EAST HARLEM, Manhattan (PIX11) — For most of the last year, carefree moments have been few and far between for Keymart and Yoliannis.
But Thursday was a stress-free night for the pair, filled with the familiar sounds and tastes of their native Venezuela. They sat in an East Harlem banquet room to break bread with other asylum seekers during a Three Kings Day dinner.
The Hispanic Federation organized the event, just for them.
“Yeah, it feels good. It feels great. And especially for people’s minds and attention toward us. It’s been more than eight months that I did not have the Venezuelan taste and food,” said Keymart.
Three Kings Day is a significant event that is observed throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. But make no mistake. This supper is really more of a celebration for Yoliannis and Keymart, who endured a difficult trek over a great distance and dangerous terrain while she was six months pregnant.
“Besides the Darien gap, it was crossing Mexico. I feel free. I don’t know how to explain it, but I’m filled with joy because I had a very rough journey to get here,” said Yoliannis.
Thousands of South and Central American migrants continue to arrive at the Texas border – only to be put on buses and dropped off at the Port Authority Bus Terminal.
Hispanic Federation president and CEO Frankie Miranda says the dinner was a politics-free zone.
“We want to take a break from the ordeal that these families have gone through, and actually celebrate, and have a moment of reflection, and give them a little bit of joy. And also separate their stories away from the politics that have been surrounding these families,” said Miranda.
City Office of Immigrant Affairs Commissioner Manuel Castro brought an outreach team to the dinner.
“They’re now New Yorkers. And they can come forward for services, and they can work together with us to make sure that their lives here are as prosperous as possible,” said Castro.