05/2003 – The People of Schenectady, NY

Albert Jurczynski

The word will continue to be spread that if you are willing to work hard, if you are committed to family values, if you are looking for a great new home, then the City of Schenectady is the place for you. –Albert P. Jurczynski, Mayor

PGF honors The People of Schenectady, New York and their Mayor Albert Jurczynski as our People of the Month for May 2003.
PGF typically honors an individual or a small group as its person or persons of the month. What made the difference this month are the actions, openness, courage, and welcome the people of Schenectady, led by its mayor, have shown to an entire community of immigrants.

Over the past two years Schenectady has opened its doors to new immigrants from Guyana. These immigrants, who originally settled in the New York City metropolitan area, found a community in Schenectady that was eager for their investment and energy. We see a community eager to welcome families looking for affordable housing, business opportunity, and a place to build a home.
These actions would be considered bold in many communities. The people of Schenectady took bold action and chose to focus on growth, renewal, and their capacity to build a pluralistic community.

Schenectady has a long history of welcoming immigrant communities. A review of the city’s history reveals the contributions made by Italians, Poles, the Irish and Germans, African Americans, Afghanis, and others. Founded by the Dutch in 1661, the area now houses a cross section of ethnicities, traditions, cultures, and religions. The area is home to sixty-five churches, mosques, temples, and synagogues.

These communities worked together to build a ‘city of light’. Both Edison and Steinmetz did their work in Schenectady. The area’s major employer, General Electric, paid the wages that helped to build the city. Like many cities in the northeastern United States, Schenectady experienced difficulties due to economic and demographic shifts. Leadership that can see beyond the past while integrating its victories has the courage to start anew.

We congratulate the people of Schenectady and its mayor for their wonderful past and their dynamic future.
To learn more about Schenectady and its new immigrants please visit:

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