PLANTSVILLE — The Immigrant Heritage Hall of Fame induction ceremony returns after a two-year hiatus and will honor four iconic women on Thursday, July 14.
“The premise for 2020 was supposed to be ‘the year of the woman,’ so that’s the theme for this event this year, because we planned to only honor women for this round,” said Demetrios Giannaros, president of the National Immigrant Heritage Center. “And it will be the first time that an entire class of IHHF inductees will be made up of women.”
The induction ceremony has been canceled for the past two years due to the pandemic and limitations on public gatherings.
Inductees, their family and friends, colleagues and other guests will enjoy dinner at AquaTurf at 5:30 p.m. to celebrate and recognize the role these women play in America’s immigrant heritage.
“These are women who have made tremendous accomplishments in their lives that have made a big difference to our communities, to our state, to our nation and far beyond because some of the things they are involved in affect our community around the world in certain respects,” Giannaros said. “Their hard work, passion and dedication to excellence have made our world a much better place and they stand out in the community as an example of what people with an immigrant background do that contribute to the well-being of our society, our community and our nation.”
These four people who have been leaders, activists and scholars in education, human rights, science, philanthropy and interfaith understanding are Judith Altmann, Marilda Gándara, Aida Mansoor and Radenka Maric.
“We have a live program of cultural performances relating to each of the honorees and reflecting that person’s background,” Giannaros said.
At some point in the program, videos will feature each winner’s story and background with friends, family and colleagues.
“What we want to do is provide a vehicle for the community, for the state, for the nation to observe the contributions that people with an immigrant background not only make in the past, but that they continue to make. ‘bring,” Giannaros said. “I came as an immigrant myself with my family of seven and haven’t stopped since.”
The keynote speaker will be Angelina Gadeliya, piano teacher and coordinator of keyboard studies at the University of Connecticut. She was born in Sukhumi, Georgia, where she began her musical studies at the age of 5 and continued them in Ukraine until moving to the United States in 1990.
Giannaros said organizing the event has been a challenge this year, but everything is going in the right direction and new donations, new sponsorships and new participants are coming.
“Let’s continue to be proud and support each other no matter where we come from, what religion we follow, what color of skin we have and what ethnicity we are,” he said.
The Immigrant Heritage Hall of Fame preserves heritage through the publication of biographies and histories, and strives to educate the public about the importance of immigrant heritage to America’s identity and the contributions of immigrants and immigrant communities.