Allentown Council Vice President Cynthia Mota, joined by Allentown Mayor Matt Tuerk and Santo Domingo Este (ASDE) Mayor Manuel Jimenez, held a press conference today to celebrate the approval and establishment of a Sister City relationship between the City of Allentown, Pennsylvania and Santo Domingo Este, Dominican Republic.
The resolution was unanimously approved by City Council and the Administration on January 18, 2023.
This legislation allows for lines of communication between Allentown and Santo Domingo Este to develop a strategic, long-term partnership that would be mutually beneficial.
“Allentown is a growing and developing city that looks to engage our residents in civic life,” said Mayor Tuerk. “We're excited that we can break out of our Lehigh Valley bubble to learn from our amigos in Santo Domingo Este, one of the Dominican Republic's most vibrant urban places.”
The 2020 U.S. Census reports that more than 54% of the population in Allentown identifies itself as Latino or Hispanic. Of those, about 18,000 are Dominicans.
Santo Domingo Este is a municipality and the provincial capital of the Santo Domingo province in the Dominican Republic with a total population of 701,269 and has a variety of shopping centers with duty-free zones, with construction, energy, and agricultural businesses.
The formalization of the sister city relationship comes after an introductory meeting between Mayor Tuerk, Council Vice President Mota, and Mayor Jimenez this past September at Santo Domingo Este City Hall.
“Allentown is a city that we resemble, and the evidence is plain to see through Councilwoman Cynthia Mota. It means that we already feel represented in that city. We see the sisterhood as a necessary formality, a moment that we expected, a moment that makes us feel now for other brothers.
A sister (or friendship) city relationship is formally created when the mayors from two communities sign an Agreement or Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) establishing the partnership.
Allentown has one official sister city relationship with Tiberias, Israel through its membership with Sister Cities International, a nonpartisan 501 (c) (3) nonprofit which serves as the national membership organization for individual sister cities, counties, and states across the United States.
This program is a facilitator in joining together numerous cities to adopt and implement programs for the exchange of ideas and visitations of people.
In recent years, the City has pursued pathways to establish sister city relationships with Playa del Carmen, Mexico; Vinci, Italy, and Saarbrücken, Germany.
The City will celebrate Dominican Heritage Day on Sunday, February 26 with a flag raising ceremony at 2 p.m. at Allentown City Hall.