City of New York, NY

09/15/2023 | Press release | Archived content

Transcript: Mayor Adams Delivers Remarks At Flag-Raising Ceremony For Democratic Republic Of The Congo

September 15, 2023

Mayor Eric Adams: Thank you so much, commissioner. I think that I say over and again when you celebrate the diversity of this amazing city, that it's both in the combination of substantive action and symbolic action; and today, we are looking at the symbolism right here for the first time.

You may have 60 years of independence, but this is the first year that the flag from the Congo is going to be raised here at Bowling Green, acknowledging the contribution, acknowledging your participation in the greatness of this city.

You should feel pleased and happy, because many people that are on this line right now getting ready to go to the bull, they are part of… Many are part of the unfortunate few of Americans, because there are only two types of Americans: those who live in New York and those who wish they could, and you're one of the ones that are in New York, so you should be excited about being here.

And this is so important in significance. Yesterday we celebrated all the countries in Africa at Gracie Mansion. It was the first time a celebration of that magnitude and bringing the energies of the ancestors to Gracie Mansion. But this spot here is so important, right on the same spot. All of our ancestors that were ripped away from the continent of Africa used to be sold here on these grounds.

And many of them left the Continent in slavery; and when I returned last year with the mayoralty, it showed the resiliency of the African people, and no one knows that better than the people from the Congo. Colonialized powers for far too long oppressed the people of Congo before because of their natural resources, and you have continued to rise and you have continued to show the resiliency of the country.

So, we're proud today as we raise the flag to the people of the Congo, that you belong not only here in New York but across the globe. There's so much debt that is owed the people of Africa who have undergone so much colonializing treatment on the continent. But this is the moment of reclaiming the natural resources, reclaiming the dignity of the continent, reclaiming the relationships of your aunties and uncles, your cousins that you lost during the slave trade of yesteryears.

It is our obligation and responsibility to reunite ourselves. And I'm happy to be here to be the mayor that finally raises the flag of the Congo here in the center of Manhattan, the center of strength of this country. Congratulations to you, 60 years of independence. Keep being independent as we move forward. Thank you very much.