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N.H.'s Congolese Community Celebrates Independence Day In Manchester

photo of people smiling
Todd Bookman/NHPR

The Democratic Republic of Congo's flag flew above City Hall in Manchester Wednesday, as a part of an annual event marking Congolese Independence Day. 

Under a blazing midday sun, a crowd sang Debout Congolais, the Congolese national anthem, and celebrated the contributions Congolese refugees and immigrants have made to the Queen City.

“Every year you see us growing up in numbers, and it is beautiful, because we have our families here, we have our traditions here,” Sarah Georges, a first-generation Congolese American said. “We have people we can celebrate our customs with. We can dress up and feel amazing, like we would back home.”

Mary Georges, Sarah’s mother, was one of the first Congolese refugees to arrive in the city in 1993. 

“When I came here, it was seven” people from the Democratic Republic of Congo living in Manchester, she estimates. “Today, we are a thousand.”  

Mayor Joyce Craig read a proclamation, and thanked members of the Congolese community for attending.

“From my perspective, the people living here in our community, their diversity, is our strength. And to be celebrating with the Congolese community means a lot,” Craig said. 

Todd started as a news correspondent with NHPR in 2009. He spent nearly a decade in the non-profit world, working with international development agencies and anti-poverty groups. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from Columbia University.
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