A large number of people were seen celebrating in Paterson City, USA on May 15 as one of its busy streets was renamed “Palestine way”.
In April the Paterson council had unanimously voted in favour of ‘Palestine Way’, the council reportedly arrived at the decision to honour the large Palestinian community and its contribution to the city’s social life and business.
Now, visitors to the area will also find street signs. On Sunday, city officials celebrated the renaming of a five-block section of Main Street, from Gould Avenue to Buffalo Avenue, to Palestine Way.
“Many Palestinians call Paterson home, and this is the day we get to celebrate it,” said Councilman Alaa “Al” Abdelaziz.
The City Council voted unanimously in April for the street renaming to honor the city’s large Palestinian community and its contributions to civic life and business. A bustling street festival, organized by the Palestinian American Community Center, was held along Main Street to celebrate the occasion.
Vendors set up booths selling roasted corn, dresses, bags and more. T-shirts emblazoned with “Palestine Way” were available. Red, white, black and green Palestinian flags were passed out to attendees and draped from buildings and tents.
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The event paid homage to generations of Palestinian families who have established roots in the area, organizers said. The City Council has renamed portions of local streets for other groups in the past, including Jamaicans and Colombians.
Among those invited to speak at the celebration were Maritza Davila, the council president, and Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh.
Palestinians and Israelis have faced an increase in violence in recent weeks, with Palestinian assailants carrying out fatal attacks in Israeli cities and Israeli forces stepping up raids, shootings and arrests across the West Bank. Palestinians also mourned the May 11 killing of renowned Palestinian American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, holding a vigil in Paterson on Thursday. Akleh was also honored at Sunday’s street fair with a moment of silence.
Meanwhile, also on Sunday, the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey held a ceremony where the Israeli flag was raised next to the American flag outside City Hall in Clifton. The annual event honors Israel’s Independence Day and shows support for Jewish control over the land.
Despite ongoing conflict and loss, the renaming and the festival are, above all, a celebration of the community members who live and invest in Paterson, said Rania Mustafa, executive director of the Palestinian center. On the new Palestine Way, Mustafa said, “The idea is that we are leading the way to a free Palestine, and that is our hope, dream and aspiration.”
News Ref: Northjersey.com