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2017 Ellis Island Family Heritage Awards

October 24th, 2017

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, The Tisch Family and Robin Roberts Receive 2017 Ellis Island Family Heritage Award

Today, The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc. honored basketball legend, author and activist Kareem Abdul-Jabbar; business leaders and philanthropists the Tisch Family; and Co-Anchor of ABC’s Good Morning America Robin Roberts at its 2017 Ellis Island Family Heritage Awards. The ceremony was held at 11:00 AM in the Great Hall at the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration. Anchor and Managing Editor of ABC World News Tonight, David Muir, was master of ceremonies. Now in its 14th year, the Ellis Island Family Heritage Awards celebrate the extraordinary lives and heritage of selected citizens, or their descendants, who have made major contributions to the American experience. From sports heroes, entertainers and authors to former Secretaries of State and Nobel Prize winners, more than 50 esteemed citizens have been recognized by the Foundation.

“America is indeed a nation of immigrants and each Family Heritage Award honoree represents a brilliant strand in our unique and vibrant national tapestry,” said Stephen Briganti, President and CEO of The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, as he joined the honorees and event guests on a ferry to Ellis Island before the ceremony.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the grandson of immigrants from Trinidad, who arrived in America 100 years ago.The Tisch Family descends from Ukrainian and Polish immigrants who came through Ellis Island. Robin Roberts has roots in Virginia where her ancestors were slaves.

This year, the Family Heritage Awards are also recognizing the 125th anniversary of Ellis Island, which opened in 1892 as the nation’s preeminent immigration station. To celebrate this milestone, the American Family Immigration History Center (AFIHC) offered museum visitors complimentary research sessions of its more than 50 million Ellis Island immigrant arrival records throughout the day.

About The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc. The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc. is a non-profit organization established in 1982 to raise funds for and oversee the historic restoration and preservation of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. For more than 35 years, the Foundation has collaborated with the National Park Service/U.S. Department of the Interior in what has become the most successful public-private partnership in U.S. history. In addition to restoring the monuments, the Foundation created museums on both islands as well as The American Immigrant Wall of Honor®, the American Family Immigration History Center® and The Peopling of America® Center, which in 2015 transformed the museum into the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration. The Foundation is now overseeing the fundraising and construction of the new Statue of Liberty Museum scheduled to open in 2019. The organization’s endowment has funded over 200 projects that support these national treasures.

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