Today marks the 36th anniversary of our founder Eugene M. Lang’s life changing promise to a class of East Harlem 6th Graders at P.S. 121. And we are thrilled to announce that this day, June 26th, 2017, has been aptly proclaimed Eugene M. Lang Day in New York City by Mayor Bill de Blasio and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer.
This morning, “I Have A Dream” Foundation – New York presented the proclamation to Mr. Lang’s granddaughter, Lucy Lang, and the Executive Director of the Eugene M. Lang Foundation, Lauren McGrail. As the proclamation from Gale Brewer states, thanks to the investment of time, care, and attention to the young people he called Dreamers, Mr. Lang ensured “thousands of New York City families, along with 18,000 families nationwide, have broken the cycle of intergenerational poverty through equal access to education.”
Today and every day, we are proud to honor and uphold Mr. Lang’s legacy as we work towards our own dream of ensuring that every child has an equal opportunity to achieve their dreams. As Mr. Lang himself proclaimed, “you’re a Dreamer. Dreamers can do anything.”
The full text of the proclamation from New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio reads:
Whereas: A quality education us the most powerful tool a person can receive—it opens doors to brighter futures, instills confidence, enhances knowledge, elicits critical thinking, awakens new perspectives and inspires a sense of civic responsibility. My administration is committed to building a city where every young New Yorker can rise, and no matter what challenges they may face, we believe that every student across the five boroughs should have an equal opportunity to pursue their dreams, and achieve their goals. Eugene Lang dedicated his life to this mission, and today, I am proud to join the “I Have A Dream” Foundation in celebrating everything he has accomplished.
Whereas: A native New Yorker, Eugene demonstrated an early passion for learning, attending New York public schools, Swarthmore College, Columbia University, and Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute. He rose through the ranks of aircraft parts manufacturing
company Heli-Coil during World War II before founding Refac Technology Development Corporation in 1952. Eugene’s success allowed him to promise every 6th grader at his Alma Mater of P.S. 121 a college scholarship if they were accepted to a four-year school. He supported the class throughout their academic careers, encouraging them to continue on the often arduous path to college. In 1986, Eugene founded the “I Have A Dream” Foundation to encourage business leaders to help low-income students in the same way he had.
Whereas: Since its founding, the “I Have A Dream” Foundation has supported over 18,000 students across the United States and far beyond. By offering scholarships, mentorships, career readiness and financial literacy training, civic engagement opportunities, and much more, this organization is ensuring that its Dreamers have every opportunity to succeed. None of this would be possible without the efforts of Eugene Lang, and today, I am proud to join in honoring his incredible legacy and look forward to even more young people benefitting from the Foundation’s vital work.
Now therefore, I, Bill de Blasio, Mayor of the City of New York, do hereby proclaim Monday, June 26th, 2017 in the City of New York as:
“Eugene Lang Day”
And from Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer:
Whereas: We are proud to acknowledge those organizations and individuals that have remained committed to improving our city and vibrantly enhancing the community, and
Whereas Eugene M. Lang made a promise on June 26, 1981 to a class of New York City sixth-graders at P.S. 121 to cover the costs of their college tuition upon graduation from high school; and
Whereas Eugene M. Lang not only kept that promise, but also invested his time, care, and attention in the young people he called Dreamers to ensure that they had an equal opportunity to persist to a college degree; and
Whereas Eugene M. Lang’s example galvanized philanthropists to provide equal opportunities for a college degree to young people throughout the United States; and
Whereas Eugene M. Lang harnessed the momentum of the movement and, inspired by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s legendary speech at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, created the “I Have A Dream” Foundation, and called the young people Dreamers; and
Whereas thousands of New York City families, along with 18,000 families nationwide, have broken the cycle of intergenerational poverty through equal access to education; and
Whereas the “I Have A Dream” Foundation has raised awareness of higher education opportunities in the communities it serves; and
Whereas the work of the “I Have A Dream” Foundation has brought us closer to the Dream of equal access to education that Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King spoke about,
Now Therefore, I, Gale A. Brewer do hereby commend Eugene M. Lang for his contributions to the City and declare this day, Monday, June 26, 2017, a day of remembrance and
“Eugene M. Lang Appreciation Day”
In the Borough of Manhattan