of our time-honored, beloved Greek culture, traditions, and values. I’m proud to support our bipartisan resolution observing Greek Independence Day, and I thank my colleague Senator Gianaris for sponsoring this important measure honoring our proud heritage.”

Assembly Member Michael Tannousis said, “It is a great honor to have the opportunity to introduce this resolution to the Assembly. As the proud son of Greek immigrants, this resolution hits close to home. This year marks the 200th anniversary of brave and gallant Greeks coming together to defeat their Ottoman oppressors and ushering in a new age of Greek civilization. I am proud to introduce this resolution to recognize March 2021 as Greek History Month in the State of New York and will always seize the opportunity to share the celebration of Greek Independence Day with my friends and colleagues.”

Assemblyman John Lemondes said, “I am proud to support legislation that sees Greek Independence recognized in New York. As an active member of the Greek-American community, I know how much this will mean to my fellow Greeks who have worked hard to prosper in America while maintaining our cultural heritage. Syncharitíria!”

Deputy Leader Gianaris will join Senator Andrew Gounardes, Senator James Skoufis, Senator Daphne Jordan, Assembly Member Michael Tannousis, and Assembly Member John Lemondes for a virtual celebration of Greek heritage on March 24, 6:30 PM. It will be livestreamed on Senator Gounardes’ Facebook page.  The event will recognize Greek-Americans who have contributed substantially to the New York community. The guest of honor is His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America.

Greek Independence Day is a national holiday in Greece, commemorating the start of the Greek War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire in 1821. This year’s occasion marked the 200th anniversary of Greek independence.

Senator Gianaris is the first Greek-American to hold elective office in New York and has been active in promoting stronger relationships between the United States and Greece and, as a first-generation American, improving the experience of new immigrant communities.

The full resolution is included below and available online: https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/resolutions/2021/j505.

Senator Gianaris’ speech on the resolution is available on YouTube: https://youtu.be/_BIRI61hOr0.

Senate Resolution No. 505


MEMORIALIZING Governor Andrew M. Cuomo to proclaim

March 2021, as Greek History Month in the State of

New York, in conjunction with the commemoration of

the 200th Anniversary of Greek Independence

WHEREAS, The year 2021 marks the 200th Anniversary of Greek

Independence; and

WHEREAS, The Greek people proudly trace their heritage back

thousands of years in Europe, where they developed an advanced

civilization unlike any the world had yet seen; and

WHEREAS, Upon the fall of the City of Constantinople in 1453, the

Greek people began almost four centuries under foreign rule in the

Ottoman Empire; and

WHEREAS, In March 1821, the yearning for Greek independence inspired

multiple militias to engage in battles against the Ottoman Empire

including an incursion into Moldavia led by Alexandros Ypsilantis, and

various skirmishes in the Peloponnese, and on several islands; and

WHEREAS, On March 25, 1821, Bishop Germanos of Patras raised the

Greek flag at the Monastery of Agia Lavra in the Peloponnese, marking

the beginning of the war for independence; and

WHEREAS, In January 1822, the Greeks officially declared

independence from the Ottoman Empire; and

WHEREAS, The Greeks valiantly waged war against their Ottoman rulers

under the brave leadership of Theodoris Kolokotronis for almost nine

years until a part of modern Greece was declared independent; and

WHEREAS, The war of independence was formally concluded in 1832 with

the signing of the Treaty of Constantinople, further expanding the

borders of a modern, independent Greek state; and

WHEREAS, March 25th is celebrated as Independence Day in Greece and

in Greek communities around the world, commemorating the beginning of

the war of independence; and

WHEREAS, Throughout history, the Greek people have exhibited an

enduring sense of bravery in rising up against oppressors; with Winston

Churchill noting in a famed World War II speech that "Until now we used

to say that the Greeks fight like heroes. Now we shall say: The heroes

fight like Greeks"; and

WHEREAS, Ancient Greece has shaped modern society by originating the

concepts of Logic, Science, Lyrics, Philosophy, and History as well as

being the birthplace of democratic ideals, inspiring the notion of

participation in government which influenced the framing of the United

States Constitution; and

WHEREAS, Greece has continued to enrich our culture in the fields of

literature, philosophy and architecture, and has promoted the modern

Olympic Games, hosting the first in 1896 and most recently in 2004; we

also honor Greek-Americans in New York who have improved our community,

shown love for family, and shared with us their traditions to learn and

celebrate; and

WHEREAS, The great State of New York has been blessed in many ways,

including through the presence of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of

America; it serves as a beacon of moral and ethical guidance throughout

the hemisphere from its Manhattan headquarters; and

WHEREAS, The State of New York is further enhanced by its

long-standing partnership with the Federation of Hellenic-American

Societies, which continues its tradition of strong leadership within the

Greek-American community; and

WHEREAS, It is the sense of this Legislative Body to recognize those

New Yorkers of Hellenic descent for their enduring contributions to the

educational, social, moral and economic principles that are so deeply

ingrained in the fabric of our country and State; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That this Legislative Body pause in its deliberations to

memorialize Governor Andrew M. Cuomo to proclaim March 2021, as Greek

History Month in the State of New York, in conjunction with the

commemoration of the 200th Anniversary of Greek Independence, and to

publicly encourage the citizens of New York to reflect upon the

contributions of the Greek community; and be it further

RESOLVED, That copies of this Resolution, suitably engrossed, be

transmitted to The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor of the State of

New York; and His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Primate of the Greek

Orthodox Church of America.


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