Celebration in Syracuse for the Congo's Historic Independence Day, Congolese Community Day

Jun 30, 2017

Members of the Congolese Community of C.N.Y. gathered at Syracuse City Hall as part of a flag raising ceremony.  Former Congolese Community President Cyprien Mahigo is concerned about people in the Congo and the partially reinstated U.S. Travel Ban.

Credit John Smith/WAER News

“This flag raising is meaningful to us, to Congolese, because we now feel that we are now in a country with peace. We have friends.  We can pursue the dreams of our lives.”

He says while his people feel comfortable in Syracuse, the Congolese people are still suffering back home.  He points to the country’s rich minerals used for manufacturing.

“That the cell phones that we use are the blood of the port of the Congo.  Congolese women are still being used in the land to do mining, they are not paid.  They are sex slaves being used in mining in order to gather these minerals.  And many companies across the United States, Europe, across the world, they use those resources.”

Mahigo says the U.S. and other countries must remain united to assist people living in the Congo in those situations.  He says even though the Congo and others are not on the Trump Administration’s Travel Ban, it will affect his people.

“I feel that if they say those countries, other countries will be involved in that system because the idea is the same ideology of not wanting some people to come to the United States is the same. So, it’s not protecting anybody.”

Credit John Smith/WAER News

Mayor Miner officially declared June 30th as Congolese Community Day in the City of Syracuse.

“Look at what’s happening in the City of Syracuse.  We’re being revitalized by new Americans, immigrants, refugees that are coming from around the world, looking for places live in peace and raise their families. This is a way for us to do what we have always done, which is welcome immigrants from all around the world.”

June 30th marks the Congo’s independence from Belgium in 1960.