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Marking Immigrant Heritage Week

Many New York City government agencies spend a good part of the year working with immigrants, given that 37 percent of the city’s population is foreign-born. But with April 15 marking the start of Immigrant Heritage Week in New York, a slew of immigrant-related announcements were made.

NYC Health + Hospitals President and CEO Mitchell Katz, MD, with Immigrant Affairs Commissioner Bitta Mostofi, took the occasion to reiterate that the city stands ready to offer health care to all New Yorkers, regardless of their immigration status, and to keep their immigration status private. They reissued in 14 languages an open letter to that effect – a letter which most recently had been reissued in September 2018.

The letter states in part:

Do not be afraid to go to the doctor, the clinic, the hospital, or the emergency room.
All immigrants can get medical care in New York City, regardless of immigration status or ability to pay. We want you to seek care in any setting without fear.

NYC Health + Hospitals runs the public hospitals and neighborhood health centers in New York City. We respect you and want to help you get the health care you deserve. When you visit our health care facilities, we do not collect information about your immigration status and we never release patient information without authorization by the patient or without being required to do so by law. Our staff will keep it private and confidential. Our health centers and hospitals have a long and proud history of caring for everyone. Our commitment is strong. It has not changed.

The city’s Department of Small Business Services announced on April 15 that it will be offering an array of courses to business owners and entrepreneurs in a number of languages, including Spanish, Chinese and Russian. Today just over half of the business in the city are owned by immigrants. A list of the SBS-sponsored courses may be accessed here.

And the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs released a detailed compilation of 75 events and programs that will be taking place in connection with Immigrant Heritage Week.

“Our shared immigrant past, from two or 200 years ago, is part of what makes our city so strong,” said Mostofi. “With Immigrant Heritage Week, we celebrate our polyglot city, invite reflection on our history as a city of immigrants, and work to provide resources for our communities. From IDNYC, to workshops and cultural enrichment, the City is here to serve all of our residents, no matter your immigration status.”

Among the events in MOIA’s list are a Ba Ban Chinese Music Society of NY presentation in Brooklyn on Tuesday April 16, a Kathak dance festival Friday April 19-21 and an Immigrant Heritage walking tour of Coney Island, in English and Mandarin, on Sunday April 21.

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