Mayor of the City of New York, Bill de Blasio, proclaimed Aug. 29, 2017 Cicely Tyson Day, and bestowed a Proclamation on the iconic actress, on the same day the politician hosted a lavish reception at Gracie Mansion to honor West Indian and Caribbean American Heritage, and kick-off WIADCA 50th carnival parade on Eastern Parkway.
Calling Tyson an extraordinary actress whose extraordinary work on-screen and stage spans sixty plus years, and many times a trailblazer, opening doors for hundreds of thousands of actors and actresses, de Blasio described Tyson, as a wonderful person. He lauded the youthful looking 92-year Tyson for the many accolades she has received.
Winner of Tony, Emmy, Academy, Golden Globe Awards, and a Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama, among many others, Tyson, whose parents were Nevis natives, was called the greatest actresses to ever grace the stage of Gracie Mansion.
“I represent 8 ½ million people and sometimes I get to speak on their behalf, so I declare today, Aug. 29, 2017 Cicely Tyson Day,” said the politician.
Elegantly dressed, Tyson waved to an adoring crowd who responded with loud applause, as the adorable Hollywood superstar came to the stage to accept her proclamation. The stunning thespian who has shined in memorable roles in movies Sounder, Miss Jane Pittman, and in Broadway’s Moon on a Rainbow Shawl, and many other plays, expressed how grateful she was to her parents who took her to every West Indian event when she was growing up.
“I wish my mother was here. I came here though a mother and father from the island of Nevis. I spent my entire life steeped in West Indian culture, and there was never a time when I didn’t attend a West Indian function with my family. I listened to ever single West Indian calypso, quipped Tyson, who maintained a lovely smile throughout her time on the platform.
“The next three generations of my family can tell you everything about taking pride in being a West Indian, said the award-winning actress who said it is important in knowing why you are here, and why you were placed on earth to perform. People wonder why I am here so long. I wonder my self why I am here so long, mused the actress who said she is the sole member of her immediate family alive, adding that God has her here for a reason, and she is willing to stay.
She thanked the audience for their support, saying it is boundless. “It keeps me going. I am grateful,” she added.
Mayor de Blasio welcomed nationals saying, “it may be cold and rainy outside, but it is warm under this tent. He joked that he was the only member of his family without Caribbean roots, but eats as much roti as he can, and never pass up a chance to eat jerk chicken, adding that there is much to love about the Caribbean culture.
“This is the time of year when we focus our time on New York City, the greatest city in the world and this city would not be the greatest city, were it not for the greatest Caribbean community in the world. “If you like the life, energy, creativity, say thanks to the Caribbean that has given us so much, said de Blasio who proclaimed his love of the islands, but says he gave a special thanks to Barbados and St. Lucia for sending him, “the love of my life.”
“We should appreciate the fact that my wife, single-handedly helped people in this city with mental health issues,” said the mayor, who, during the frivolity, paused for a moment of silence for those who were lost, and those who are suffering as a result of the devastating hurricane Harvey in Texas. He noted that the City of New York sent 120 emergency personnel, and 75,000 meals to help the people of that state.
The politician then acknowledged elected officials of Caribbean heritage who stood behind him on the stage, by calling out their names to express thanks for their outstanding service to their communities.
Deputy Mayor Richard Buery, Sen. Kevin Parker, Dr. Roy Hastick, Dr. Una Clarke, New York’s first African-American District Attorney, Darcel Clark, and many others, before acknowledging foreign dignitaries in the audience.
He then reminded the crowd that New York is the safest big city in America, with historic job creation, thanking small business, the NYPD and immigrants, stating that there are more immigrants in NYC, than “we have had in 100 years.”
“Thanks to our immigrant brothers and sister who have helped us achieve all of this,” said the mayor taking a jab at Washington DC, saying some people live in large houses and they are suggesting that immigrants make us less safe and take away our jobs.
“We have shown this country and the world that we live together and respect everyone. We are proud to celebrate the Caribbean diaspora and what they contribute. When I think of the immigrant community, I see strength, resilience, entrepreneurship, creativity; everything we want in this city and no one will take that from us. We have pride in who we are as immigrants and New Yorkers, and that is what we will be celebrating on Eastern Parkway in a few days. I will see you there bright and early, concluded the politician.