QUEENS, NY — The Board of the newly formed South Asian and Indo-Caribbean Bar Association of Queens (SAICBA-Q) was sworn in by Congresswoman Grace Meng on Wednesday night surrounded by at least one hundred colleagues.
Started in 2017, their aim is to bring together attorneys from South Asia and the Caribbean who live or practice in Queens.
The event, held at Haveli Restaurant in Forest Hills, started with the New York Police Department’s Honor Guard leading the group of judges, elected officials and lawyers in the Pledge of Allegiance. That was followed by the swearing in of an all-star Board, including elected Civil Court Judge Ushir Pandit-Durant, the first female elected South Asian Judge; Executive Vice President, the Hon. Karen Gopee, the first Indo-Caribbean Judge in the United States; Sagar Chadha, General Secretary specializing in Civil Injury litigation; Treasurer Manmeet Singh, renowned for his Civil Rights work on behalf of Sikh Americans; Vice President External Affairs, Ali Najmi, a Political leader in Queens County; VP Solo and Small Firm Practice, Amish R. Doshi, specializing in Bankruptcy Law; Sharon Khunkhun, a specialist in Immigration Law; and Ajay Chheda, an Assistant District Attorney in Queens.
Congresswoman Ming postponed a trip to Puerto Rico to attend and told the crowd that she felt at home, surrounded by like-minded and diverse attorneys, who shared a commitment to social justice.
Public Advocate Letitia James gave an impassioned speech reminding the crowd of the importance of helping communities of color and stepping up to the plate in and out of the courtroom.
Judge Pandit-Durant reflected on the fact that when she started practice more than 20 years ago, she was the only South Asian attorney practicing in Queens, and now she thrilled to be surrounded by at least one hundred professionals. Judge Karen Gopee added that the room and the crowd represented the diversity of Queens and her enthusiasm to work together to make a difference.
Ali Najim, a Political leader in Queens shared that the event established once and for all that the South Asian and Indo-Caribbean communities are no longer just emerging, but has fully emerged. Secretary Chadha ended by predicting that this organization would not only benefit our generation, but generations to come.