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2021

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FAITH Accepts Applications for Academic Excellence Scholarship Program

Calamos Investments Expands Chicago Presence

Academy Award Winner George Chakiris' New Book

Venizelos Foundation USA Launched Operations

STEFANIE G. ROUMELIOTES AND THE ART OF FUNDING AND PROMOTING POLITICAL CANDIDATES AND THE CAUSE OF WOMEN


The Hellenic American Association for Professionals in Finance Wishes its Members, Friends and Community

Happy Easter! Καλό Πάσχα!

For additional information or questions, please please go to haba.org


FROM THE EDITOR

:: magazine FOUNDED IN 2005 BY Demetrios Rhompotis Dimitri Michalakis Kyprianos Bazenikas

Publishing Committee Chairman Demetrios Rhompotis (718) 554-0308 dondemetrio@neomagazine.com Director of Operations Kyprianos Bazenikas info@neomagazine.com

Marketing & Advertising Director Tommy Harmantzis (347) 613-4163 th@radioneo.us

ATHENS - GREECE Public Relations & Marketing Director Rita Despotidis rdespotis@gmail.com

NEO Magazine is published monthly by Neocorp Media Inc. P.O. Box 560105 College Point, NY 11356 Phone: (718) 554-0308 e-Fax: (718) 878-4448 info@neomagazine.com Check our website neomagazine.com

GENDER POLITICS Is p o l i t i c s a m a n - o n l y province? Maybe not when we have a vice president a heartbeat away from the presidency. Maybe not when we have mayors and governors all over the United States that are women. And members of Congress.

But out of 535 members of Congress in 2020, only about 23% were women—just 126 female representatives in the House, and only 25 women in the Senate. That’s far from a fair representation of the population. And out of 50 states, currently there are only eight female governors. We have a long way to go. But there are dynamic women who are transforming politics and the political game not just in elected office but in the business of politics—the making of a candidate, the election of a candidate, and the championing of issues. Stefanie Roumeliotes, of SGR Consulting in San Francisco, is one of the power players in the political and fundraising game (she also works for non-profits). She helped make Eleni Kounalakis the lieutenant governor of California, and works with the governor also, Gavin Newsom. “I am proud to work with some of the most inspiring and incredible leaders and public servants in the country,” she says.

for women to bond, flourish and rise,” she says.

:: magazine

She even thought of running for office herself, “but came to the realization that the best use of my instincts, talent and skills was to work on campaigns and help propel others into elected office.”

PUBLISHED MONTHLY IN NEW YORK Editor in Chief: Dimitri C. Michalakis info@neomagazine.com

She has done just that for 17 years, and the challenges for women in politics remain. “We have a long way to go before we achieve gender equality equity and parity in this country,” she says. “From the corporate world to public office, women are underrepresented, even more so for women of color. The election of Kamala Harris, the first Black and first Indian woman to win the vice presidency, is historic and should be celebrated.” But there is a long way to go and the statistics bear her out. Which has always amazed me, because women have and will always run the world with their sense and fortitude and wisdom—most men can’t even come close—and yet they are considered second-class citizens. Why don’t they deserve the same pay in the workplace? Why don’t they deserve the same jobs? Why can’t they lead and govern as well as any man—or even better—and why is seeing a woman as head of a corporation or head of government an exception?

My yiayiades could have ruled the world (they ruled theirs), my mother was our rock, my wife is mine and our families’, my daughters are career women who never stop being caring and thoughtful and intelligent. The women in our lives are the glue that holds us together and we should all hope they finally get their chance to And her office is mostly staffed with women. “I make the world a better place for all of us with realized how many young women were working their intelligence and wisdom. in campaign politics and I knew that within the first year that (SGR) must create an environment DIMITRI C. MICHALAKIS

Western Region Desk - Los Angeles Alexander Mizan director@americanhellenic.org West Palm Beach, Florida Desk Vassilios Kukorinis skopelitis@hotmail.com Baltimore Desk Georgia Vavas gvavas@comcast.net Photo/Fashion New York: ETA Press fpapagermanos@yahoo.com Los Angeles: Nick Dimitrokalis (951) 764-5737 photobynikos@hotmail.com Graphic Design NEOgraphix.us Adrian Salescu Athens Desk Konstantinos Rhompotis (01130) 210 51 42 446 (01130) 6937 02 39 94 k.rhompotis@neomagazine.com COVER PHOTO BY HILLARY JEANNE


Hey World, how are you holding up? Are you OK? Just checking in... Here we are a year later, celebrating a second Easter during this pandemic. We’ve come a long way…haven’t we? Although signs of Easter traditions, springtime, the careful reopening of the world, and brighter days are apparent…life and Easter still feel by Penny Gallis different as we come out of our C ovid-19 hide aways, w hich we have organized, reorganized probably a few hundred times since isolation started. Does Marie Kondo ring a bell? We continue the task of unlearning, relearning and rediscovering it all, so that we can create our “new norm” and begin the healing process. Everything has changed, some for the better and some for the worse. Thankfully, the Easter message of renewal and hope remains constant. It remains timeless. It’s a promise of better days to come, and I believe that those days are coming. As we search to find our “new norm,” we are afraid but also empowered at the same time. While in isolation and quarantine, we sure had all the time in the world (too much time for some) for reflection and deep and truthful introspection. Although it was overwhelming, it also empowered us. We now have the ability and the knowledge to choose which parts of our yesterdays we will take with us, which parts we cannot wait to let go of. We have an opportunity to change things. Yes, we were all forced to spend a lot of time isolated with ourselves, our partners, our children, our ailments, our hopes, our creativity, our fears, and even our pets. Oh boy! For some it was a prison. For others, it was truly a sanctuary. I found comfort in having my family at home, but the dishes I washed…never again! I suddenly love paper plates, and I’m certain that I’m not the only one. Confess! During this unprecedented time and in between the chaos, I chose to hold close to my heart the beautiful, priceless moments filled with love and wonderful memories while we all tried to cope...together…the best we could under the circumstances.

beautiful people. We have suffered anxiety, sorrow, grief, inequities, uncertainty, and deep fear, but we have finally reached that “last mile.” This is the hardest and the most crucial mile, because this is when we start to lose focus and we become vulnerable to make mistakes that can set us back and harm us. I recall, a few years ago before my ankle injury, I used to love to run at the track. Wearing my very trendy sneakers and running attire, I would smile and think to myself, “Wow, look at me go!” I would suddenly start thinking about random things and people-watch as I ran. Because I saw that finish line so close, I got lazy and then the dreaded last mile happened! Awful! I know we’re exhausted and craving the celebration at t h e f i n i s h l i n e , b u t w e’r e a l m o s t there…resolution, renewal and hope! Stay focused and vigilant, World! It’s a new beginning filled with awesome possibility.

was alone, so we have been in isolation and quarantine. And, as He faced shame, crucifixion, and death, so we have dealt with our own form of horrors. We have endured the endless Covid-19 testing, vaccinations, mask shaming and death or illness during the pandemic. Let us understand this and react with the same faith in our situation today. Because God did send an Angel to lighten the burden of his son’s fears and to strengthen Him. And I find solace in knowing that God will lighten my burdens as well.

In our lives, we too can be good and do all the right things but catastrophic events will still take place. Life on earth is imperfect as we know, but life is sweet. As we move onward, our cup may not be taken from us. In life, suffering is inevitable. Nevertheless, God sends angels. Sometimes, those angels are disguised as people from our communities As I try to make sense of the past year, I grieve and all over the world. Going forward is going along with the world. However, I also rejoice to be tough but again, life is sweet. The angels along with the world for our humanity and solidarity during this time. We absolutely had conflicts, but we also had progress and better days. Sudden ly, t he sma l l t hings we overlooked and took for granted in the past, seem like gifts and miracles today. I’m tired, humbled, and thankful. When facing my own fears in my life, I always…always find solace in returning to the story of Jesus at Mount of Olives in the Garden of Gethsemane. This Easter, especially, I feel a deeper connection with this biblical story—His story…the greatest ever told. I can’t help but find parallels as I connect this story with my own and the world’s pandemic distress. Jesus too was in darkness and the deepest fear when faced with His own suffering, His shaming through crucifixion, and His death before His ultimate Resurrection. In agony, he prayed to God, “Abba! Father, for you all things are possible; remove this cup from me, yet not my will, but your will be done.” Can you even begin to imagine that? Our Jesus in deep anxiety and distress, afraid to die as we have experienced. It’s one of the most intimate and most honest moments between Father and a fear-filled Son. Jesus showed us His divinity and His humanity…completely. The cup could not be taken away. Jesus had a mission to fulfill so that we could be given renewal and hope, so we could be saved through His Resurrection. He knew this and accepted it for us. Let Him be our model as our world comes out of this pandemic’s “last mile” to find the message of Easter...renewed life and hope.

are many, and God’s love for us is endless. We continue moving forward. We pray, and we thank God for the gift of renewal, hope, life, and light. Stay focused! Be loving! Be compassionate and kind to yourselves and to others! Help those in need, always! We’ve got this! God bless! I love my children!

Christos Anesti to all! Christ is Risen! Truly Yes, we have suffered many different kinds of He is Risen! losses: financial losses, loss of routines, loss of freedoms, loss of human connection, but the As Jesus experienced darkness, anxiety, and most important was the loss of millions of grief in Gethsemane, so have we now. As Jesus 18

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Thoughts about Holy Pascha Thy Resurrection, O' Christ the Savior, The Angels in Heaven sing And make us worthy also on Earth Glorify Thee with pure heart! Stikhera for the Holy Pascha, tone 6

...And make us also ..with pure heart!

by Archpriest, Dr. Mikhail Kapchits*

The Holy Pascha is coming and we don't want to be just observers or even witnesses. We want to participate, participate with our entire being. We want to be with Christ, no – not just with Christ, we want to be part of Him, we wish to live His life! He is risen – we long to rise with Him. We want to run to the Sepulchre with Peter and John, we want to touch Jesus together with Thomas, we want our heart to burn while hearing His words like Luke's and Cleopas'. “My Lord and my God!” (John 20,28). Not just God, not God of the entire world, but mine, my own – the One who came to save me, to change my life, to purify my soul, to make me part of Him. Pascha, the Holy Christ's Resurrection, the Feast of the Feasts and the Celebration of the Celebrations – comes down to be something very precious and intimate, even concealed.

people on the fence were completely silent. They weren't even talking to each other. They looked stunned, astonished, glued to the fence! They disappeared soon thereafter, but during that moment there was no doubt that their hearts felt the Divine Grace and they became also participants of the Holy Resurrection.

I remember my first Pascha in the church. I was baptized in 1981 near Moscow. It was Brezhnev time: religion wasn't forbidden, but was viewed as something extremely odd and outlived, some of the churches were opened, but most of them were closed. Yes, you could come to church for the service on Sunday, but it would be better if you do it in some rural place or not during major holidays, let alone Pascha.

that time, my family members were nonbelievers (by mercy of God, it changed with years). Besides that, they were also coming from the Jewish origin. They didn't know too much about Christianity, but they had heard of two myths: that believers were wild and uneducated people, and that Christians participated in pogroms. Obviously, with that background they weren't going to accept their son being part of such a group! The latter obstacle was much harder to bypass for me: if the state ultimately didn't care what one believed as long as his behavior was quiet, it was almost impossible to hide what you were doing from your loving family. So, I tried not to attract unnecessary attention to myself and attended the church more or less quietly and almost secretly – and henceforth coming to church during Paschal services was a closed subject for me. Only five years later, when the attitude started changing both in my family and the society, I managed to come for my first Paschal service openly.

My first feeling was that finally I reached the Kingdom of Heaven which had been closed for me before because of my unworthiness. I hadn't gone to the seminary and academy yet and my mind wasn't overloaded with Dogmatic Theology, but my heart knew it all During Pascha, churches were heavily already! patrolled by the police and parishioners, especially the young, who wanted to come for I remember another Paschal Procession a few the celebration, were filtered: to get inside one years later when the society started going not would need a special pass. Officially it was only through the freedom of faith, but also done for the protection of the parishioners freedom of everything else. Approximately an from the strangers, unofficially – to limit the hour before the beginning of the night service number of the churchgoers which was some young people with their hair and faces supposed to be very small in a blooming dyed with a color unknown to humanity, and atheistic state (other methods to lead the with the expression of their faces which was youth away from the church such as disco very far from any spiritual interest, but rather parties during Pascal night, so called hungry for fun and adventure, entered the subbotnicks – mandatory, free of salary church, looked around and walked outside. workdays on Paschal Sunday, etc – were also They climbed up the fence around the church and were waiting for the procession to start broadly used by the civil authorities). with an obvious intention to interfere with As a second-year medical student, I wouldn't some noisy comments... face jail time if I got caught in the church, but would definitely encounter some problems When the service began, the clergy and then during my career – so, like many others, I the choir started singing at much slower pace than it is usually done. Much slower, much preferred to not take a risk. quieter and much more solemn! It is very hard Besides being an unwanted obstacle for the to express, but the feeling was unbelievable! state, I had even a bigger problem in the family. When the procession went outside the church Like many more others in the Soviet state at and started walking around the temple, young

About ten more years later I was already in New York City and was helping in the Altar during services as a subdeacon. My nephew, who was also my godson and was only 10 or 11, served as an altar boy, too. Processions around St. Nicholas Cathedral at that time weren't taking place yet and the whole procession was ending up on the steps at the front entrance. I called my nephew to help the bishop during the procession, but he, as usual at his age, was very busy talking to his friends, making jokes and got extremely displeased that I pulled him away from his noble business. We walked throughout the church to the front entrance and came down the steps – so did my nephew having a very bored and upset expression on his face. The doors of the temple got closed and the Paschal Matins started. “Christ Is risen from the dead trampling down death by death..” Christ is Risen, - cries out the bishop. - Truly He is Risen – replies the crowd. I am looking at my nephew... There is an expression “the face was shining”. It was probably the first time in my life when I saw this happening literally, not just symbolically. His face, his eyes were brightly shining! We Orthodox people are unaware of the precious jewelry we own. We can't imagine what our faith can do, what our worship does! “Weren't out hearts burning within us while He talked to us on the road and opened to us the Scriptures”? (Luke 24, 32). I am wishing the readers to enjoy peaceful, quiet, prayerful and really spiritual celebration of the Holy Pascha. Christ Is Risen! Archpriest, Dr. Mikhail Kapchits is the Rector of St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, in Bayonne NJ and a board-certified physician specializing in cardiovascular diseases and nuclear cardiology. NEWS & NOTES

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Calamos Investments Expands Chicago Presence with New Office at Fulton East in Fulton Market “We are honored to welcome Calamos Investments, one of our nation’s leading investment management firms, to Fulton East,” said Bob Wislow, CEO of Parkside Realty, Inc. the developer of Fulton East. “Our design decisions are validated when a global financial leader like Calamos recognizes the unique benefits provided by Fulton East, where innovative technology and biophilic design in an outstanding Chicago location creates a Class A office environment that “Today’s announcement is prioritizes health, wellness, comfort and the third one in two short productivity for our tenants’ employees.” weeks of companies choosing Chicago because Founded in 1977, Calamos is an active we offer a dynamic and manager that specializes in risk-managed d e s i r a b l e b u s i n e s s strategies and pioneered investing in environment," said Mayor convertible securities and liquid alternatives. L to R: Parkside Realty Vice-ChairmanCamille Julmy, Lori E. Lightfoot. "I want to During the tenure of John Koudounis as CEO, Calamos Founder, Chairman and Global Chief Investment t h a n k C a l a m o s f o r AUM has roughly doubled to over $37billion. Officer John P. Calamos, Sr., Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, For the one-year period as of March 31, 2021, committing to Chicago's Calamos President and CEO John Koudounis, Parkside Realty five Calamos funds are ranked in the top 1% of f u t u r e g r o w t h a n d Chairman and CEO Bob Wislow. e c onom i c su c c e ss . It ' s their Morningstar category while 10 are in the companies like them that top 10%. Calamos Investments, which began Calamos Investments, a leading global asset continue to strategically make their business its legacy on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, has manager, has signed a multiyear lease for the in our city because of its diverse workforce and a longstanding commitment to the city and is top floors of Fulton East, an innovative new talent, ease of doing business, access to global dedicated to deepening its ties with this new building at 215 N. Peoria Street, situated in markets, and commitment to driving location. The firm is a lead sponsor of the Chicago’s vibrant Fulton Market area. The inclusive, equitable economic development." Chicago Bulls, and the first company to have its logo on the stadium floor. announcement was made by John Koudounis, Calamos President and CEO. Calamos’ new As Founder of the Chicago location will be an addition to the firm’s CEO COVID-19 Coalition, headquarters campus in Naperville. This John Koudounis united Chicago office will host up to 100 people that Chicago business leaders in a will include flex space for some of the Calamos humanitarian campaign for leadership team, employees, and clients from COVID-19 relief and recovery all over the world, as well as function as a benefiting ten Chicago-based central meeting and event space for Calamos’ charities. The organization growing businesses. raised more than $1.5 million via its “Sweet Home Chicago” The downtown location will deepen the firm’s telethon, which included an existing ties to the city, broaden access to appearance by Mayor potential business partners and clients, and Lightfoot. Calamos diversify its Chicago-based footprint. “We are Investments is a diversified very excited to extend our presence in the global investment firm Chicago area by adding a new office in the offering innovative investment flourishing Fulton Market district,” said strategies including Koudounis. “Founder John Calamos and I are Calamos’ new Chicago location at 215 N. Peoria St alternatives, multi-ass et, both native Chicagoans and we are committed to the growth and success of our city, “News that Calamos Investments, a leading convertible, fixed income, and equity. The especially as we move beyond the pandemic. global asset manager, is expanding into firm offers strategies through separately We selected Fulton East in part because it was Chicago demonstrates Chicago’s strength as a managed portfolios, mutual funds, closed-end designed as one of the safest post-Covid office major hub for finance, technology and global funds, private funds, and UCITS funds. buildings in the country. Our new location in connectivity,” said Michael Fassnacht, Interim Clients include major corporations, pension such a dynamic area of Chicago will be a President & CEO, World Business Chicago. funds, endowments, foundations and showcase that will help position Calamos for “This expansion will not only benefit the firm’s individuals, as well as the financial advisors current employees and clients but will also a n d c o n s u l t a n t s w h o s e r v e t h e m . the future.” provide job opportunities and help strengthen Headquartered in the Chicago metropolitan “We look forward to deepening our ability to our rebounding economy. I look forward to area, the firm also has offices in New York, San access and leverage the great synergies that watching the firm thrive, grow and expand in Francisco, Milwaukee and the Miami area. For more information, their website is the city of Chicago for many years to come.” calamos.com . Chicago has to offer as we roll out and debut our unique, innovative and unrivaled fund strategies, enabling us to continue to flourish across our businesses,” said Calamos Investments Founder and Chairman John P. Calamos, Sr.

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The Hellenic Initiative Launched Its 2021 Annual Easter Appeal In Greece, the essence of holidays is enjoying loving and memorable meals with one’s family and friends, but due to the pandemic, more people than usual are at risk of marking Greek Orthodox Easter on May 2 experiencing hunger rather than joy. The Hellenic Initiative's annual Easter Appeal will help enrich Pascha tables all over Greece. Donations received by THI will be distributed to the philanthropic organizations it has been working with since 2012. Those groups brought relief to the neediest during the Greek economic crisis while THI simultaneously worked with organizations contributing to Greece’s economic revitalization by helping build new companies and generating jobs.

Through THI’s support, the Food Bank at its locations throughout Greece purchase food items otherwise rarely donated to them but very important for a healthy diet. The Food B an k works wit h 113 dif ferent fo o d companies and 150 soup kitchens, helping around 43,000 beneficiaries. This Easter season, THI donations, through the Ladies Union of Drama, will ensure that 1700 family members are supported. 70% of the workforce consists of volunteers who facilitate the donation of tons of food that would otherwise be wasted.

George P. Stamas, THI Board President, stated: “We are asking our members and friends to join us in supporting the Food Bank in Athens and other parts of Greece, and other worthy and effective charities. They will be helping us support families in need build better lives based on thriving and not surviving!”

“We always say ‘with your help we can do more! #OliMazi,’ but this time of year our appeals mean even more and we thank our donors for supporting our work and wish them and their families Kalo Pascha – Happy Easter,” said Peter J. Poulos, THI’s Executive The Prolepsis program of the Diatrofi Institute Director. provides a healthy and nutritional school lunch to thousands of children around Greece. F o r m o r e i n f o , t h e i r w e b s i t e i s Among the most respected NGO’s in Greece This academic year THI is helping children of thehellenicinitiative.org are the Food Bank, the Ladies Union of kindergarten age receive around 14,400 meals. Drama, a city and prefecture in Northern Greece, and the ‘Diatrofi’ program of the Prolepsis Institute.


FAITH Issues Final Grant Supporting St. Nicholas Shrine

FAITH: An Endowment for Orthodoxy and Hellenism has issued a grant of $2.57 million in response to a special appeal by Archbishop Elpidophoros and former Archbishop Demetrios, in addition to the prior grant of $14.2 million in April 2020 completing its commitment to the Rebuilding of the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine and the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. As the largest benefactor, the FAITH Endowment has given over $18.7 million to support the construction to rebuild St. Nicholas.

the best and brightest young leaders of the Hellenic-American and Greek Orthodox community through its prestigious FAITH Scholarships for Academic Excellence, FAITH-STEM scholarships, FulbrightFAITH Scholarship collaboration, and more. Last year, FAITH launched the Strategic Leadership for Transformative Action (SLTA), an executive education certificate course in non-profit management to cultivate clergy and lay leaders of the community in partnership with The Fletcher School at Tufts University.

The FAITH Endowment Board issued the following statement: “The grants to St. Nicholas presented a unique opportunity of tremendous historical significance to showcase the Greek Orthodox faith and the story of Greek immigration to the US while preserving the values of our community for future generations. St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine will ser ve to remind the Greek Orthodox community, New Yorkers and the world that what was lost on 9/11 will always be remembered.” Founded in 2004 by a group of ten visionary Greek American leaders and philanthropists, FAITH: An Endowment for Orthodoxy and Hellenism is an independent 501(c)(3) organization that supports the development of innovative educational, cultural, and s c h o l a r s h i p p ro g r a m s t h at p ro m o t e Hellenism, an understanding of the Greek Orthodox faith, and the relationship of the two to America’s history and multicultural FAITH, on occasion, has also provided grants landscape for young people. for unique projects that showcase historical legacies of Hellenism and the Greek Orthodox Since its inception with additional support faith within the US and around the world. In from its members, FAITH has proudly response to special appeals from Ecumenical awarded over 1,650 grants and scholarships to Pat r i arch B ar t h ol om e w, A rchbi s h op 24

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Elpidophoros and former Archbishop Demetrios, FAITH has generously provided lead donor support to projects of symbolic significance including the rebuilding of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church at Ground Zero, the reopening of The Imvros School and development of Patriarchal Institute for Patristic Studies. For more information on FAITH, their website is thefaithendowment.org


2021 FAITH Scholarship for Academic Excellence Application Now Available “FAITH: An Endowment for Orthodoxy and Hellenism” announced that the 2021 FAITH Scholarship for Academic Excellence application is available to download at thefaithendowment.org/scholarships. Eligible applicants must be an active member of a Greek Orthodox parish and a graduating high school senior enrolling in a 4-year accredited U.S. university this fall. Scholarships are merit-based and can range up to $10,000 in value. Deadline for submission is June 21, 2021. For 17 years, FAITH has awarded academic scholarships to the community’s brightest and most promising young Greek American leaders who embody the scholarly intellect and academic achievement lauded by their Hellenic ancestors and the extraordinary spirit of community service and good citizenship in line with their Greek Orthodox Christian values. “The FAITH Endowment is an aggregator for the best young minds within the Greek community and empowers young Greek leaders to help one another succeed, pushing the development and achievement of its members to reach their absolute potential,” said Joanna Papaioannou, a 2020 FAITH Scholar studying biochemistr y at the University of Pennsylvania and interning in the pediatric oncology lab at the National Institute of Health.

class valedictorian to student government president and scholastic team captain. Studying at universities across the nation ranging from UCLA to Columbia University, FAITH Scholars use their talents, intellect and leadership to ensure a healthy and hopeful future for our community, country and world.

Scholarships are awarded on a merit basis with applicants given the option to be considered for a d d it i on a l f i n an c i a l n e e d - b a s e d allocations by submitting supporting documentation requested in application. Founded in 2004 by a group of ten visionary Greek American leaders and philanthropists, FAITH: An Endowment for Orthodoxy and Hellenism is an independent 501(c)(3) organization that supports the development of innovative educational, cultural, and scholarship programs that promote an understanding of the Greek Orthodox faith, Hellenism, and of the relationship of the two to America’s history and multicultural landscape for young people.

“FAITH’s commitment to supporting higher education is truly admirable. As a FAITH Scholar I am grateful to be part of this cohort of amazing and bright Greek American students,” said Pete Jordanides, a 2020 FAITH Recipients of the FAITH Scholarship for Scholar majoring in biochemistry and Academic Excellence will join a network of minoring in Greek studies at Ohio State over 500 young leaders from across the U.S. University. who play integral roles in their churches, communities and schools. From aspiring All applications must be sent by mail and architects and educators to future biomedical postmarked by June 21st, 2021. Scholarship For more information their website is e ng i ne e rs and d at a s c i e nt ist s , t he s e recipients will be announced in late August thefaithendowment.org. exceptional young people boast achievements and applicants are encouraged to follow and titles from National Merit Scholar and facebook.com/faithendowment for updates. 26

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A fundraising and strategic dynamo behind the campaigns of among others California Governor Gavin Newsom, Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis, San Francisco Mayor London Breed and the national campaigns of everyone from Hillary Clinton to Joe Biden to Kamala Harris, Stefanie G. Roumeliotes is the founder and chief executive of SGR Consulting, a San Francisco-based firm she founded 17 years ago to translate her “passion for supporting political candidates and causes, and enhancing the welfare of others.” She has raised hundreds of millions for political clients, but also for a roster of charities and non-profits such as the United Nations Foundation, the Foundation for AIDS Research, and Futures Without Violence group. She has also served as a San Francisco commissioner for the City and County of San Francisco, and currently serves as chair of the San Francisco-Thessaloniki Sister City Association, dedicated to bringing “sister city activities important to (both cities) including municipal, business, trade, educational and cultural exchanges.”

STEFANIE G. ROUMELIOTES

“I live my life striving to meet the ideals of philotimo,” says Roumeliotes, from her office in San Francisco, predominantly staffed by women (“I am extremely proud of the feminine power and strength that has blossomed out of SGR consulting over the years”). “My calling to work in politics and philanthropy is part of this belief that serving my community, my state, and my country gives meaning to life and stretches beyond my own self.”

AND THE ART OF FUNDING AND PROMOTING POLITICAL CANDIDATES AND THE CAUSE OF WOMEN

Photo: Todd Johnson

by Dimitri C. Michalakis

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Born and raised in Belmont, California, she attended Belmont Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church, and got her degree in World Arts & Cultures from UCLA. She now lives in Hillsborough, California with her husband, Dr. John Costouros, and their six-yearold twins Gia and James.


helping our clients create f inancial plans and tight s y s t e ms t o a c h i e ve t h e i r imminent goals while also developing fundraising programs to last them for years to come. Speaking of crisis, what’s the status of Gov. Newsom’s recall effort? I have been lucky enough to work with Governor Gavin Newsom in different roles since 2005 and have seen him face unprecedented crises head on. Hillary Clinton, Eleni Kounalakis, Stefanie Roumeliotes with Now in my role as one of former employees of SGR Consulting attend a Morning Reception Governor Newsom’s Senior in support of Eleni Kounalakis for CA on September 24th, 2018 at Private Residence in San Francisco, CA (Photo – Drew Altizer) Finance Strategists, I can tell you he is focused on COVID19 relief, economic recovery, How would you describe SGR Consulting and tackling California’s biggest challenges. Governor Newsom has been valiantly leading and its mission? What made you start it? our state, working day and night to vaccinate I started the firm when I was 27 years old and Californians and end the pandemic once and we just celebrated our 17th year in business. It for all. really was an organic process of finding my entrepreneurial self within the game of Will there be a recall? politics. I think most of us search for the right Unfortunately, there will most likely be an career while trying to do something that meets election this fall to recall Governor Newsom. our skill set. But for me, it was wondering, how Instead of our time on getting the am I going to get up every single day and feel State back focusing on track, we will be raising $50 purposeful? What is my purpose on this million educate voters on what a recall is earth? What I didn’t fully understand at the and howto dangerous it could be if we lose start of my career was that I am a natural-born Governor Newsom’s leadership. The people activist and entrepreneur who is driven by the who are behind recalling the Governor are desire to be a part of making good change extremists, many who stormed the U.S. within my everyday work life. Capitol Building this past January with known connections to white supremacy. Why fundraising? Fundraising came naturally. After spending five years working on campaigns across Northern California, I identified that there seemed to be a consistent need for a young, inexp ensive, reliable, organize d and hardworking person. I started my fundraising consulting company in March 2004 with the thought that I could provide that same needed skill set to a variety of campaigns. But you’re also a political strategist?

How does it look? This is a very intense time, and with everything that has happened in this country over the last four years, we cannot take anything for granted. From President Joe Biden to Vice President Kamala Harris to Lieutenant Governor Kounalakis, Democrats are rallying behind Governor Newsom and standing up against the Recall. Governor Newsom has earned the trust of Californians,

Now, 21 years later, my role in politics has expanded beyond asking someone for money. Having an understanding of someone’s interest and passions is part of the strategic work I do. I deeply value my relationships within the different donor communities as much as I do the candidates and causes we represent at the firm. I will only ask a donor to support an effort or candidate that I know align with their same interests and values. And you also do crisis management and communications? Our work has evolved from basic fundraising i nt o h i g h l e v e l d e v e l o p m e nt , c r i s i s management and communications strategy in both the political and non-profit sectors. It's funny because fundraising usually comes into play when someone's calling on you to help them achieve a money goal or fix a budget deficit. A lot of times the potential client is in a financial crisis but really that crisis exists because of an organization or communications breakdown. SGR Consulting has mastered the strategy of

Mayor Ed Lee and Stefanie Roumeliotes attend GREEK ORTHODOX METROPOLIS Gala Honoring Fanis Economidis on March 2nd 2013 at US in San Francisco, CA (Photo - Drew Altizer Photography)

Governor Gavin Newsom & Stefanie Roumeliotes Host President BARACK OBAMA on May 26th 2010 at US in San Francisco, CA (Photo - Drew Altizer)

and I have no doubt they will have his back should the Recall make it to the ballot. What are notable candidate campaigns you worked for and who are some of the elected officials you are involved with now? In 2000, I got my start in professional politics working for U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein and then moved on to work for Former California State Treasurer Phil Angelides. In 2007 and 2008, I served as the Northwestern Finance Director for the Hillary Clinton for President campaign. I have served on the National Finance Committee for both Hillary Clinton for President 2016 and the Biden Harris Victory Fund 2020. Today, I am proud to work with some of the most inspiring and incredible leaders and public servants in the country from CA Governor Gavin Newsom, to CA Lieutenant Governor Kounalakis, to U.S. Senator Alex Padilla, to Mayor London Breed of San Francisco. What campaign is a personal highlight for you? In 2018, I worked to elect Ambassador Eleni Kounalakis to be the Lieutenant Governor of California. It was a point of immense personal pride to help elect a Greek American woman who is also my dear friend and mentor, to be the first female Lieutenant Governor of the 5th largest economy in the world. Eleni is one of the hardest-working and most beloved Lieutenant Governors that California has ever had! What are the strides that women have made in American politics so far and how can they continue that progress? Does the Harris ascendancy to VP herald a new age of politics for women candidates? We have a long way to go until we achieve gender equity and gender parity in this country. From the corporate world to public office, women are underrepresented, even more so for women of color. The election of Kamala Harris, the first Black and first Indian woman to win the Vice Presidency, is historic COVER STORY

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George Marcus, Stefanie Roumeliotes, Mayor Ed Lee and Congresswoman Anna Eshoo attend GREEK ORTHODOX METROPOLIS Gala Honoring Fanis Economidis on March 2nd 2013 at US in San Francisco, CA (Photo - Drew Altizer Photography)

and should be celebrated. Seeing her take the oath of office and knowing that so many women and young girls saw themselves reflected for the first time will have profound impacts on our next generation of leaders. But they will need support, guidance, and a system that will help them succeed. We need to redefine what a successful politician looks like. It may not always be a man in a suit––it might be a working mom in sneakers. How do you change the game? The way to change the game is to recruit and s upp or t wom e n c an d i d at e s w h o are authentically themselves and who can share their stories with the public. Fundraising allows us to work closely with candidates, and the strongest candidates know why they are called to public office and why they are fit to serve. This allows them to walk into any room with the confidence that they belong. How did you survive the Trump win over Hillary? What did you learn from it as a political consultant? The 2016 election was brutal. The floor fell out from underneath so many of us and refocused all of our energy for the next four years. It felt like a nightmare. Living it day in and day out was tough. While the painful losses that come with this industry can be opportunities for growth and change, they historically come at the expense of minority communities and vulnerable populations. It is imperative that we fight to protect everything we care about because our institutions, systems, and norms can be shattered much faster than I think many of us had realized. How do we protect our democracy? The work to protect our democracy means focusing on all the incredible candidates who stepped up in the aftermath of Trump’s win. We’ve seen just how impactful local school boards, county commissions, and state governments are. Fundraising plays a critical role in who we elect because who we choose to support financially makes a difference in who is successful at the ballot box. My focus at SGR Consulting is to continually work with and support candidates who are committed to building a more inclusive and safe world. Is the fundraising and political strategy different for women candidates? 30

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It took almost 250 years for this country to elect a woman to the Executive Branch of our Government! Women have made long strides in making millions of cracks in the glass ceiling––but we unfortunately still have a long way to go. I am proud to have played a part in helping to elect the first African-American woman Mayor of San Francisco and first female Lieutenant Governor of California in 2018. It is really an incredible feeling to break barriers and show people a different side of leadership. How has the pandemic affected current politics?

COVID-19 has exposed society’s inequalities when it comes to income, gender, and race. Women across the board have borne the brunt of the pandemic and that applies to women candidates and political operatives too. Women were the first to have to leave the workforce to home school their children. Most had to put their careers on pause or maybe not return at all. Domestic violence against women and children has been the shadow pandemic during the crisis and at the same time our country is undergoing a racial justice reckoning.

What is the current state of politics and race and women?

And many of your former staffers have thrived? I am extremely proud of the feminine power and strength that has blossomed out of SGR Consulting over the years. Many of our former employees have moved on to attend top business and law schools, work in the C a lifor nia G over nor and L ieutenant Governor’s offices, and to lead national organizations like Emerge America. Do you ever imagine running for office yourself? I did consider running for office many years ago, but came to the realization that the best use of my instincts, talent and skills was to work on campaigns and help propel others into elected office. I find the most joy and fulfillment from working with incredible leaders who are called to serve in public office. Master planning and creating successful strategies for candidates, initiatives and causes is ultimately what makes me tick. I’m an operative at heart. When all is said and done, the experience of owning and running SGR Consulting and the years I’ve spent in politics have helped me unveil my inner warrior and understand my own grit in the game of life. And your own Greek power? My Greek tribe helped me break into politics. Greek community leaders like A n g e l o Ts a k o p o u l o s , George Marcus, L i e u t e n a nt G o v e r n o r Kounalakis and my extended Greek family––such as my koumbara, Kristin Bertolina and my nona, Tula Mouroufas––helped guide me. Knowing I had a strong soundboard in my most early and vulnerable years in campaign politics gave me the foundational support I needed to ultimately succeed. I will be forever grateful to my Greek community.

As more women, particularly women of color, continue to step into the political arena, we must meet them with tools and strategies to help them succeed. Understanding how to handle the challenges of childcare, personal obligations, and societal pressures gives me a unique opportunity to connect with a female candidate Stefanie Roumeliotes with her mother, W h a t i s y o u r differently than I Valerie Roumeliotes and Kamala background? Harris in Hillsborough, CA at the would if I were a I am t he d au g hte r of home of Stefanie Roumeliotes & man. We continue to Va l e r i e a n d D e m e t r i Dr. John Costouros on May 18, 2019 make progress in Roumeliotes. My mother (Photo – Drew Altizer Photography) electing more and was born in Boston and more women to both of her parents immigrated to America office but we cannot take our foot off the gas. from Epirus, Greece. My father was born on Was it an intentional choice for your staff to the island of Lesvos and came to the United be predominantly women? States at 12 years old through Ellis Island. Both Quickly after starting SGR Consulting, I of my parents moved to California from the realized how many young women were Northeast in the late 1960’s. I grew up working in campaign politics and I knew spending my summers with relatives on the within the first year that the company must beaches of Maine, New Hampshire and create an environment for women to bond, Massachusetts learning all about my family’s flourish and rise. I then intentionally created a journey from Greece and what it was like to team culture, where young women could be assimilate and prosper in American society. mentored, trained, and feel empowered to Did you visit Greece growing up? grow within our political and philanthropic ecosystem––and where they would forever be Although I did not visit Greece until I was a teenager, I was raised with a deep connection a part of the SGR family. and love for my Greek culture and heritage.


an d c a d e nc e to p ol it i c s an d t he What do you do when you’re not working? performing arts. Attracted to both, the parallel evolved into a desire to combine When I do get downtime, I love watching a good thriller or going on a long walk. My daily movement, energy and purpose. workouts keep me strong and sane. I must H o w h a s y o u r G r e e k h e r i t a g e a d m i t , my g r e at e s t j oy i s s p e n d i n g contributed to your ideals? uninterrupted time with my kids or turning up the music and dancing my heart out with I have tremendous pride in our Greek them. Before the pandemic, I had a more heritage and the values instilled in me. robust social life and often traveled to Mexico For many years, I have been involved in and the Napa Valley. helping to rebuild the Annunciation C at h e d r a l o f t h e S a n F r a n c i s c o I was lucky enough to spend the summer of Metropolis located in the heart of the 2019 in Greece. I can't wait to return to the Stefanie Roumeliotes, Chelsea Handler, Mayor London Mission District in San Francisco. I have Motherland to breathe in the sea air, bathe in Breed of San Francisco with former employees of SGR also supported many philanthropic the gorgeous sunlight and gather with friends Consulting at a Women's Event in support of London efforts of the Annunciation Cathedral’s and family for delicious meals. Breed for Mayor in May of 2018 - San Francisco, CA Philoptochos. I serve as the Chair of the San Growing up Greek in America was a joy--a continuous celebration of family, friends and Francisco - Thessaloniki Sister City life. I was very involved in the Belmont Holy Association. The late Mayor Ed Lee of Cross Greek Orthodox church, attended San Francisco appointed me to this Sunday school every week and even competed position in 2017. I am honored to be in Greek dance from a little girl until I was w o r k i n g w i t h l e a d e r s i n o u r done with college. As many Greek Americans community such as George Marcus, have experienced, there was always an Lieutenant Governor Kounalakis and Victor Makras to foster a strong abundance of pride in being Greek! relationship between our City and Was politics and fundraising your first Thessaloniki. It is my goal to support calling? projects and initiatives that help create To be honest, I was always caught between s m a r t e r, h e a l t h i e r, a n d m o r e San Francisco Metropolitan Gerasimos, Mayor Ed Lee, politics and the performing arts. I ran for innovative communities. We are Stefanie Roumeliotes, Valerie and Demetri Roumeliotes c u r re nt ly pl an n i ng an of f i c i a l student office every year from sixth grade to and Ioannis Andreadis attend GREEK ORTHODOX senior year of high school, alongside delegation trip to Thessaloniki and METROPOLIS Gala Honoring Fanis Economidis on auditioning for musical theater roles and other parts of Greece with Mayor March 2nd 2013 in San Francisco, CA competing in dance. There is a similar beat Breed of San Francisco. (Photo – Drew Altizer Photography)


strategy στρατηγική

Endy Zemenides is the Executive Director of the Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC), a national advocacy organization for the Greek American community. To learn more about HALC, visit www.hellenicleaders.com

THE HARD WORK STARTS NOW By Endy Zemenides “The American people honor all those impose a “Gag Rule” — even resulting in the Armenians who perished in the genocide that dismissal of the US Ambassador to Armenia began 106 years ago today.” John Evans, for supporting the recognition of the Armenian Genocide. In the face of such With these words President Biden ended consistent pusillanimity, Ankara almost has to decades of appeasing Turkey over the issue of be forgiven for its strident — albeit incorrect genocide recognition. Although this move — belief that the US needs Turkey more than had been promised during the 2020 campaign, Turkey needs the US. although it has been telegraphed for over a month, although Biden himself told Erdogan This long time combination of cynical he was going to do it a day earlier, there was political expediency and cowardice was not still much angst up until the moment the suddenly replaced with political courage — White House released its statement. yet. President Biden’s stance towards Turkey both during the campaign and in his first 100 days give credence to those who have long argued that but for President Obama, then Vice President Biden would have been tougher on Turkey. Still, the US-Turkey relationship is on much different footing in 2021 than it was in 2016. Starting in 2014, even the Obama Administration was beginning to express serious concerns about the reliability of Turkey as an ally. On April 24th, 2021 President Biden recognized Today, there really is no question. the Armenian Genocide by the Ottoman Young Turks In a Washington where the Senate recognized the Armenian Genocide unanimously, where To label this recognition “overdue” reveals Turkey was ejected from an F35 program in how bland the English language is. The which it was a key production cog, where memory of those lost to the 30 year Genocide CAATSA sanctions were imposed on Turkey, of Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians — and in which the Eastern Mediterranean described in detail in Benny Morris’s and Dror Ze’evi’s brilliant book — was consistently Security and Energy Partnership Act was dishonored by the stubborn and immoral passed, this latest move made complete sense. r e f u s a l o f A d m i n i s t r a t i o n a f t e r There are few Americans today that accept the Administration to recognize this crime. They premise that the US needs Turkey more than each had all the cover they needed — the Turkey needs the US. International Association of Genocide Scholars, parliaments and governments Maybe the Armenian Genocide was destined around the world recognized the Armenian to be recognized this year. After all, it is the Genocide with little if any consequence Biden Administration that has committed to conning out of Ankara. President Obama making human rights a central part of performed rhetorical gymnastics — using the American foreign policy. What better way to words “the first mass atrocity” and noting that signal that than to abandon the precedent of looking the other way when an American ally his personal views had not changed. is involved? Still, too many adhered to the belief that Turkey was so important to the American But much more must be done. The same week foreign policy that they allowed Turkey to recognition came, the US Commission on 32

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International Religious Freedom issued its annual report and detailed the lasting legacy of the 30 years Genocide — continued religious oppression against Greek Orthodox, Armenian and Assyrian Christians as well as other religious minorities. It has almost been a year since Turkey converted Hagia Sophia into a mosque against international outcry and against the very UNESCO conventions it benefits from, and there has been no solid pushback. And Turkey doubles down on its geno cide denia l, protest ing Gre e ce’s commemoration of the Greek Genocide and sending its official Foreign Ministry trolls to tweet that the Greek Genocide is a hoax. Germany became a responsible member of the community of nations and a leader in Europe when it came to terms with its World War II era crimes. No amount of negotiations, trade, appeasement will transform Turkey into a reliable and stable regional and global actor if it does not reckon with its crimes. Trying to make Ankara happy by avoiding the designation “genocide” or not using the terms “invasion” and “occupation” have only made Turkey more irresponsible and revanchist. We have fortunate timing when it comes to Greek-American contributions to the hard work ahead. If Cyprus talks are going to resume, the rule of law must be sacrosanct, and Turkey’s oppression of Christianity in occupied Cyprus must be reckoned with. With May 19 approaching, we must detail how the experience of the Greeks (and Assyrians) show that the Armenian Genocide was not merely an exception to the rule. And we should be incorporating a comprehensive teaching of the Greek Genocide into every Greek school and Sunday school, a memorial in every Greek Orthodox Parish. Finally, with the upcoming visit of the Ecumenical Patriarch, we cannot miss the opportunity to emphasize his plight as a continuation of the same genocide. The millions of victims of this 30 year G eno cide re ceive d s ome me asure of vindication on April 24th, 2021. But to honor their memories, we must end the legacy of that Genocide.


My soul is Greek, she says in an interview with NEO By Kelly Fanarioti When she was a child, Elizabete Botsaris remembers her father telling her stories from his participation in the Greek-Italian war, as well as the legacy of the Botsaris surname. Elizabete, a 46-year-old architect who lives in Sao Paolo, Brazil, loved her father’s stories and feels immensely proud of her ancestral history.

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‘’Markos Botsaris was my father’s great-great uncle,’’ she says proudly, during our Skype conversation. Speaking with the passion of a Latin-Mediterranean woman, she remembers countless hours listening with her brother to her father’s stories of Markos Botsaris. “When he was alive, my father, Vasilis Mihail Botsaris, had a large cross tattooed across his entire chest. He was always a very proud man. Besides my blood and my surname, the story of Botsaris is also a part of me.” At the age of 20, Elizabete went to the Consulate in Sao Paolo to make a request to be granted Greek citizenship. Her father, a seaman who had travelled around the world, was born in Athens in 1928, and she was baptized Orthodox in a Greek church in Brazil by an Orthodox priest according to all the respective traditions, and went to a Greek school called “Institudo Educacional Ateniense”.


the age of 12 to 18, eventually went to Brazil looking for a better future. He worked as an electrician, merchant, bricklayer, plumber, and l at e r, s e a m a n . W h e n Elizabete was born, her parents were not married, and this is one of the reasons that the Greek authorities deny her Greek citizenship.

“I produce from 1,000 to 3,000 sweets a month, sell them to natives and Greeks who live here, and they are always asking me for more,” she states happily and continues: “I love the process, not just baking, but the packing and delivery as well. I am also writing a letter to each client, describing all the ingredients and how the sweets need to be eaten, because

“Here, in Brazil, it is not a problem to live and start a family with someone else. My father has signed the papers which confirm that I am his daughter. My surname is Greek. I am not inventing all this. My father passed away in 2003, and I am still crying e v e r y t i m e I s e e my documents and applications for Greek citizenship.” “At the Consulate, the old woman there was not welcoming. ‘Can you see this file on the table? I am busy and your situation is extremely complex. So, do not disturb me because I do not have time to deal with your case,’ she said to me. That was the first time I tried and I was totally disappointed: I felt incredibly sad. So, I decided to wait for a while and try again.”

“My mission in life is to preserve the traditions and promote the Greek culture”

In order to promote Greek culture and gastronomy in Brazil, Elizabete produces a line artisanal and traditional sweets, like Christmas honey cookies, also known as melomakarona, almond snowballs, and baklava. The name of the mini sweets production line is “BOT (the nickname of To this day, 26 years later, Elizabete is still B otsaris) D O CES GREGOS” and the w r e s t l i n g Brazilians are very excited about her delicious w i t h t h e flavors. G r e e k bureaucracy to obtain her G r e e k citizenship, although she meets all the requirements . “I am Greek, my soul is Greek, but I do not know why I am asked to prove that I a m a daughter of Vasilis Mihail Botsaris, I cannot understand the reason they deny my citizenship. My father fought for the Motherland, and so, in my understanding, it is their duty to help me. The Botsaris family gave everything for Greece. My special case needs a more careful consideration, and it cannot be dismissed with generic assumptions.” Elizabete’s father, after serving in the Greek army during the Second World War old, from

Brazilians don’t know. For example, a guy told me that he tried to eat a kourambie with a knife and fork. And I said ‘No, you need to have it in your hands and put it in your mouth.’” (Laughs). She came to Greece twice, in 2018 and 2019, when she asked for a meeting with the Director of Citizenship Department M i n i s t r y o f I n t e r i o r, C h r i s Saritzoglou, to discuss with him the status of her request. Unfortunately, Saritzoglou was on summer vacation and informed her that her case would be dealt with by the end of 2019. Then the Covid pandemic struck and all the replies she received last year from the Ministry of Interior repeatedly stated that during Covid-19 all processes were stopped and that she had to wait. “I want to come again to Greece, learn the language, and meet my uncles, cousins and other relatives, and I also hope to get the double cit izenship, to b e Gre ek and Brazilian. It is my birthright, according to my upbringing and education, to the dual nationality that will allow me to honor my origins and my surname. The legacy of Botsaris lives on through all of us the descendants and blood relatives, honoring our history, regardless of where we live.”

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by Markos Papadatos

Academy Award winner George Chakiris ("West Side Story") chatted about his illustrious career in the entertainment business, and his highly-anticipated new book "My West Side Story: A Memoir." Chakiris once said, "No matter how dark the moment, love and hope are always possible." This wise quotation by him is as relevant as ever. Regarding his new book, My West Side Story: A Memoir, he noted, "I had never thought about doing a book. When this happened, I looked forward to doing that. I thought it would be a really nice experience to stay connected to people and to audiences. I really appreciated that part of it. Writing this book was cathartic." He was born in Norwood, Ohio. He is the son of Steven and Zoe Chakiris, both of which were immigrants from Greece. He was a graduate of the American School of Dance. On his Greek heritage, he said, "The very first time I went to Greece was in 1974. I had just finished working on a BBC series in London, and then I flew to Mykonos. My parents were from Platiano, a Greek village in Asia Minor. My background is Greek but it's based in Turkey. There is nothing like the Greek islands to visit!" "I loved being on 'The Carol Burnett Show,' she was so good and so kind," he added. "I enjoyed doing a Greek dance on her show. As a Greek, you simply cannot not do it. It's important to dance because of the way that you felt and because of your background. Everybody loves Carol, and everyone loves doing her show."

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In 1974, Chakiris made his film debut in the chorus of Song of Love. Later he appeared in several small roles, usually as a dancer or a member of the chorus in various musical films. He was one of the dancers in Marilyn Monroe's "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" number in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes released in 1953. He again appeared as a dancer alongside Rosemary Clooney in "White Christmas" in "Love, You Didn't Do Right by Me." In 1961, George's greatest success came with the film West Side Story, for which he won the Golden Globe and the Academy Award for "Best Supporting Actor" for his role as Bernardo, the leader of the Sharks. "Winning the Oscar was an indescribable feeling. When my name was announced at that time, it was exciting, and I knew


something wonderful had happened," he said. "It's impossible to describe that feeling. It's like a winning lottery ticket but not expecting to. You really don't dream for that to happen, and when it does, you are so surprised."

Working in the theater is a great way to be with an audience and to learn. The audience always lets you know how you are doing. Keep working on your craft, of course."

Chakiris still keeps in touch with his West Side Story co-star Rita Moreno, whom he describes as his "great friend." "Rita is so wonderful," he said.

Aside from movies, he has performed on Broadway and on television. In the early 1960s, he embarked on a career as a pop singer, resulting in a couple of Ironically enough, both actors (Chakiris minor hit songs. In 1960, he and Moreno) had two of the shortest recorded one single with noted Academy Award acceptance speeches on producer Joe Meek. record. "My speech was short and hers was He worked more in television in equally short," he admitted. the 1970s and 1980s, appearing He had also appeared as Riff, the leader of on such shows as Wonder the Jets, in the West End in London. He Woman, Medical Center, Hawaii starred as a doctor in the film Diamond Five-O, Dallas, Murder She Head released in 1963, opposite Charlton Wrote, and the daytime soap Heston and Yvette Mimieux, and in 1967, he opera Santa Barbara, where he appeared alongside Gene Kelly in Jacques played Daniel Espinoza. In Superboy, he appeared as Professor Peterson during the series's first two seasons from 1988 to 1990. His last role to date was in a 1996 episode of the sitcom Last of the Summer Wine.

George Chakiris won the Golden Globe and the Best Supporting Actor Academy Award for West Side Story

Demy's French musical Les Demoiselles de Rochefort (The Young Girls of Rochefort). He shared that he was thrilled to receive the Honorary Orpheus Award at the 12th annual Los Angeles Greek Film Festival. "Oh my gosh. That was a great evening," he exclaimed. "I so appreciated that. It was a beautiful happening for me, and it was a fantastic evening." For young and aspiring actors, he said, “Don't ever give power of attorney to anybody since nobody needs that. Also, be prepared for any opportunity that comes your way such as working in the theater.

On the key to longevity in the entertainment industr y, he said, "it happens or doesn't happen based on circumstances, or what becomes available to people over the course of their careers. If you really love what you are doing and you want to stick around as much as possible, then longevity is possible, but it all depends on the circumstances in your life and your career as well."

His passion for making sterling silver jewelry has turned into a new occupation. "That was a hobby and it became a small business," he said. "We all like to be creative, make things, and do things."

He defined the word success as "how you deal with people in your life and being fair, kind, and helping people whenever you He listed West Side Story as a career- can." defining moment for him. "I remember, as a kid in school, I never For his fans, Chakiris concluded, "I hope liked kids bullying other kids," he said. anybody that reads this book enjoys it. To "Working with Jerome Robbins and playing write this book was an interesting endeavor. that character [Bernardo] was really close to It's basically a book about growing up and my heart since it tackled racism. I care about my exp er iences b efore I b ecame a people and I feel that people should be cared professional, and most importantly, the about." experiences that I've had over the years with so many incredible people that I have If he weren't in acting and entertainment, he maintained lifelong friendships. It's about revealed that he would be a lawyer as his my work and my career, and it's about alternate career choice. "Lawyers can take people." care of people and help people," he said. "I care about how people are treated. I want to be of social service. I would love to be in a PHOTO: profession where I can help people get GEORGE CHAKIRIS ARCHIVES treated well." NEWS & NOTES

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by Gregory Pappas*

Plans for the Disney film about the rags to Production will begin later this year in both basketball in Europe before moving to the U.S. riches story of Giannis Antetokounmpo are Greece and the United States, with the in 2013 to play for the Milwaukee Bucks. taking shape, including the casting for the lead majority of the scenes to be shot in the same roles in the film, according to an exclusive H e q u i c k l y story in Variety. Newcomer Uche Agada will established himself star as the NBA great in the film, which is titled as a major star on “Greek Freak” in honor of the nickname the team, and has Antetokounmpo earned for his otherworldly since been named a basketball skills. In addition, Yetide Badaki is two-time NBA Most joining the film as Vera, Antetokounmpo’s Valuable Player, a mother, while Dayo Okeniyi will play Charles, five-time All Star, his father. and NBA Defensive Player of the Year, The role will mark Agada’s onscreen debut. He among other auditioned after seeing a screengrab on accolades. He A basketball court Instagram of an announcement about the signed a five-year in the Sepolia open casting call from Antetokounmpo’s contract extension neighborhood of Twitter. with the Bucks in central Athens where December that is Antetokounmpo got reportedly valued at The film is being developed by The Walt his start on the court $228 million. Disney Studios for streamer Disney Plus. It was first announced as being in development central Athens neighborhoods where is now painted with back in 2019. The live-action film is inspired Antetokounmpo used to hawk CDs and shoot his likeness. by the true story of Antetokounmpo’s life and hoops. family. Arash Amel is attached to write with The article first appeared in The Pappas Post Born to Nigerian immigrants in Greece, (pappaspost.com). Gregory Pappas is the Akin Omotoso directing. Ante tokou n mp o st ar te d out pl ay i ng publisher.

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Knives Out 2 with Daniel Craig to be filmed in Greece this Summer

Actor George Kosturos Talks “American FIGHTER” Film

PHOTO: LEXI JOHNSON

The follow-up to director Rian Johnson’s popular movie Knives Out (2019) will begin filming in Greece. Production will reportedly start on June 28. The movie will see star actor Daniel Craig reprise his role as detective Benoit Blanc solving yet another crime murder mystery. Knives Out was one of the most well received movies of 2019, both commercially and critically.

by Markos Papadatos Greek-American actor George Kosturos chatted about "American Wrestler," "A California Christmas," being a coproducer of "Born a Champion," and he shared a few insights about the upcoming film "American Fighter."

Rian Johnson This sparked the idea of sequels as Netflix reportedly invested $400 million for striking a deal with director Rian Johnson for Knives Out 2 and Knives Out 3 respectively. It will be interesting to see what direction the movie will take and how it will work with its Greek setting. Where in Greece it will be filmed remains unclear although over the past decades many Greek islands have been filming locations of numerous Hollywood movies. From the greekcitytimes.com 40

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Kosturos played the role of Ali Jahani in American Wrestler: The Wizard, which was directed by Alex Ranarivelo. "I had the best time of my life. It was my first leading role and it came together really well," he said. "It was fun. I won several 'Best Actor' awards for it. I had a great team around me. Working with Alex Ranarivelo was really cool. He is one of the nicest directors. He is super methodical and I worked with him several times after this film.” Kosturos was also a co-producer on Born a Champion, which stars Sean Patrick Flaner y and Dennis Quaid. Alex Ranarivelo also directed this martial arts action film. "That was so great, and I enjoyed being a part of it," he said. This spring, he is stoked for American Fighter to be released, where he is reprising his role as Ali Jahani. It is the sequel of American Wrestler: The

Wizard, and this forthcoming film was also directed by Piccinino. "It was cool and interesting to reprise this role. It was a bit of a transformation from the first movie. It was a lot of fun to bring this character back. Shaun Paul Piccinino is super fun to work with. He was great," Kosturos said about his experience working on American F i g ht e r. " Ev e r y on e at E S X Entertainment feels like a family."

Most recently, he played Liam in A California Christmas, which was directed by Shaun Paul Piccinino and written by Lauren Swickard. "I was a co-producer on this movie and this role was more of a cameo for me. It was one of the first movies that resumed production during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it was cool to be working again." He also opened up about his Greek heritage. "I am 100 percent Greek. My grandfather was a Greek Orthodox priest for 55 years in San Francisco. He's originally from Corinth in Greece. My mom is from Athens and I grew up in the church, I was an altar boy until I was 13 years old." Kosturos defined the word success as "being happy." "That doesn't mean the most money or the biggest career, success means a more well-balanced life." For his fans and supporters, he said, "American Wrestler is a must-see, it's a film where you root for the underdog. It was such a privilege to be in that movie. Fans and viewers should get excited because later this year, the sequel American Fighter will come out. They should get ready for another fun and exciting movie." To learn more about actor George, check out his IMDb page and follow him on Instagram.


Tragically, whereas Erdogan’s egregious acts by Prof. Alon Ben-Meir* against women are unforgiveable, men in many parts of the world seem to relish abusing women to satisfy their chauvinism, as the victimization of women seems to be the only way they can assert their manhood. In nearly 50 countries around the world, marital rape is not criminalized and women face criminal prosecution for being the victims of rape. Abortion is still illegal in most countries, female genital mutilation remains common, and honor-killings are still a practice in many countries. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the majority of people living in poverty globally are women, and are less likely to have access to healthcare and education. Amanda Klasing, acting co-director of women’s rights at Human Rights Watch, observed that “Reports of increases in gender-based violence mask a larger risk that women in the shadows or margins of society will suffer violence without remedy or reprieve if governments don’t act quickly.”

It is hard to find something more scornful than Erdogan’s sudden decision to withdraw Tu rke y f rom t he C ou nc i l of Eu rop e Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence. The treaty, which is known as the Istanbul Convention, was finalized in Istanbul in 2011, no less, and aims to protect victims, and end impunity for perpetrators of vile acts against women. Erdogan hosted the signing of the treaty, which makes it all the more absurd that he would be the one to withdraw from it—a contemptible move that is surpassed only by his moral insolvency. The EU and the US must not allow such a travesty to stand, which will have disastrous and tragic consequences for nearly half of Turkey’s population. They must directly warn Erdogan that annulling Turkey’s ratification of the Istanbul Convention is simply unacceptable and will bear severe consequences.

It is not enough for governments across the world to simply pass laws that strengthen legal frameworks to protect and empower women and girls. The facts demonstrate that the laws are not implemented; women in Turkey and elsewhere are still being killed, married as “Withdrawing from the Istanbul Convention children, and trafficked into forced labor and is a disaster for millions of women and sexual slavery. children living in this country.” Erdogan’s withdrawal from the Convention is a The Biden administration has thankfully continuation of his brutal rampage and purges worked quickly in addressing the Trump against his own people. Since the failed administration’s criminal negligence of military coup in 2016 in particular (which he women’s sexual and reproductive rights, with may well have orchestrated), he has Secretary of State Antony Blinken declaring systematically violated his peoples’ basic that access to contraception and reproductive human rights and ruthlessly marginalized any health care for women are universal, global opposition to his designs to spread his Islamist human rights that must be monitored and upheld by the United States. doctrine.

All the more, Erdogan’s revocation of the treaty sends a clear message to other tyrants that they can do as they wish to women with immunity. In Turkey, more than 5,000 women are languishing in jails with their children (780 of whom are mere infants) and are subject to abuse and frequent rape by prison guards, sometimes to extort a confession about a male relative. Lesbian and transgender women face For someone who claims to be a reformer, pervasive discrimination. Erdogan has willingly succumbed to the whims of a minority of bigoted Islamist men In Turkey, where Erdogan addresses the who view women as inferior humans whose people in the name of divinity, women and place is at home, serving at the pleasure of men girls face gender-based violence every day, as if who still live in the dark ages. Instead of such incomprehensible acts are sanctioned by standing against the widespread domestic God. The irony is that Erdogan considers violence in his country, where 38 percent of himself as a devout Muslim, when in fact he women who have ever been married have cares less about the pain he inflicts on others. been subjected to violence from an intimate He is the opposite of what Gandhi observed: “I partner and where 300 women were killed last call him religious who understands the year, Erdogan shamelessly chooses to suffering of others.” The organization We Will Stop Femicide Platform (KCDP) reports that a abandon the Convention. fourfold increase in violence has occurred Amnesty International Turkey Director Ece since 2011 against women, solely because of Unver observed with deep concern that their gender. 42

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In this vein, President Biden and EU leaders should call on Erdogan to rescind this appalling decision or else suffer severe economic sanctions, be denied an audience with any Western leader, be prohibited from participating in any future NATO exercises, and be excluded from intelligence-sharing. This, in combination with Biden’s revocation of the “global gag rule” in January, should send a positive message to Turkish women and across the world that their rights are recognized and respected. I applaud the Turkish women who poured into the streets in Istanbul last week for their courage to protest against Erdogan’s despicable turn against women in his own country. Every man and woman of conscience must raise their voices to condemn this ruthless dictator who seeks to assert his insecure masculinity by denying women’s rights. * Alon Ben-Meir is a professor and Senior Fellow at New York University’s Center for Global Affairs and Senior Fellow at the World Policy Institute.


“Venizelos Foundation USA” Launched Operations The Venizelos Foundation, USA recently launched its operations in the United States to honor Greek Statesman Eleftherios Venizelos. The new organization aims to educate, preserve, and promote the research and study of the Greek politician and statesman’s life and work and his impact on Modern Greek history and world affairs. “I am truly excited for this new Foundation here in the US, where we can promote and preserve the history of our great statesman and ethnarch”, said John Manos, President and founding member. “Our National Board has been in discussions the last few years with the Venizelos Foundation in Crete and their Chairman Mr. Ni k o Pa p a d a k i s t o p u t forward this effort. We look forward to organizing our events and lectures here in the US in the near future”. The Venizelos Foundation USA seeks to achieve its mission through activities such as: • Organizing educational programs, writing informative periodicals, and producing audiovisual material

John Manos, President and founding member of the“Venizelos Foundation USA”

• Collaborating on research with US universities, as well as with the sister o r g a n i z a t i o n , Na t i o n a l Research Foundation “Eleftherios K. Venizelos”, located in Chania, Crete, the b i r t hp l a c e o f t h e g r e at statesman

• Assisting in compiling the writings of Eleftherios Venizelos and promoting the publishing of his works • Awarding prizes for literary works covering relevant areas of interest • Awarding grants for pertinent University-level research • Organizing conferences, exhibitions, and lectures in the United States The Venizelos Foundation USA will be operating in lockstep with its sister organization, the National Research Foundation “Eleftherios K. Venizelos”, which since March 2000 has been collecting and organizing archives, conducting conferences, publishing books and periodicals, cooperating with Greek and foreign universities and research institutions and running the Eleftherios Venizelos Residence Museum in Chalepa, Chania, Crete. 44

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Eleftherios Kyriakou Venizelos (Ελευθέριος Κυριάκου Βενιζέλος, 11 August] 1864 – 18 March 1936) was a statesman and a prominent leader of the Greek national liberation movement. He is noted for his c o nt r i b u t i o n t o t h e expansion of Greece and promotion of liberaldemocratic policies.[As leader of the Liberal Party, he was elected eight times as Prime M i n i s t e r of G re e c e , serving from 1910 to 1920 and from 1928 to 1933. Venizelos had such profound influence on Eleftherios the internal and external affairs of Greece that he is Venizelos credited with being "the maker of modern Greece" and is still widely known as the “Ethnarch” (roughly translated “Nation's Leader”). The Venizelos Foundation USA will seek to further its Greek counterpart’s mission in the United States. It is comprised of a volunteer board sharing a passion for the life and work of the Greek statesman Eleftherios Venizelos.


hellenes without borders Talkin’ About the Revolution

Alexander Billinis is a writer and lawyer in Chicago, Illinois. He and his family returned to the US after nearly a decade in Greece, the UK, and Serbia. He writes prolifically on Balkan topics. His books, The Eagle has Two Faces: Journeys through Byzantine Europe, and Hidden Mosaics: An Aegean Tale, are available from Amazon.com. Fewer people are aware that Howe, and others, in part horrified by the enslavement of Greeks particularly after the Chios Massacre and Ibra him Pasha’s depre dat ions in t he Pe l op on n e s u s , re tu r n e d t o A m e r i c a determined to exorcize the demon of slavery in the United States. These are just one of many examples, of how our Greek story is also an American story, one that needs to be told. So how is this done?

Luckily, there are plenty of fora for such discussions. The East Mediterranean Business Middle school teacher Ms. Hawley (left), Eric Hill (middle) & Eric’s daughter (right) previous Culture Alliance (EMBCA) for the past several years has sponsored programs and to the EMBCA (w/ introduction by founder/president Lou Katsos streaming in from New York) presentation “The Greek Revolution of 1821 is YOUR history … because it is American outreach to the wider community as well as more Hellenic community centered. One of history.” Streamed from the classroom to 9 Plato Academy middle schools: TarponSprings, my favorite EMBCA events was a night of Clearwater, Tampa, St. Petersberg, Largo, Palm Harbor, Trinity & Pinellas Park. music comparing Rebetika to the Blues, in cooperation with the Greater Harlem What good is it to talk about ourselves—to that the Greek Revolution was the West’s Chamber of Commerce. ourselves? “Cause Celebre” of the age, and that even as the governments and business interests of the While my university work rarely covers issues I am paraphrasing the words of a good friend West hardened their hearts to the Greek cause, concerning Greece and the Greek community, who, like me, has spent years conveying the the common people rallied to Greece’s my outreach work into the local and larger Hellenic message outward, to the wider freedom. The common people, but also the community, both individually and with community. “rock stars” of the era, people like Lord Byron. EMBCA, has been successful. I have spoken about the Battle of the Atlantic from a Greek How and why, would people listen to our Or the second nation in the Western perspective at local museums, at EMBCA story? Hemisphere to gain its independence, via a events, and at Clemson’s Lifelong Learning slave revolt, Haiti, which was also the first Center which caters to the large retiree This is the question that every marketer must nation to recognize Greece’s independence in community in the area. ask, and, as a university lecturer, I have to ask 1822. There are the black American myself this same question every time I get in Philhellenes who saw in Greece’s enslavement I am currently in the middle of a series at the front of class, either in person or, for much of a parallel to what was going on in the US, and Lifelong Learning Center talking about “The the past year, virtually. they set off to fight for Greece’s freedom. American Revolution Exported: Greece 1821,” where I guide the participants through the Context is Key . . . There is Daniel Webster, the fiery and learned events of 1821 via an American prism, and I tie American Senator, who admonished his past with present. Other good friends, There is no question that the Greek colleagues for not doing the right thing and colleagues from the EMBCA, have taken to Bicentennial is going to mean more to us who assisting the Greeks who were fighting the telling a version of the same story to multiare Greek than it will mean to others. It is here same enemy as the Americans only a dozen or ethnic American schoolchildren attending the that a subtle shift from commemoration to so years before, in the Barbary Wars. William nine Plato Academy (Hellenic) middle contextualization makes all the difference. Washington Townshend, nephew of the schools in Florida. The “Why this is Important” instead of just Father of our country, who gave his life in the “What Happened.” rebirth of another. He is buried on my island, Sister Cities Programs linking American and Hydra. Even to a bored class of Introduction to Greek municipalities are another means of There is no problem with being enthusiastic US History, connecting Greece to such names pairing the American story with the Greek. I when you tell a story. In fact, you absolutely and events makes an impression. was particularly proud, last year, to help have to be engaged in your story. The listener broker such a relationship between my instinctively responds and knows when you There is one of my favorites, Dr. Samuel ancestral island, Hydra, and the “Greekest are invested or not. Perhaps the biggest Gridley Howe of Massachusetts, who Place in America,” Tarpon Springs. The desire probl e m w it h Gre e c e’s of f i c i a l 2 0 2 1 organized aid for Greece, administered to the of people to connect is innate in our wiring, organization—and its appendages in the sick and wounded in country, and as a skilled and the lockdowns of this past year, if Diaspora—was its obvious lack of spirit and duelist, fought valiantly both the Turk and the anything, make people more interested to style a term described best in Greek as c o r r u p t i o n o f s o m e o f t h e G r e e k form relationships. Why not join your “Peitharcheia.” The absence of peitharcheia revolutionaries. Dr. Howe’s love for Greece did American home with your Greek homeland, will never win you hearts and minds. not end at independence, he helped bring and let both learn from each other? orphans to America, and later in life, returned However, peitharcheia combined with context to help the Cretans who sought time and again H a v e t h e c o n v e r s a t i o n . M a k e i t often will. Reminding the listener and reader to unite with free Greece. contextual—and people will listen. 46

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Righteous Muslims: Paying the price for 1821 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:13

by Dean Kalimniou

Ottoman atrocities against the Greeks of Constantinople in 1821. Unknown illustrator. Source: Gennadios Library, Athens The conventional narrative on the Greek Revolution is generally dualistic to the point of being outright Manichaean. On the one side, representing the forces of light and goodness are the valiant, freedom-loving Greeks, nobly struggling to free themselves from the oppression of the forces of darkness, symbolised by the blood-thirsty Ottomans, on the other side, with their murderous ways and propensity to engage in the wholesale slaughter of their Christian subjects.

light of news arriving of the revolt in the Peloponnese. Considering, as it turns out rightly, that Ecumenical Patriarch Gregory the Fifth was if not involved in the revolt then at least in possession of knowledge about its planning and execution, the Sultan accused him of complicity and because the Ecumenical Patriarch was responsible and answerable to the Sultan for the conduct of all Orthodox Christian subjects, he requested that a fatwa, or Islamic ruling be pronounced, allowing a general massacre against all When one reads the memoirs of revolutionary Greeks living in the Empire. heroes, however, one often comes across situations where Greeks were tipped off as to A fatwa could only be pronounced by the impending danger and even doom by Şeyḫülislam, (Sheikh of Islam) the grand concerned Muslim friends, who thought mufti of the Ottoman Empire and its most high nothing of placing common humanity above ranking cleric. Performing a number of religious affiliation. Yet, as this story of one of important duties such as advising the sultan on the most senior imams of the Ottoman Empire religious matters, legitimizing government will show, the triumph and tragedy of human policies, overseeing other imams and decency extended to the upmost echelons of appointing judges, the influence of the the Ottoman Islamic hierarchy. Şeyḫülislam could be evidenced in the fact that he was also charged with the duty of In March 1821, as news of the Greek revolt confirmimg new Sultans, even though once arrived in Constantinople and rumours of the sultan was so confirmed, the Sultan massacres of Turks in the Danubian retained a higher authority than the Principalities spread, the enraged Sultan Şeyḫülislam. Most significantly, the ordered the arrest of seven prominent Şeyḫülislam was charged with the power of Orthodox metropolitans resident in the city. i s s u i n g f a t w a s , w h i c h w e r e w r i t t e n He also ordered the arrest of prominent interpretations of the Quran that had authority Phanariotes such as chief diplomat, the Grand over the Ottoman Islamic community. Dragoman Constantine Mourouzis, in the

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At the time of the Greek revolution, the Şeyḫülislam was one Çerkes Halil Efendi, a Circassian from the Caucusus in origin. Hastening to perform his master’s bidding, Halil Efendi duly issued the fatwa calling for a massacre against the Ottoman Greeks by pious muslims. No sooner had he issued the f a t w a h o w e v e r, t h a t h e t o o k t h e unprecedented step of withdrawing it. This is due to the fact that Halil Efendi felt that due process had to be followed and that he had erred in issuing the fatwa as he did not have enough evidence to support the proposition that all the Greeks in the Ottoman Empire had revolted. Further, he became aware that Ecumenical Patriarch Gregory V had condemned the insurgents and felt that he should consult with him before taking any precipitous action. To the fury of the Sultan, Halil Efendi asked his master for more time to confer with the Ecumenical Patriarch before re-issuing the fatwa. The content of the discussions between the two most senior representatives of the Ottoman Empire’s major religions is unknown, however, it is understood that Ecumenical Patriarch Gregory V managed to convince Halil Efendi that the Patriarchate had nothing to do with the Revolution and sought his protection, knowing that massacres against the Greeks in Asia Minor were imminent. Further giving Halil Efendi pause for thought, Patriarch Gregory V, under pressure from the Sultan took the overt step of excommunicating the Greek revolutionaries. Knowing full well that plans for the massacres of the Greeks were in their final stages, Halil Efendi made perhaps one of the most significant stands on principle in the entire history of the Greek Revolution. Openly defying his master, he refused to issue the fatwa authorising the killings, on the grounds of Islamic law. In particular, he told an incandescent Sultan that according to the Quran a massacre could not be authorised against the Greeks because in the proposed fatwa sought of him, there was no distinction made between the innocent and the guilty, and a slaughter of innocents could not be sanctioned. Halil Efendi’s stance was particularly brave due to the fact that even though he was the highest ranking Islamic cleric in the Empire, the Sultan still had the power of life or death over him. Infuriated by his act of insubordination, the Sultan ordered him stripped of his position, the loss of his possessions and his exile after extensive torture to the island of Lemnos.


Meanwhile, that which Halil Efendi so valiantly strove to avoid began to take place. One week after issuing his excommunication, on Easter Sunday, Patriarch Gregory V was apprehended by Ottoman soldiers during the liturgy and hanged at the central gate of the Patriarchate, which has remained closed in protest at this act of barbarity. The Metropolitan bishops held hostage Dionysios of Ephesus, Athanasios of Nicomedia, Gregory of Derkoi, and Eugenios of Anchialos were also hanged, as was Constantine Mourouzis and other high ranking Phanariotes. The execution of these prominent members of the Constantinopolitan Greek community sparked a reign of terror where the new Şeyḫülislam Yasincizade Abdülvehhap Efendi, eager to avoid the fate of Halil Efendi, issued the sought after fatwa, encouraging fanatical Muslims to attack Greek communities throughout the Ottoman Empire. Consequently, janissaries and other irregular bands roamed the streets of the city, looting Greek churches and property and murdering whichever Greeks they could find.

Evgenius who repeated his predecessor’s act of excommunication against the Greek rebels, Ottoman fury did not abate. As late as July, public executions of Greeks were still a daily occurrence in Constantinople and on the fifteenth of that month, five archbishops and three bishops were executed. As the indiscriminate sackings, lootings, rapes and murders continued, four hundred and fifty shopkeepers and traders were rounded up and sent to work in mines.

broken by torture and his health irretrievably compromised by the privations of his incarceration, Çerkes Halil Efendi did not live long enough to make it to his place of designated exile. He died as the Greek population of the Empire was being massacred, his noble and selfless gesture ultimately unable to prevent the bloodbath that ensued. There exists today in popular Greek accounts of the Revolution, rarely any reference to the courageous sacrifice of Çerkes Halil Efendi. No monument exists in his honour, while only the historian Dimitrios Kambouroglou, who died in 1942 has called for a Greek street to be named in his honour. In this age of identity politics, of increased polarisation and identity politics, the example of a true humanitarian, willing to reach across ethnic and religious divides, to take a stand against violence and hatred and to pay the ultimate price for his support for the vulnerable and the disenfranchised ought to be appreciated and afforded greater prominence in our national narrative and in our community commemorations of the 1821 Revolution.

As the fatwa issued by Abdülvehhap Efendi was broad in application, massacres spread to other regions with a Greek population as well. In Smyrna, Ottoman troops awaiting transport to Greece in order to fight the rebels entered the city and acting in concert with members of the local Turkish population, they embarked on a general massacre of the Greeks of that city. A similar massacre took place in the town of Aivali, which was burned to the ground and its famous Academy was destroyed. Similar massacres were also perpetrated against the Greek inhabitants of Kos, Rhodes and Cyprus whose archbishop Kyprianos, as well as five The Ottoman authorities specifically sought other local bishops were killed. to deprive the Greek community of its leadership, deliberately marking for While it is true to say that the massacres execution, prominent Greeks in government p e r p e t r a t e d a g a i n s t t h e G r e e k s o f service, in the Orthodox Church, or members Constantinople, Smyrna and elsewhere as a T h e a r t i c l e w a s f i r s t p u b l i s h e d i n of prominent families. They also orchestrated result of the fatwa did much to create outrage neoskosmos.com, an Australian Greek the massacre of several hundred Greek among Western societies and galvanise public newspaper. merchants trading in the city. Despite the pleas sympathy of the Greek revolutionaries, one of newly instated Ecumenical Patriarch victim received no publicity at all. His body


Reflections for Great Lent by the International Orthodox Christian Charities Reflections for Great Lent, the latest publication from International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC), is now available. In preparation for Pascha, the booklet offers encouragement along the journey to the Church’s greatest feast. The small booklet, now an annual tradition for IOCC, is designed to encourage Christians during the Great Fast. Following the liturgical structure of Sundays in the Orthodox observance of Lent, the booklet presents iconography for each Sunday, plus inspirational reflections. This year’s contributors are IOCC Frontliners, specially trained volunteers who deploy with IOCC to provide emotional and spiritual care across the US after natural and other disasters. Each reflection connects in some way to IOCC’s mission of service. Reflections for Great Lent features an introduction by Metropolitan Nicolae of the Romanian Orthodox Metropolia of the Americas, liaison to IOCC from the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America. “Great Lent,” writes Metropolitan Nicolae, “offers an opportunity for reflection, renewal, and most of all repentance.” He continues, “Repentance provides a path toward renewed communion, a way—through God’s grace—to return to Him.” His Eminence reminds readers that we make this journey not alone but with each other and among the communion of saints. Finally, he invites us all to respond to Christ’s Paschal victory by serving others in the spirit of Christ’s love. IOCC’s print booklet of Lenten reflections can be requested by calling 877.803.4622 (IOCC) or by emailing relief@iocc.org. A digital version is available to download at iocc.org/lent. International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) is the humanitarian relief and development agency of the Assembly of Canonical Bishops of the United States of America. Since its inception in 1992, IOCC has provided more than $715 million in humanitarian relief and sustainable development programs in over 60 countries worldwide. Today, IOCC applies its expertise in humanitarian response to Reflections for Great Lent features natural and manmade an introduction by Metropolitan crises in Africa, Europe, Nicolae of the Romanian Orthodox the Middle East, and the Metropolia of the Americas United States, offering assistance based solely on need. For more information, their website is iocc.org NEWS & NOTES

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Crack Easter Eggs – Not Your Heads! We…t he Or t ho dox…contrar y to our ...unor t ho dox friends…celebrate Easter late this year, in fact a month after, so that we can buy our chocolate eggs and bunnies at half price! Being Orthodox pays, especially if you follow the Julian Calendar with Christmas, too, and you can get all your gifts cheaper and without the congestion and the headaches of pre-Christmas shopping. Economy is a Greek word after all, and although it has little to do with its original meaning, it works to our favor in this case. Regular Americans have as their major family get-together occasion – that includes relatives whom they dislike or despise – the Thanksgiving Holiday. Premium Americans, aka Greek Americans, have Easter, too, which give us the opportunity to get even with the previous Thanksgiving infighting and losses and score new points! And what better way to do so, than cracking the red eggs! Years ago, when I was younger and more competitive “Juventud divino tesoro”, as the poet says, albeit not in Greek – I bought from a little store in the Village a marble decorative red egg which looked exactly as the real ones. So, every Easter, I would bring it with me wherever I was invited and I would be the winner! I was notorious--at the end nobody wanted to crack with me--but I didn't care, top has place for only one after all! This year, for the guests that I don't like, but I had to invite nevertheless, I prepared a big surprise. I have painted two set of red eggs, regular ones and a bunch of unboiled eggs! I can't wait

for the time to crack them: it will be an unforgettable experience for those who hold them at least. I rejoice at just thinking of the mess, especially on women's dresses and my wife's fancy table cloth and seat upholstery! And with these holiday-infused thoughts, I'm gonna say good bye here, wishing everyone Happy Easter and hoping that this Covid thing, now in its 2nd year, will finally be over, because our nerves are in a direct collision course with our eggs--and believe me things can get messy! Be happy, rejoice and once more thanks for your support this time as well. Covid might have gotten many of us, but not this magazine!


Move over Ducklings:

by Athena Efter

Make Way

for Zoe!

If ducks could sing, they would quack. If any books about Boston come to mind, many of us may be familiar with Robert McCloskey’s illustrated children’s story about a family of ducks set in the Boston Public Gardens. All ducking aside, Boston has also given birth and rise to a few famous bands and musicians. Could there be a young Greek-American artist now among them? Zoe Behrakis believes in the healing power of music. A junior at Boston College studying psychology, Zoe is also a singer/songwriter. Her first song Echo was followed by the release of two more singles, all of which she has co-written and were inspired by her ideas. So how does a teenager from the classic Bostonian suburb of Sudbury, Massachusetts, get involved with the downhome “music city” scene that brought us songstress legends and stars like Dolly Parton and Taylor Swift? She credits her voice coach, Sharon Erman, who was acquainted with a performing arts development organization, PCG, based in Nashville. The agency sent representatives to Boston for the weekend who, upon hearing Zoe sing, invited her to join their Emerging Artist program full time. Zoe was shocked. She was on

her way to Nashville. It was all so new to her, but she knew it was something she wanted to pursue. Her family has stood by her since she started the program, and she is very grateful to them for always encouraging her dreams and goals. That support came in handy for a young teenage girl who enjoyed giving concerts in her livingroom for family and friends.

Some of Zoe’s influences include Whitney Houston, Ariana Grande, Prince, Freddie Mercury, Selena Gomez, Frank Ocean, and The 1975. She describes her style as pop with a hint of R&B, but Zoe admits she is still discovering herself: “I think I’m still sort of discovering my sound, but after every song I wrote, I realized and understood further what I lean towards, and that would be pop.” After hearing her debut single Grace, I might go as far as to say ambient pop if that could be a genre. Inspired by the challenges people faced staying home during the pandemic, Grace is a song about strength and resilience, and overcoming the difficulties. Zoe’s voice is lucid and dreamy, defining all the elegance and refinement of soothing grace. Although Zoe does not play any instruments, she seeks to incorporate the styles she likes into her music. She is proud of her Greek heritage and appreciates the culture that has been passed down to her from her grandparents’ generation. In that vein, she is exploring the use of traditional Greek instruments with her music, like the bouzouki, which can be compared to a Greek banjo. What better place to “test out” this instrument and introduce it to a wider audience through accessible pop music, other than in the region of blue grass? Nashville seems like the perfect place for this aspiring young singer and songwriter to continue developing her music talent, and to bring a little Greek blues into her R&B pop style.

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Her third single Strangers is a more upbeat, perky dance tune that many of us can also relate to. The lyrics are about people coming into your life, only to realize you are better off as strangers, not getting too close to them. She didn’t want to make it necessarily specific to a romantic relationship. It can also be applied to friendships. This one is fun and catchy, reminiscent of a throwback to a bouncy, whimsical 80s pop song. I even found myself putting on some dance moves in my own livingroom, with no audience, singing the simple lyrics that make pop music fun.

On campus, Zoe is involved with the Bostonians, an acapella group. She has been involved with them since she was a Freshman and considers them like family. She is also drawn to the idea of music therapy for children: “I love the idea of using music as something that can help people with anything they’re going through. I know for me music has been something that has helped me immensely, so I would love to do something in that realm.” I asked Zoe where she saw herself in 10 years. Making more music is her goal: “If I could see myself 10 years from now, I would hope that I would’ve put out more music, but mainly I hope that I will have done something with my music that has helped people. That would be my biggest goal, and I hope I would achieve that within the next 10 years.” For now, Zoe is focusing on finishing up her studies, but the future holds a bright star for her on her music pursuits, whether it’s helping people with it, releasing her own albums, or both. We look forward to hearing more of Zoe’s music, as she continues to uncover the depths of her musical style. It may be Nashville or somewhere else, but from the city that brought us Aerosmith, The Cars, New Kids on the Block, New Edition, James Taylor, Donna Summer, and a few others, my beloved hometown of Boston and alma mater BC, may soon be adding Zoe Behrakis to its repertoire of music artists. To read more about her and links to her music, visit zoebehrakismusic.com


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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Quisque facilisis, nunc ut vulputate dictum, turpis urna viverra neque, ut ultricies magna quam eu urna. Duis sed tellus arcu, quis tempus enim. Etiam aliquam turpis quis quam tempus quis feugiat nunc viverra. Proin mollis quam sit amet ligula convallis venenatis. Sed mollis libero nec risus convallis luctus pretium nunc mollis. Integer nec tempus mauris. Donec iaculis orci eu felis condimentum dictum. Nulla metus orci, ultrices bibendum venenatis accumsan, posuere quis dui. Curabitur malesuada metus a augue ullamcorper tristique. Nunc a pulvinar ante. Nullam vitae dui enim. Phasellus ultrices vestibulum lacinia. Mauris ac tincidunt eros. Aenean adipiscing vestibulum blandit. Nam vel justo mauris, sed venenatis ante. Aenean commodo, magna non dignissim mollis, tellus augue cursus nunc, a pellentesque ipsum justo at magna. Duis iaculis egestas justo. In hac habitasse platea dictumst. Proin leo nisi, aliquet in molestie ac, dignissim sit amet lectus.

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MAY 2021

NEWS & NOTES


Title By Author Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Quisque facilisis, nunc ut vulputate dictum, turpis urna viverra neque, ut ultricies magna quam eu urna. Duis sed tellus arcu, quis tempus enim. Etiam aliquam turpis quis quam tempus quis feugiat nunc viverra. Proin mollis quam sit amet ligula convallis venenatis. Sed mollis libero nec risus convallis luctus pretium nunc mollis. Integer nec tempus mauris. Donec iaculis orci eu felis condimentum dictum. Nulla metus orci, ultrices bibendum venenatis accumsan, posuere quis dui. Curabitur malesuada metus a augue ullamcorper tristique. Nunc a pulvinar ante. Nullam vitae dui enim. Phasellus ultrices vestibulum lacinia. Mauris ac tincidunt eros. Aenean adipiscing vestibulum blandit. Nam vel justo mauris, sed venenatis ante. Aenean commodo, magna non dignissim mollis, tellus augue cursus nunc, a pellentesque ipsum justo at magna. Duis iaculis egestas justo. In hac habitasse platea dictumst. Proin leo nisi, aliquet in molestie ac, dignissim sit amet lectus.

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Quisque facilisis, nunc ut vulputate dictum, turpis urna viverra neque, ut ultricies magna quam eu urna. Duis sed tellus arcu, quis tempus enim. Etiam aliquam turpis quis quam tempus quis feugiat nunc viverra. Proin mollis quam sit amet ligula convallis venenatis. Sed mollis libero nec risus convallis luctus pretium nunc mollis. Integer nec tempus mauris. Donec iaculis orci eu felis condimentum dictum. Nulla metus orci, ultrices bibendum venenatis accumsan, posuere quis dui. Curabitur malesuada metus a augue ullamcorper tristique. Nunc a pulvinar ante. Nullam vitae dui enim. Phasellus ultrices vestibulum lacinia. Mauris ac tincidunt eros. Aenean adipiscing vestibulum blandit. Nam vel justo mauris, sed venenatis ante. Aenean commodo, magna non dignissim mollis, tellus augue cursus nunc, a pellentesque ipsum justo at magna. Duis iaculis egestas justo. In hac habitasse platea dictumst. Proin leo nisi, aliquet in molestie ac, dignissim sit amet lectus.

Vivamus arcu ipsum, dictum vel scelerisque eget, pharetra sit amet lectus. Vivamus non risus libero, sed consectetur ante. Vestibulum eu arcu metus. Etiam suscipit dui ut erat pretium mattis. Quisque malesuada libero vitae tellus pharetra non volutpat sem fermentum. Sed sit amet turpis felis. Morbi dictum euismod nunc ac pulvinar. Nulla gravida condimentum tellus sed tempus. Sed vehicula commodo est, non ultricies dolor feugiat id. Cras nunc odio, hendrerit vestibulum dictum sed, rhoncus sit amet tellus. Phasellus vulputate, neque sit amet consequat interdum, diam magna bibendum arcu, sit amet iaculis lectus nunc at urna. Etiam et augue eget massa vehicula pretium. Ut eget dui felis. Curabitur mauris lacus, dignissim id ultricies vel, vehicula in enim. Suspendisse vitae massa eget sem dictum facilisis.

Vivamus arcu ipsum, dictum vel scelerisque eget, pharetra sit amet lectus. Vivamus non risus libero, sed consectetur ante. Vestibulum eu arcu metus. Etiam suscipit dui ut erat pretium mattis. Quisque malesuada libero vitae tellus pharetra non volutpat sem fermentum. Sed sit amet turpis felis. Morbi dictum euismod nunc ac pulvinar. Nulla gravida condimentum tellus sed tempus. Sed vehicula commodo est, non ultricies dolor feugiat id. Cras nunc odio, hendrerit vestibulum dictum sed, rhoncus sit amet tellus. Phasellus vulputate, neque sit amet consequat interdum, diam magna bibendum arcu, sit amet iaculis lectus nunc at urna. Etiam et augue eget massa vehicula pretium. Ut eget dui felis. Curabitur mauris lacus, dignissim id ultricies vel, vehicula in enim. Suspendisse vitae massa eget sem dictum facilisis.

Vivamus arcu ipsum, dictum vel scelerisque eget, pharetra sit amet lectus. Vivamus non risus libero, sed consectetur ante. Vestibulum eu arcu metus. Etiam suscipit dui ut erat pretium mattis. Quisque malesuada libero vitae tellus pharetra non volutpat sem fermentum. Sed sit amet turpis felis. Morbi dictum euismod nunc ac pulvinar. Nulla gravida condimentum tellus sed tempus. Sed vehicula commodo est, non ultricies dolor feugiat id. Cras nunc odio, hendrerit vestibulum dictum sed, rhoncus sit amet tellus. Phasellus vulputate, neque sit amet consequat interdum, diam magna bibendum arcu, sit amet iaculis lectus nunc at urna. Etiam et augue eget massa vehicula pretium. Ut eget dui felis. Curabitur mauris lacus, dignissim id ultricies vel, vehicula in enim. Suspendisse vitae massa eget sem dictum facilisis.

In consectetur turpis non elit bibendum tincidunt hendrerit nisl egestas. Donec quis odio at massa bibendum venenatis et sed velit. Duis id arcu ut purus tempor feugiat non ac ante. Integer odio elit, rhoncus id porttitor quis, auctor ac eros. Aenean varius libero nec purus adipiscing commodo. Integer in dapibus odio. Suspendisse quis dignissim nulla. Pellentesque porta porttitor eros eget feugiat. Donec sit amet semper purus. Proin bibendum commodo orci sit amet pellentesque. Aliquam placerat ultricies diam feugiat dignissim. Pellentesque ut quam ac mi venenatis eleifend in non erat. Vivamus a eleifend neque. Fusce semper sapien nec quam pharetra vel facilisis enim tristique.

In consectetur turpis non elit bibendum tincidunt hendrerit nisl egestas. Donec quis odio at massa bibendum venenatis et sed velit. Duis id arcu ut purus tempor feugiat non ac ante. Integer odio elit, rhoncus id porttitor quis, auctor ac eros. Aenean varius libero nec purus adipiscing commodo. Integer in dapibus odio. Suspendisse quis dignissim nulla. Pellentesque porta porttitor eros eget feugiat. Donec sit amet semper purus. Proin bibendum commodo orci sit amet pellentesque. Aliquam placerat ultricies diam feugiat dignissim. Pellentesque ut quam ac mi venenatis eleifend in non erat. Vivamus a eleifend neque. Fusce semper sapien nec quam pharetra vel facilisis enim tristique.

In consectetur turpis non elit bibendum tincidunt hendrerit nisl egestas. Donec quis odio at massa bibendum venenatis et sed velit. Duis id arcu ut purus tempor feugiat non ac ante. Integer odio elit, rhoncus id porttitor quis, auctor ac eros. Aenean varius libero nec purus adipiscing commodo. Integer in dapibus odio. Suspendisse quis dignissim nulla. Pellentesque porta porttitor eros eget feugiat. Donec sit amet semper purus. Proin bibendum commodo orci sit amet pellentesque. Aliquam placerat ultricies diam feugiat dignissim. Pellentesque ut quam ac mi venenatis eleifend in non erat. Vivamus a eleifend neque. Fusce semper sapien nec quam pharetra vel facilisis enim tristique. NEWS & NOTES

MAY 2021

71

Profile for NEOgraphix

NEO magazine - May 2021  

Every issue will feature profiles of prominent Greek Americans and what they’ve done this year, what they’ve done in their lives, what polit...

NEO magazine - May 2021  

Every issue will feature profiles of prominent Greek Americans and what they’ve done this year, what they’ve done in their lives, what polit...

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