Dear Ambassador Sahatqija, distinguished guests!
It is my distinct pleasure to be here together with Albanian American community representatives to celebrate the 12th Anniversary of Kosova. On this special occasion, please join me to congratulate the new Kosova government and parliament. We are hopeful that as a democratically elected bodies, they will be a powerful driving force to move Kosova and its people forward.
I want to thank the Albanian American community organizations for joining the Kosova General Consulate to host this Celebration. Special thanks to tonight’s hosts and sponsors their generosity to make this event successful: Elio Ahmetaj, Allora Restaurant, Ramiz Kukaj, Cka ka Qellu, the Gecaj Family, Stone Castle, the Rusi Family Able Services, Golden Eagle, Albanian Media Group, REBNY, RSA, UFT, HTC, 32BJ, all the Albanian organizations and everyone who worked around this event.
As we look back, I am proud that as an Albanian American community we have always played a role throughout the years on Kosova’s rough road to it’s liberation and Independence and as a united Albanian American community we continue to play a vital role and proudly support important initiatives here and back home in Kosova
-Last year a united community dedicated Kosova’s Independence to the Bytyqi Brothers Quest for Justice and their Foundation.
-The Community supported, raised awareness and attended the important US Congressional Hearing in Washington DC on the War Crimes in Kosova.
-Community Organizations spearheaded and supported the Day of Action at the US Congress and Rally at the Serb Embassy in DC against the Unpunished War Crimes in Kosova under the motto to Never Forget the 14,900 dead, the 20,000 raped, the 1400 missing.
-The community organizations supported and joined the Atlantic Association’s Historic Trip to Kosova and raised awareness to the missing, fallen, raped and killed. Through the community’s generous support we significantly lined up Rrugen e Kombit with Albanian flags for in memory of the fallen and missing.
-We proudly stood by Vasfije Krasniqi, our heroine survivor, in Prishtina and cities around Kosova as we launched For Heroines a campaign to raise awareness about rape as a war crime.
-We followed up with another Rally for Her Justice campaign in NYC, where hundreds rallied in front of the Serb Consulate and heard first hand from sexual war crimes survivors from Kosova, Bosnia and Croatia.
-I am proud to announce that on April 29th in cooperation with NYC based women groups we will bring Rape being used as a weapon of war in Kosova to a different level at a Denim Day Rally in NYC during the month of April, a month set to raise awareness on sexual assaults.
There is so much to be done. Our governments back home need to value and treat the Diaspora as a real partner and our impact should matter. Our community here needs to work harder to unite and be a block-factor on major issues from registering to vote, being involved and represented to running for office. History has shown us that we matter when we are united and when we put our community’s needs and our national interest above our political affiliations, personal interests and religious beliefs.
Rrofte Kosova, rrofte Shqipria dhe Zoti e bekofte Ameriken.