NEW YORK: New York City Mayor Eric Adams honoured leading Indian-American organisations and a Person of Indian-origin for their contributions and ‘outstanding work’ towards their communities.
During the recent Diwali celebrations at his Gracie Mansion, Mayor Adams awarded the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO), led by Dr Thomas Abraham, for mobilising the Indian community and working for the common good of the society in the New York area.
Federation of Indian Associations of NY, NJ, CT, Indiaspora, Grammy Award Winner Falu Shah and Tulsi Mandir of Richmond Hill Queens and Lion Romeo Hitlall of the Indo-Caribbean community, were also honoured.
“I looked at during the 70s when we saw such a large wave of those who came from India, moved to Queens, wanted to believe in American dream and you worked hard and opened small businesses, and you sent your children to school to learn different skills so they can be deputy mayors and doctors and leaders of agencies and help our city move forward, fortifying the strength of our city,” said Mayor Adams, addressing a gathering of over 1,100 people
Bringing cheer to the Indian-American community, Adams had recently announced Diwali as a public holiday in New York City beginning in 2023. The City houses one of the highest populations of Indians in the US, with at least 711,174 Indian residents as of 2017. “Thank you to Mayor Adams for supporting the Indian diaspora community,” the Indiaspora tweeted after the event. Founded in 2012 by M.R. Rangaswami, the Indiaspora is constituted of many globally influential figures with Indian heritage.
“After attending the incredible Diwali party at the White House, we came home to New York City where we were bestowed with a Citation for our contribution to the performing arts. We’re super grateful and honored!” Grammy Award-winning Indian vocalist, composer and educator, Falu Shah, wrote in a tweet.
Pandit Lakhram Maharaj, the founder of Shri Tulsi Mandir, accepted the honour on behalf of the temple. In August, a handcrafted statue of Mahatma Gandhi was destroyed by a group of six persons with a sledgehammer at the Tulsi Mandir.
Dilip Chauhan, Deputy Commissioner at the New York City Mayor’s Office For International Affairs, presided over the special award presentation to the diaspora organisations. This was the first Diwali Celebration by Mayor Adams held at the Gracie mansion on October 25 after assuming office.
The event was attended by Jenifer Rajkumar, the first South Asian-American woman ever to be elected to a state office in New York, who had introduced the legislation to recognise Diwali and New York City Schools, and New York State Senator Kevin Thomas.
Others present with Mayor Adams were his senior team members of Indian-origin, including Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi, Environmental Protection Commissioner Rohit T. Aggarwala and Health Commissioner Ashwin Vasan.