It was a splendid day for hundreds of Brooklynites of all cultures and creed, to celebrate the third Annual International Day of Friendship which brought together thousands of expatriates who speak 90 languages and a taste of the nations.
Thanks to the initiative of Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams, many others lined the streets to watch representatives carry colorful flags from around the world, accompanied by Kaisokan Moko Jumbies, and Stilt Walkers from Tropicalfete Inc, as nationals showed pride and enjoyment at the day of friendship.
Borough President Adams who led the parade stepped from behind his banner and greeted excited marchers.
The parade, which began at 1 pm at the Fulton Mall, made its way along Fulton Avenue with participants carrying flags from 195 countries ended at Borough Hall tarmac, to loud applause from audience members who sat on the stairs of the municipal building. The event included an action-packed cultural festival of dance, music and presentations.
Set against the backdrop of flags, which decorated the garden of Borough Hall Park, from the Caribbean, Europe, Asia, Africa and other continents, the cultural performances provided a unique blend of tradition, leading off, with a song about Brooklyn performed by the Children’s Theatre Inc.
The pulsating energy of the Chief Joseph Chatoyer Dance Company’s traditional Garfuna dance, James Lovel’s Arfi Garafuna Jazz music followed by the rhythms of Tribute to Africa by the Madison Square Boys and Girls Club, all thrilled the audience.
Chief Program Office, Sandra Chapman who ensured that the program ran smoothly, showcased St. Nicks Alliance — a tribute to Sierra Leone, and dances from the Crane Georgian Culture Center which presented Acharuli, Kazbeguri and Mtiuluri and an Indian Garba Dance from Aeilushi Misty.
Dressed in vivid costumes, artists of the Asia segment such as Aziz Peerazasda’s traditional Pakistani folk songs, JennyLuna & Dolunay’s Turkish songs and Rhythm Tolee -Punjabi Dance, were all delightful.
The diversity of the celebrants rang true, as many like Tropical Image Dance Company that spiced up the evening with a superb Salsa, Mambo, Bachata.
Irka Malero in turn, presented her traditional blend of instruments and vocal from the Dominican Republic.
Eva Salina presented the history of the Balkan music and dance, before Kaine Quenga engaged the audience in a Hula dance lesson.
Borough President Adams, whose celebration focused on unity and combating violence, delighted in the presentation, stating that the day was very important.
He reflected that America is great because it permits expats to love their mother country and love their adopted America.
“We do not encourage abandonment of your heritage. We are great not because of our individuality, but because of the coming together of two entities making one.”
“If we do not use that ‘hyphen’ that connects us, we would take away from our uniqueness of our product in America. Do not worry what anyone say that we must ‘out trump trump’ and let him know America is the home of the brave and the land of the free,” said Adams, to loud applause.
Adams spoke of immigrants who flee persecution to come to America to enjoy the American dream.
“All groups had to undergo some form of discrimination to get here. If you look under the nails of every ethnic group, you would see the dirt and grime from climbing up the mountain of hope and prosperity and the hope of the American dream one hand at a time.”
Adams noted that immigrants must not blame themselves for the hardship they undergo; “America takes time to get used to for new arrivals.”
“Trust me when I say, we will always have a welcome mat for every group that wants to make this place their home,” adding, “when the bombs burst in the air, our flags will still be there. We will continue to be a great nation.”
Adams, who marched arm in arm with members of the Muslim faith, said, “today we use this day of friendship to highlight our men of the military of the Muslim faith, who defend our country abroad and in the police force at home.”
“Great Americans are not defined by their ethnicity, but by their patriotism to love this country,” he added, before thanking three Muslims.
The politician later joined costume-dressed nationals, Deputy Borough President Diana Reyna — the first Latino to hold that post, and other staff to sing famed unity song: “We Are The world.”