Mayor Bill de Blasio visited the Queens Museum in Flushing Meadows Corona Park this week to celebrate the community initiatives implemented to support the growth and recovery of art and cultural institutions across the city during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The mayor praised numerous programs taking place at the Queens Museum. For example, the cultural food pantry La Jornada has distributed 19,000 meals in the last year at the Queens Museum. Plus, the Hecho Local Product Development Workshop creates a space where immigrant women can learn new skills to create businesses and support their families. This program works in partnership with the museum’s gift shop, The August Tree, and uses sewing machines donated by Materials for the Arts in Long Island City.
“This is an example of supporting our immigrant brothers and sisters, of making sure that we are supporting people’s livelihoods. It doesn’t happen in the middle of a pandemic, unless there’s a helping hand for so many people,” de Blasio said. “This is an example of giving opportunity, creating that one door that opens and for these women will keep opening because of their talent and their energy. And this specific idea, this initiative, Hecho Local, to bring out the expertise and talent of the community and bring it to bigger attention is something really wonderful. So, I wanted to see this for myself. I am so happy to see — this is part of how we recover.”
Councilman Francisco Moya, who represents neighborhoods that were ravaged by COVID-19 including Jackson Heights, East Elmhurst and Corona, where he is a lifelong resident, hailed the programs for supporting local artists and for pushing the area’s economy forward.
“Let’s continue to support institutions like the Queens Museum and create job opportunities for our communities so Queens and all of New York City come back stronger,” he said.
State Senator Jessica Ramos and Queens Borough President Donovan Richards also joined the mayor at the event.
“I really want to thank the elected officials who I know every day are fighting for that recovery for all of us. And want equity and fairness in where the resources go. They want to make sure that resources go to Queens. This we know,” de Blasio said. “But they also want to make sure that every community is a part of this recovery. We are going to create something different in New York City. We do not want to go to the status quo before the pandemic. I want to be really clear. We do not just want to recreate what was there before the pandemic, because it wasn’t good enough.”