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New Haven Celebrates Its 380th Birthday

The Survivors Swing Band played "Happy Birthday" at City Hall as residents packed the atrium to celebrate New Haven’s 380th birthday on Tuesday. To put that number in perspective for you, that’s 138 years older than the Declaration of Independence. 

Mayor Toni Harp reflected on that history, telling the crowd about how the city will continue to move forward. She highlighted a citywide public art installation, "We Are All Immigrants," that will debut during June's International Festival of Arts and Ideas

“In this uncertain chapter in American history, these striking visuals of recent arrivals to New Haven reflect the spirit and determination of a New Haven that is emerging, reinforcing the aspirations and can-do spirit of this historic enterprise, our city.”

The event also honored seven people with the City Spirit Award, which recognizes residents of the greater New Haven area that have made huge contributions to the city. One of the honorees was Pastor Donald Morris. He has brought people from different religious backgrounds together through an annual Gospel music festival that’s become a tradition in the city for the past 15 years. 

“I have always loved New Haven, Connecticut. It is the birthplace of my family, and everyone, my friends, they all grew up here. It’s just a wonderful city to live in.”

The theme of the celebration was diversity, opportunity and progress. Mayor Harp says it represents the spirit of New Haven today and for generations to come.

Anthony Moaton is a former fellow at WSHU.