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2016 Ellis Island Family Heritage Awards

October 18th, 2016

THE STATUE OF LIBERTY-ELLIS ISLAND FOUNDATION HONORS BILLIE JEAN KING, F. MURRAY ABRAHAM, DANIEL LIBESKIND, AND GREGORY ANNENBERG WEINGARTEN AT 2016 ELLIS ISLAND FAMILY HERITAGE AWARDS

The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation today honored social justice pioneer and sports icon Billie Jean King, actor and author F. Murray Abraham, architect and designer Daniel Libeskind, and philanthropist Gregory Annenberg Weingarten at its 2016 Ellis Island Family Heritage Awards, held in the Great Hall at the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration. The event was hosted by analyst and reporter Mary Carillo.

The Ellis Island Family Heritage Awards celebrate the immigrant experience by honoring the extraordinary lives of select Americans who trace their ancestry through Ellis Island, an earlier era of arrival, and the post-Ellis Island era. Annually, the Foundation chooses a select number of these immigrants or their descendants and celebrates the major contributions they have made to our “Nation of Immigrants.”

At the ceremony, Stephen Briganti, President and CEO of the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, said, “Immigrants arrived by the thousands, among them my own mother, and continue to come here, but each and every story is its own. I cherish these stories because they are at the very core of who we are as Americans. We are delighted today to honor these esteemed individuals and their uniquely American stories.”

Billie Jean King and Gregory Annenberg Weingarten were the award recipients for descendants of immigrants who arrived before Ellis Island opened.  King’s great-great-grandfather Duncan Campbell Sr. arrived in the 1850s from Scotland, and Annenberg Weingarten’s great-grandfather Moses Annenberg arrived in the 1870s from Prussia.

F. Murray Abraham was the honoree for descendants of immigrants who passed through Ellis Island when they came to America. Abraham’s grandmother Caterina Cosmana Stello passed through Ellis Island from Italy in 1910. His father and family came to the U.S. from Syria.

Daniel Libeskind was the honoree representing new immigration for those who came to America after Ellis Island stopped being a port of entry. Born in Poland, he immigrated to America in 1959.

The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation is a non-profit organization founded in 1982 to raise funds for and oversee the historic restorations of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, working in partnership with the National Park Service/U.S. Department of the Interior. In addition to restoring the monuments, the Foundation created museums on both islands, The American Immigrant Wall of Honor®, the American Family Immigration History Center®, and the Peopling of America Center® which transformed the museum into the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration. Its newest project will be the new Statue of Liberty Museum. The Foundation’s endowment has funded over 200 projects at the islands.

For more information about the Foundation visit libertyellisfoundation.org, follow SOLEIF on Facebook at facebook.com/libertyellisfoundation, Twitter @ellisisland, and Instagram @libertyellisfoundation.

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