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Hellenic American Educators Association celebration of Greek independence

Remembering the sacrifices
New York Teacher
Jonathan Fickies
Retirees Helen Karter (left) and Angie Yanas show off a plate of the Greek cuisine that was served at the event.

A celebration of Greek Independence Day, complete with traditional foods and a history lesson, took place at UFT headquarters in Manhattan, where UFT members who are part of the union’s Hellenic American Educators Association came together on April 26. The holiday marks Greece’s victory in its war for independence from the Ottoman Empire in the 1820s. Members enjoyed a buffet overflowing with Greek cuisine — including shish kebab, spanakopita and tzatziki — and listened to a talk on the “Glories of Ancient Greece” by John Rossi, a professor at New York University. Rossi offered highlights of Greece’s history and culture, including the basics of traditional Greek architecture and its ancient city-states. Deme Savopolis, the president of the UFT’s Hellenic American Educators Association, says it’s important to keep Greek culture alive because it was suppressed during the Ottoman occupation. “We remember our ancestors and the sacrifices they made so we might be free,” said Savopolis. “We commemorate their courage, their vision and their empowerment.”

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