BOSTON—“The Welcome Reception for New Citizens, Their Families & Friends” at Armenian Heritage Park on the Greenway, Boston, was held under sunny skies, during an otherwise rain-soaked week, on Sept. 21.
The Anna and Noubar Afeyan Endowed Fund, an endowed fund of Armenian Heritage Park, supports the annual welcome reception following the naturalization ceremony at Faneuil Hall. “The welcome reception contributes decisively to Heritage Park’s intent to celebrate the immigrant experience and its core mission of inclusion to come together on common ground,” stated Armine Afeyan, founding chair of the Welcome Reception, in 2015.
Following the naturalization ceremony, the Dixieland jazz band, Riverboat Stompers, led the new citizens, their families, and friends through Faneuil Hall Marketplace to Armenian Heritage Park on the Greenway.
At the park, American flags, flying in the warm breeze, dotted the perimeter of the Park. Bouquets of red, white, and blue balloons tied to each bench surrounding the labyrinth added to the celebratory festivities. The spirited and energetic music of Black Sea Salsa, the 12-piece band led by Dan Teager, filled the air with many of his original compositions.
As each new citizen arrived, the fourth-grade students and their teachers from the Boston Public School’s Eliot Innovation School in the North End joined the Friends of Heritage Park to warmly welcome the newly naturalized citizens with rousing applause and cheers of congratulations. Each new citizen received a flashing blinky light star. Friends of Christopher Columbus Park and residents from the North End and Rowes Wharf were among the friends extending congratulations.
Soon, all were meeting, greeting, and enjoying Vicki Lee’s luscious desserts, just “Voted #1 Bakery by Boston’s A List,” while the leadership of several of our partnering organizations were presenting each new citizen with a welcome gift. The Museum of Fine Arts’ gift was a one-year free family membership. The gift from The Bostonian Society was admission to programs at the Old State House, and from the Greenway Conservancy rides on the Carousel, next to the Park.
The Honorable Judge Indira Talwani, the presiding judge during the Naturalization Ceremony at Faneuil Hall, offered a thoughtful and heartfelt welcome during the brief program. Judge Talwani was introduced by Middlesex Sheriff Peter Koutoujian, who during his welcome commented, “America’s story is an unfinished book. We are constantly adding chapters—not by one author, but by a chorus of them.… Today reminds us that America is still the sum of all her parts.”
Dr. Vartan Gregorian, president of the Carnegie Foundation of New York offered the welcome during the inaugural welcome reception in 2015. Judge Rya Zobel presided over the naturalization ceremony at Faneuil Hall and offered the welcome in 2016. Judge Zobel continues to be very much a part in the planning of the day of welcome and celebration.
Upcoming events at the Park include two HUBweek programs in October:
Oct. 10 – Reducing & Managing Stress: Walking the Labyrinth
Oct. 11 – Geometry as Public Art: Celebrating the Immigrant Experience. For details on both and to RSVP, please visit HUBweek.org.
For further information about the park, visit ArmenianHeritagePark.org or email hello@ArmenianHeritagePark.org