Brazilian Day Celebrated in Belleville
BELLEVILLE, NJ – September 23, 2019 – Neighbors came together at Town Hall on Sept. 6, as the Township paid tribute to Brazil, its culture and its people.
Mayor Michael Melham was eager to celebrate, as it appears he is the state’s very first mayor who can be described as Carioca, a person from Rio. The mayor’s grandfather was born in the waters of Rio de Janeiro, on a boat coming over from the Middle East. He came to the United States when he was five years old, speaking fluent Portuguese.
“You can say I self-identify as Brazilian, therefore, I’m the first Carioca Mayor in New Jersey,” the mayor said, with a laugh.
“This marks the first time in Belleville's history that we flew the Brazilian Flag in honor of Brazilian Independence Day,” he added. “Belleville has a substantial, yet, quiet Brazilian population. Belleville is supportive of their culture, as we are supportive of all our very diverse cultures.”
The festivities included a signing of the Brazilian National Anthem, a flag raising and cultural performances.
Attendees honored the “Belleville Brazilian Man of the Year,” Luis Eduardo Morgan, who came to America in 2005 from Sao Paulo to learn English. Morgan became a graphics designer and web designer while remaining active in the Brazilian community.
“Luis often takes the time to help other Brazilians immigrating from Brazil as they land in Newark and surrounding areas,” the mayor said. “Luis has been a resident of Belleville for 13 years and is certainly considered a leader within the Brazilian community. It is our pleasure to honor him.”