Stewart Hotel, New York, USA, March 15, 2023 – Stewart Hotel, Ballroom, New York, USA, Mayor Eric Adams, Brodsky Family, asylum seekers, Estrellita B. Brodsky, Daniel Brodsky, City Council Member, Erik Bottcher, Ted Long, NYC Health + Hospitals. Photo: Luiz Rampelotto/EuropaNewswire
New York, March 15, 2023
Mayor Eric Adams: Thank you. Thank you so much. Really, I think we could just do what the children say, we could just drop the mic right now because you just laid it out. And you have to ask the question of why in New York do we have families like the Brodsky family? Why do we have people like Councilman Bottcher? Because I know it’s lost on us, but Lady Liberty sits in our harbor. New York City is the welcoming mat for the entire globe. And if you trace back any family of what was just talked about as something every family in this city and country can identify with. As we celebrate St. Patrick Day in a few days, go read the story of the early Irish and how organizations came together. We had Brodsky families of that generation that dedicated and donated items to help them during the difficult times.
Our early Italians that came here and what they went through living in different environments that were not suitable to raise families, but they found ways to do so. The Caribbean diaspora, South, Central America, you go family by family. I say it all the time, if you look under the fingernails of every ethnic group in this country, you’ll see the dirt and grime of climbing up the mountain of opportunity one hand at a time to participate in an American dream. That is what makes us great.
The UN is in New York. Diversity is our signature and our secret and most potent weapon. And we’re asking people to do what the Brodsky family’s doing. Just do a little, just do a little. When you add those little things together, 2,500 books with 10 families also doing 2,500 books go from 2,500 to 25,000. We have 8.5 million people in this city. If we just dedicate one hour a week or do one action, we will solve many of the problems that we are facing. And then if we just become just like our councilman, instead of saying, “No, not here,” we should be saying, “Yes, here.” This is where we are going to make sure that we’re the most benevolent part of the city.
You have been amazing, councilman. It has been a real challenge as we opened over 100 emergency shelters, nine HERRCs. Over 50,000 people added onto the over 35,000 we had already in one year. We go across the country, no one is doing it like New York, no one. Not only are we meeting our moral and legal responsibility of making sure people have a place to sleep, we’re making sure they have healthcare, their children are in school, we’re making sure they receive mental health support. And we’re around the clock.
You see the deputy mayor on the subway system, inside the HERRCs, visiting places 24 hours of the day because we know how important this is. As a woman whose family came from Trinidad, she knows what it is to come to a foreign soil and hope that you are received with a level of dignity and humanity that you deserve. This is all of our story. These young people who we are using these books for today will be standing in front of a podium one day telling their story, just like the commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, who’s a dreamer. Came here from Mexico with his mother, hoping one day to participate in government. Now, he’s in charge of how we treat our immigrants. That’s the American story. That’s the American narrative.
And so I’m happy to be here today and thank the Brodsky family. They are representatives of families all across this city that are volunteering and stepping up like these volunteers here. They’re here to help out their fellow New Yorkers. So I say to you and everyone who’s out there, it’s like the person that sat down for a portrait and he had a scar on his face and he told the artist, “I know I have a scar, but I have a face.” Let’s not focus on the scar of New York, let’s focus on the faces. And those faces overwhelmed the scar. That is our story.
And so to your family, thank you so much for really being the spirit of who we are as a country. And these books are going to go to the young people. And if we don’t remember anything today, we should remember what you stated. We saw busloads of children that were traumatized, had frowns, that were robbed of the innocence of childhood. Now, they board school buses with smiles on their faces, doing things that children do. I’m always told that I’m a perpetual third grader and those children are living out the dream of being children. After coming from a place of despair and trauma, New York is here to heal them. Thank you to the entire team.
Long: Thank you, sir. And as we’re here now, as you can hear in the background, you can hear children laughing outside. Just before we started here, a little girl came up to me and asked if she could take one of the books on the table here. She gave me the brightest smile, made her day, made my day too. So with that, the people responsible for all of this, the Brodsky family, and I think Estrelita, I’m going to introduce you first.
Estrelita Brodsky: Thank you. Actually, I wrote my talk in Spanish, but I see that [speaks in Spanish]. And my story is very much as the mayor described. My parents came from Venezuela and Uruguay, had basic education, didn’t speak English. I grew up speaking Spanish at home. When I got to public school, PS 87, I only spoke Spanish, but learned English from the school and from cartoons, sorry. [Laughter.]
In effect, they came here looking for a better life for their daughters and they succeeded to a point that they gave us each a fantastic education. And I think the importance of books in particular is that it allows us to share those emotions, to grow as people and to imagine who we can be that when we read a book such as the ones that we have here, bilingual, I know these kids will be reading the English part much more quickly than their parents because us old folks don’t learn languages as quickly. But I think through hard work and the education that New York City can provide and this openness to international communities that they will succeed. They’ll be able to follow their dreams, but they have to work hard. And that’s where I’m a tough mother and grandmother. But anyway, so thank you, Mr. Mayor. Thank you, deputy mayor. Thank you, councilman. And thank you for everybody here. [Speaks in Spanish.]
Mayor Adams: Gracias.
Long: Thank you.
Daniel Brodsky: The books, I was thinking that Estrelita, with our kids, we always had to read a book before they went to sleep. And then she tells our children with our grandchildren, you have to read a book to them. And some of those books, you’ve read them over so many times, you memorize them, they become wonderful books that you still remember, you talk to your children about and your grandchildren about. So books are great, but we wanted to thank Mayor Adams, Council Member Bottcher, and Dr. Long in New York City — Dr. Long of New York City Health and Hospitals for the city’s outstanding effort in caring for the families who were seeking asylum in our country.
Our nation and our city have always been improved by immigrants who bring boundless energy, motivation, and fresh ideas to this enduring land of opportunity. And my grandparents came here in the early 20th century. It’s for that very reason that we must do better. Our leaders at the federal level need to act and make it a priority to ensure our immigration system works better for these families, for the cities and for the collective future of our country.
As a lifelong New Yorker, my wife, Estrelita, are proud that our city continues to be a beacon of hope for people facing challenges all over the world. The children and the families now in the city’s care are our newest neighbors and we welcome them. Providing these books is one very small way our family felt it could honor the promise enshrined in the base of the Statue of Liberty. It is our wish that these books will provide moments of healing and inspiration as these families work to establish new lives in our new land. Estrelita and I also wanted to thank the Barnes & Nobles who helped put together all of these books in a very short time. So thank you.
Mayor Adams: Thank you.
SOURCE: CityHall, Mayor Eric Adams Office. Photo: EuropaNewswire