AHEPA Raises Issue of Improper Use of Star of Vergina to Congress

Maloney, Bilirakis Applauded for Their Letter to Visa CEO

Washington (December 12, 2008)—The American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA), a leading association for the nation's three million American citizens of Greek ancestry, and countless Philhellenes, applauds Hellenic Caucus Co-Chairs Carolyn Maloney (D-14-NY) and Gus M. Bilirakis (R-9-FL) for sending a letter to Mr. Joseph Saunders, CEO and chairman, Visa, Inc., today. The letter expressed a strong concern about a Visa credit card portraying the Star of Vergina.

We felt this was a serious issue to bring to the attention of Congress," said Supreme President Ike Gulas. "It is another example of how Greece's cultural and historical identity is threatened by 'Macedonian' Diaspora groups who aspire to steal it and make it their own. I commend Representatives Maloney and Bilirakis for understanding the severity of the issue and for taking action."

The letter states:

We have long been concerned about efforts by the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and its diaspora to adopt symbols and images significant to Greece as part of a propaganda campaign. We believe that the "United Macedonian Diaspora's" efforts regarding this credit card may be yet another example."

Furthermore, the Hellenic Caucus Co-Chairs encouraged Mr. Saunders to reconsider issuing a credit card with the Star of Vergina on it, and recommended he work with the Greek-American community to prevent a similar occurrence from happening in the future.

The supreme president also acknowledged and thanked the efforts of the Cyprus Action Network of America (CANA). CANA raised awareness of the issue within its network.

"It's a good example of what can transpire when we combine our resources and work together as a community," said Gulas.

AHEPA was established in 1922, by visionary Greek-Americans to protect all from prejudice from the KKK, and in its history, AHEPA has joined with the NAACP and B'nai B'rith International to fight discrimination.

(Posting date 29 December 2008)

The American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA) is the largest and oldest American-based, Greek heritage grassroots membership organization. Its scope is international with chapters in the United States, Canada, Greece, and Cyprus, and "sister" chapters in Australia and New Zealand under the auspices of AHEPA Australasia. AHEPA was founded on July 26, 1922 in response to the evils of bigotry and racism that emerged in early 20th century American society. It also helped Greek immigrants assimilate into society. Today, AHEPA brings the ideals of ancient Greece, which includes philanthropy, education, civic responsibility, and family and individual excellence to the community. The AHEPA family consists of four organizations: AHEPA, Daughters of Penelope, Sons of Pericles and Maids of Athena. For more information about the organization or how to join, contact AHEPA Headquarters (202-232-6300) or visit the organization's newly redesigned website at http://www.ahepa.org.

HCS maintains an extensive archives of AHEPA articles and press releases which readers are invited to browse under the AHEPA Family Releases section of the site archives at http://www.helleniccomserve.com/archiveahepa.html.

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